You can transform a dark Garden nook into a brilliant Moon Garden with the simple addition of three perennial shrubs — Radicans Gardenia, Annabelle Hydrangea and April Snow Camellia. As winners of the prestigious “Georgia Gold Medal Award,” these plants are indeed worth their weight in botanical gold because of their outstanding merits. They’re easy to grow; they don’t need a lot of “fussing-over;” and they all have brilliant white flowers that are luminous in the moonlight.
So What Exactly is a “Moon Garden?”
As a counterpart to the vibrant flowers you enjoy in your sunny garden during a fast-paced day, a moon garden allows you to slow down as you unwind from the day and relish a quieter, more peaceful time in your garden. The same vibrant, colorful flowers that shine in the sunlight typically blend into the darkness at night. White flowers, however, which may be lost in the brightness of day, reflect the moonlight and are resplendent as dusk ushers in early evening.
Close Your Eyes, and Say “Ahhh”
Some flowers — even though they may be open during the day — aren’t really fragrant until the sun begins setting, prompting them to release their intoxicating scents. The botanical reason is to attract nighttime pollinators, but the romantic reason is to perfume the air that surrounds your veranda or envelop your path during a moonlit stroll. Limited evening visibility allows you to enjoy these flowers even if you can’t see them very well, as their sweet fragrance fills the nighttime air.
Your Intimate Retreat
Let other plants in your garden cater to “curb appeal” — for passersby to enjoy — but allow your moon garden to cater to you. And if you choose to invite others into your intimate retreat, think of entertaining outside at dusk to give your guests a peek into your serene refuge away from the world’s cares. Skip the outdoor cookout with its competing fragrances; instead, choose an evening garden party or a star-gazing event to create the perfect frame that features your moon garden.
Six Simple Design Tips
1. Surround your patio, deck or veranda. The best place to start designing your moon garden is around your favorite outdoor sitting area. Whether you enjoy a chaise lounge on the patio, a comfortable rocker on the deck or a swing on the veranda, place moon-garden plants around this area first.
2. Line a path. Choose low-growing plants to border a path for an evening garden stroll.
3. Vary plant heights. Choose short, medium and tall plants for varying levels of “white,” and for their fragrance to infuse the air at different heights.
4. Plant in groups. One white-flowering plant is effective, but groupings or massed plantings will take your design to a higher level of enjoyment.
5. Extend the enjoyment. Staggered bloom times create multi-season interest. Plan your moon garden so the flowers from different plants bloom at different times of the year.
6. Enhance your experience. Although white-flowering plants can light up your evening landscape with their ethereal glow, solar lights add a soft, shining touch that enhances the effect of white flowers in the moonlight.
Three Essential Plants
1. Radicans Gardenia
(Gardenia jasminoides ‘Radicans’)
In spring and summer, the intoxicating fragrance of Radicans Gardenia fills the evening air. Its double flowers pack a double punch with twice the brightness in the moonlight and twice the fragrance. Radicans is suitable for smaller garden spaces – it grows only 2 feet tall, but may spread up to 4 feet. Its dwarf size is perfect for lining a gardening path or for planting in containers, which allows you to place it strategically for its fullest, most fragrant, effect.
2. Annabelle Hydrangea
(Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’)
If you need a plant that makes a dramatic statement in your moon garden, look no further than Annabelle hydrangea. With stunning round flower heads that can reach up to 12 inches across, what plant captures the look of a full moon better than Annabelle? The blooming begins in late spring and puts on an unrivaled floral show through summer, sometimes continuing into autumn. Annabelle typically grows to a height between 3 and 5 feet, with a slightly larger spread, which makes it a design choice for filling in those dark pockets in your garden.
3. April Snow Camellia
(Camellia japonica ‘April Snow’)
Fragrant, evergreen and covered in snow-white flowers describes April Snow camellia in a nutshell. This standout in the moon garden blooms in spring through summer, depending on your climate, and bears flowers that resemble roses. As one of the April Series of cold-hardy camellias, April Snow is bred for winter hardiness to zone 6. Plant April Snow as a taller backdrop to shorter moon-garden plants, because its mature height may reach 8 feet. As an evergreen privacy hedge, April Snow is unrivaled.
With Radicans gardenia at your feet, Annabelle hydrangea closer to eye level and April Snow camellia towering overhead, your moon garden will be filled with plants that delight the senses at every level. So go ahead and design your garden — by the light of the silvery moon.
The post 3 White-Flowered Gold-Medal Perennials for Your Moon Garden: Radicans Gardenia, Annabelle Hydrangea and April Snow Camellia appeared first on Brighter Blooms Nursery Blog.
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