Moon Gardens

Moon Garden Flower

 We have many wonderful Gardens at Bastrop Botanical Gardens. One of them is our lovely Moon Garden, located in the back of Bastrop Botanical Gardens, an alternative Botanical Garden.  The Moon Garden is multi-purpose here.  They can be many things to many people, rather open to interpretation.  A Moon Garden can go from serving a purpose, such as a Memorial Garden, to pure enjoyment, such as outside a window for fragrance. A Moon Garden is the expression of the Gardener, a simple or romantic garden choice. Ours serves as both, it is a Memorial Garden, created in the memory of my father and our grandson, and has evolved to be a Meditation Garden.

A Moon Garden is an intimate one, can even be a romantic one. The night fragrance, the moonlight, the quietness and intimacy all appealed to me, both as a designer and as a gardener. After reading books on Moon Garden design, and gardening by the Moon, the idea sat with me for years until my grief needed somewhere to go.  The Moon Garden began in earnest after the death of my Father. It has evolved to be the garden it is today.  Let me share with you the basics of a Moon Garden, and how we created ours at Bastrop Botanical Gardens.

Moon Gardens vary as much as gardeners.  Sizes, shapes, locations, all depend on the gardener’s ideas.  There are a few basic principles.  The plants should be white flowering, when possible.  Use plants with night blooms or heavy night fragrance. Silver foliage plants are a great addition also.  The goal is to be able to bounce back enough light from the Moon that no outside lighting is needed. The sweetest aroma possible spilling from beautiful white and pale blooms bouncing back moonlight. How magnificent is that!  These gardens are well suited for courtyards, patios and under bedroom windows.  

The Moon Garden at Bastrop Botanical Gardens is created in the shape of a half moon.  It has a path with a bench in the middle of the garden and has four distinct quadrants for planting.  We have had weddings in our Moon Garden. and festivals around it. Not all need to be so large, most are very intimate. we have installed them under bedroom windows so that an open window lets the fragrance inside and the moonlight brightens the flowers at night. There really is no place that you cannot put your Moon Garden, it is a personal choice. 

Being a Native plant and Herb gardener, these are the plants I picked to go in the garden.  It is with more traditional ornamental plants that most Moon Gardens are made, the Sweet Olives, Viburnums and such. Not ours! The Bastrop Botanical Moon Garden is composed of an assortment of plants.  All fitting the criteria of a Moon Garden first, of course, and permaculture second.  We enjoy utilizing native and herb plants in ours at the Gardens, all raised organically.  As with all gardens, it is with trial and error that the way to find what works happens.  We came up with a group of plants that work well together throughout the seasons.

The plants that work well for Bastrop Botanical Gardens Moon Garden are a nice mix. We have Ruellia in both the tall and dwarf form as a major part of the garden.  They are so strong in presence and great performers, blooming white all season.  We also have an entire quadrant in the herb Artemesia. Artemesia cast back the moonlight from its silvery foliage. It serves many purposes as well, cut flowers, smudges, moth repellant in stored sweaters and teas too.  Sweet Almond Verbena adds a fragrant backdrop planting, keeping it pruned for size and knowing it burns in winter. Two native trees that do really well are the Anacacho Orchid Tree and Kidney Wood. The Anacacho blooms in early spring and the Kidneywood blooms in the heat of summer, both with incredible fragrance.  Our next layer, or level, if you will, is Fragrant Mist with White Lightening Lantana for a low bloomer, we use Frog Fruit for a ground cover. We have featured two Night blooming Yuccas surrounded by White Plumbago in one quadrant that also has the White Star Hibiscus featured and White Lightening Lantana and Frog Fruit. Of Course, we have featured The Moon flower, Datura. This flower has a long history, but, for our purposes, we will refer to it as Angels Trumpets, the White flowering, upward pointing Moon Flower of great fragrance and pollinated by the Sphinx Moth. We have used Salvia greggii, Oxeye Daisies, Shasta Daisies and Blackfoot daisy as fantastic choices in our Moon Garden. Extreme weather, drought and Summer took them out this year though.

We also used Culinary Herbs that bloom white. There is no reason any garden cannot be a Culinary Herb Garden too. We plant Cilantro, Parsley, Curry and Basils throughout the year and throughout the Moon Garden. We use the Herbs all season and when they flower, they are pollinated by beneficial wasps, only increasing their value to the Garden.  The most ornamental plant in the Moon Garden is the Bradford Pear that we planted in memorial to our Grandson. It has a five-star white flower bloom in Spring and has a gorgeous red color in its fall leaves. For these reasons it anchors the Moon Garden.

A Moon Garden is a garden of Simplicity. a Garden that makes it easy to calm oneself and enjoy the natural surroundings. The coolness of the white flowers, with the night fragrance, it can be the Garden of a most personal nature. Hope we have inspired you to create one of your own.  You will be very happy you did.  

About the author 

Deena Spellman

A Texas State graduate with a B.S. in Botany and an Associate Degree in Horticulture, Deena Spellman recently celebrated her 21st anniversary as a professional in the field of gardening. She operates Bastrop Botanical Gardens which includes a Labyrinth registered in the United Kingdom Registry, a landscape company, Heirloom Tea Room, and a nursery. All are open by scheduled appointment where she especially enjoys sharing her extensive knowledge with small groups of like-minded gardeners.

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