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  • Dana Tutela

How to Create an Enchanting Moon Garden

Updated: Apr 8

white verbena flower blossom

A moon garden is a unique type of garden that plays upon the illumination of the moon. Consisting primarily of fragrant white flowering plants and silver or variegated foliage, a moon garden truly shines in the evening when a full moon’s light is reflected in it. While a moon garden is not super complicated, there are a few tips to keep in mind to make yours as magical as possible!

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Step 1: Choose the Right Location for Your Moon Garden

Consider the amount of sunlight available and the size of your moon garden when planning. If you plant one in full shade, the tree canopy might prevent the moonlight from illuminating the foliage and blossoms. If that’s your only option, try adding solar path lights or string lights to compensate.

moon garden flowers spilling onto path

At the same time, a garden in full sun might lack the height and coziness of a wooded fairytale setting. Adding a structure like an arbor or trellis with climbing white flowers would help build the enchanting quality of a moon garden. I personally prefer partial shade with dappled light and a white pebble stone path through it to catch the light from the moon and reflect it back.

white anemones in moonlight

Step 2: Choose Your Moon Garden Plants

Start with foundation or base plants to anchor the garden. Look for large plants with white flowers like hydrangeas, preferably scented such as gardenias and roses. These are the stars of the show.

white hydrangeas in moon garden

moon garden white dogwood tree blossoms

Next add in plants with silvery leaves or variegated foliage like wooly lamb’s ear, deadnettle, dusty miller (see my silly chicken in it!), and hostas. These are your 'supporting actors'.

chicken in moon garden dusty miller

Fill in the empty spaces with small flowering plants like sweet alyssum, impatiens and petunias. These are your 'extras'!

white flowers in moon garden

Don’t forget the climbers! Jasmine, honeysuckle and mandevilla look lovely in the light of the moon.

moon garden white mandevilla on black arbor

charleston white flower climber

Pay attention to the seasons and plan to have blooms throughout the year by planting bulbs and mixing perennials and annuals.

white blooming bulbs in moon garden

Step 3: Add Fairytale Features!

Add special features to your moon garden to really make it magical. Pop in solar path lights or string lights to illuminate the garden when the moon is hidden. Hang a wind chime. Add a white bench for seating. Perhaps a piece of garden art that is light in color or celestial in nature can be tucked into an open spot. The goal is to create a fairytale setting in your evening stroll through the moon garden.

moon garden fairy lights

I love this pebble mosaic at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

pebble mosaic with feet

Lake House Moon Garden~

moon garden with zebra hydrangea and dead nettle

For my current moon garden, I chose a section on the side of our house along the path to our backyard. It’s very shaded with dappled light, so I needed to add some path lights to help the moon out! I planted Zebra Hydrangeas with white blossoms to be the building blocks.

moon garden with white impatiens and ferns

In front of these, I layered deadnettle (lamium maculatum ‘Beacon Silver’) and white impatiens. In between the hydrangeas, I tucked in a few tubers called Honorine Jobert Anemone. I rounded out the garden with silvery ferns and variegated hostas. At the time this is written (July ‘23), my moon garden is in its first season. It's still looking a little rough, but I will add updated photos as it matures.

Greenville House Moon Garden~

moon garden with anemone and  magnolias

At our previous house, we had a moon garden in the front corner of our property next to a large grove of magnolia trees covered with giant fragrant blooms. The moon garden was bordered with a vintage wrought iron fence and gate covered in scented Confederate Jasmine. White single peonies blossomed at the entrance.

moon garden white peonies

Inside the moon garden, Japanese anemones shined in the glow.

single white peonies in moonlight

Every year, white grape hyacinths and Lily of the Valley kicked off the spring season followed by white peonies and variegated hostas. Japanese Painted ferns and fragrant tea olives bordered the edges.

moon garden white lenten roses

Under an airy dogwood tree were white Lenten roses (Hellebores) that lined the stone path. My favorite was the end of summer and early fall when the white anemones finally bloomed. They were so delicate and swayed with the wind creating a fairytale moon garden.

Try a Moon Garden in Containers!

Another option for a moon garden is to use containers. If you are limited with space, focus on a deck or patio. Try using light reflecting white containers or dark contrasting colored containers to really make the white blossoms shine and then follow the “Thriller, Filler and Spiller” formula for container planting with moon garden plants. Begin with a focal “thriller” plant like a patio hydrangea and surround it with “filler” white flowers like petunias or white verbena. Finish with “spillers” like sweet alyssum or bacopa to trail over the edge of the container. Arrange around the deck or patio with some string lights and enjoy an enchanting moon garden.

moon garden container with white flowers

moon garden container pot

hand holding dandelion in the moonlight

Whether your moon garden is tucked away like a secret oasis or simply arranged on your back deck in containers, take time to relax in your fairytale garden illuminated by the moonlight.

girl looking at daisies in moonlight

Breathe in the fragrant blossoms and marvel at the beauty of an enchanting moon garden!

To enjoy even more flowers, try growing a Beginner Cut Flower Garden with my easy printable plan.

easy cut flower plan zinnias

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