Flower Power > Mirroring the Moonlight

EVERYONE ENJOYS the explosion of color in a sunny summer garden, but for a fantasy come true, consider creating a moon garden. The concept is simple. Think of the way the full moon sparkles on snowy yards on winter nights, and bring that magical white into your summer fl owerbeds. Then, in July, you can gaze out the window or go outside after dark to enjoy the unexpected but delightful results by the light of the full moon. Moon gardens create refl ected beauty and a hint of cool on the hottest summer night.

For your moon garden, you can add dashes of white to accent your current color palette or you can carve out a special, maybe even crescent-shaped, section of your yard for white and silver plantings. Either way, there are lots of plants to suit your purpose.

In the early spring, narcissus, pale daffodils and the intrepid crocus peek above the soil. For a springtime moon garden, add some white hyacinth bulbs and a white lilac bush. These early bloomers transform the moonlight and fill the air with fragrance.

As the weather warms, you may be surprised at the beauty of nighttime white created by a bed of white violets and lilies of the valley. These hardy perennials do well in partial shade, and add lovely green groundcover to your garden all summer. To add depth and interest, include frilly white tulips, tucked in full clumps, and don’t forget the elegant draping sprays of a bridal wreath spirea bush.

After the early wave of blossoms crests in mid- to late May, there are plenty of summer bloomers that look and smell fantastic day and night. Follow your imagination, even if you’re simply packing a window box with white impatiens and pansies. Consider peonies or dahlias; mini- and full-size iris bulbs; and in a cottage garden, plenty of Shasta daisies. White cosmos blow in evening breezes like drifting snowfl akes, and pale gladiolus with multicolored centers are like spikes of ice.

When winter finally returns, your moon garden still can pack some surprises. Untrimmed seedpods of mini irises silhouetted against the snow hint at spring buds. If you’re very lucky, dried hydrangea blossoms cling to their branches until the thaw of March, when you can begin planting again.