“The moonlit garden is the perfected creation – all our dreams come true.”
~ Louise Beebe Wilder~
I love theme gardens and the possibilities they create. My moonlight garden is small, even moon shaped and has white blooming flowers, silver-hued dusty miller and the chartreuse leaves of lady’s mantle for a frilly undercoat for the taller plants. Often the flowers of this type of garden bloom in the evening, catching the reflection of the moon and filling the air with fragrance.
This type of theme garden is not new as there are Victorian references to monochromatic gardens and the famous gardener Gertrude Jekyll wrote “it is extremely interesting to work out gardens in which some special colouring predominates….it opens out a whole new range of garden delights.”
If you would like to plan a moonlight garden, keep in mind it should be on a smaller, intimate scale and located somewhere to be viewed at night. A small water feature or birdbath will also reflect moonbeams and a bench nearby to sit and enjoy the beauty and fragrance of it all will complete the theme.
In his plays Shakespeare mentioned many plants and herbs; roses in Romeo and Juliet, narcissus in Anthony and Cleopatra and lavender in a Winters Tale. From a Midsummer Night's Dream; “I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, Where oxlips and nodding violet grows, Quite over-canopied with luscious wood-bine, With sweet musk roses and eglantine. There sleeps Titania sometime of the night, Lulled in these flowers with dances and delight.”
Literary gardens were popular in the Victorian era and a Shakespeare garden would have many of the plants mentioned in his works. Back then almost all of the flowers and herbs were grown for perfume, medicinal purposes or cosmetics.
This theme garden should have the formality that is seen in many English gardens with a hedge of boxwood or yew defining the perimeter and possibly a stone path to separate the interior into quadrants. The entrance will have a gate or arbour made from stone or wood and accented with the addition of roses, honeysuckle or clematis to cover the arbour.
Plant the beds with perennial flowers and herbs, intermingling the colours and scents. Here is a sampling of some plants to use: musk rose, climbing rose, fennel, pot marigolds, rosemary, lavender, mint, marjoram, thyme, carnations, lilies, daffodils and violets.
Some of the white flowers in my moon garden. Top to bottom:
Ammi, Bleeding Heart, Daylily 'Joan Senior', Summer Phlox 'Miss Lingard', White Peony,
Echinacea 'White Swan'