How does your garden look at night ? The evening can extend our pleasure of the garden immensely. How often do we work all weekend in the garden then all week in an office and never take time to enjoy the triumphs of our labour. Evenings can be a time when we can enjoy and savour the garden, when moonlight illuminates the flowers and foliage and presents a different, almost surreal, experience.
The obvious way to enhance the darkness is to use flowers that are white or bright in colour. Many varieties are best viewed in the shadows, the popular impatiens is a lovely example of a simple everyday flower that thrives in shady locations; plant them in pots on the deck or in masses in the front of borders and see how they reflect the moonlight to create beautiful mounds of brightness. Tall elegant trumpet lilies, towering at the back of your border, their deep outer petals contrasting with the brightest of white, or golden yellow, centres that glow in the moonlight. Many flowering shrubs, such as peonies, roses and hydrangeas, come in brilliant whites and yellow to add splashes of brightness to borders in the evenings.
Bright foliage is another way to create an evening glow in the garden. Lamium spreads in the garden bed while the mint-green silvery coloured Silver Licorice forms long draping sweeps that shine in the moonlight.
The smell of a night garden can be quite intoxicating with aromas tending to carry further than in the daytime. Evening blooms have a strong fragrance to attract to attract night-flying moth pollinators. The heady smells of Trumpet Lilies, Alyssum and the sweet vanilla scent of Heliotrope are just a few to consider.
Careful garden planning and design can enhance the night garden. Place plants that suit the evening glow close to the house, windows and patio so you can enjoy the sights and smells. The use of artificial light can create shadows and reflections as well as serving a practical use. Twinkling Christmas lights, draped through trees or around pergolas create a magical glow for parties. Water features can look stunning at night, perhaps add candles to add to the moon’s reflections on the water
The visual impact of bright colours, the scents of flowers and the sounds of the evening combine to make the evening garden a place to calm and soothe the spirit. In the evening we often have more time to sit, relax and entertain. Make your garden one that shines at night.