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Creating Your Own Moon Garden

by Shawna L. Krautheim

With todayís hectic schedules and busy lifestyles, there are times that weíd like to take a few minutes to smell the roses, but there just doesnít seem to be enough time. After a long day at work and then playing taxi driver for your kids, itís usually dusk by the time things seem to settle down enough for you to take a breath. By this time, the garden isnít much of a retreat; the colors donít seem as bright by the time that twilight slips over your town. Before you despair, however, why not try something unique and relaxing? Instead of mourning the loss of your flowers, stop making a garden for everyone else and plant a garden that you can enjoy, yourself. Moon gardens have been captivating and inspiring gardeners for centuries and itís surprisingly easy to create one of your very own.

What is a Moon Garden?

A moon garden is a collection of plants and flowers that seem to shimmer and glow when illuminated by the light of the moon. They are also known for the sensuous scents that they release into the heat of the night, and have long been used as an ideal romantic setting for enchanting evenings and candlelit dinners. The earliest recorded moon garden was made of sand, pale rocks, and pools of water. Located in Japan, this particular moon garden was created roughly ten centuries ago.

One of the most well-known moon gardens of our time is the one at located in Englandís Sissinghurst Castle. Created by Vita Sackville-West in the 1950ís, it is renowned for its beautiful, all-white plantings and is open to the public for everyoneís enjoyment. Of course, one doesnít have to have a castle to create such a decadent surrounding; whether your have a spacious property or merely a small balcony, you can plant a moon garden that is sure to enchant.

Designing a Moon Garden

A well-designed moon garden isnít necessarily large and lavish, but there are a few key elements that help to define them. To begin with, consider the purpose of a moon garden - they are not designed for cutting or for drawing butterflies. A moon garden is all about relaxation and romance. For this reason, most great moon gardens are designed in a place where they can be enjoyed from a comfortable bench, swing or back patio. As fragrant as they are beautiful, you will want to be out in this type of garden, rather than viewing it from afar.

For the best results, decorate your moon garden with the simpler things in life or, perhaps, you might want it to look faerie-touched. Gazing spheres, fountains and stepping stones help to make it seem more romantic and dreamy.

The Glow in Your Moon Garden

If youíre looking for ideas for your moon garden, there are a wide variety to choose from. Elegant white blooms come in nearly every size and shape that one could imagine. Whether you have a lot of room for your garden or just a little space, there are plenty of plants to utilize for your moon garden.

Perhaps the most popular nighttime garden plant is the aptly-named moonflower. With large heart-shaped leaves and white saucer-like blooms, the moonflower possesses an intense and unique fragrance that makes it a strong favorite amongst those who enjoy gardening at night. Also an adept climber, the moonflower can grow as much as 20 feet in a single season, making it excellent for covering eyesores or adding extra privacy to your fenced yard.

Night-blooming jasmine is another favorite with its fragrant aroma; so popular a scent that itís white flowers are grown and then harvested for use in perfumes throughout Europe. The gardenia is another choice for many moon gardens - an attractive shrub, it does well either in a normal planting, or as a container plant. Angelís trumpet also sets the mood with long, soft-looking trumpets of white and a truly heavenly scent.

When choosing your plants, the main things to keep in mind is whether or not the plants you choose can grow in your zone, how much sun they need, and whether or not they grow well with ďwet feet.Ē All of these factors will tell you whether or not these plants will do well in your moon garden. Failing to pay attention to them could result in a garden where the blooms are underdeveloped and stunted, the foliage is sparse, if it even grows at all. Taking a few minutes to read up on the plants will save you a lot of long, hard, wasted work.

Moon gardens are a unique step for many, but youíre sure to hear the compliments roll in, next time you have an outdoor dinner or enjoy a quiet stroll with a loved one. A moon garden is the perfect place to relax and enjoy your evening. Just let your hair down and have fun with it - you wonít regret it.

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