A Specialty Garden Under the Stars

White Glows Brightly Under the StarsCredit: http://ilonasgarden.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/whitegarden.JPGFlowers are the perfect pick-me-up, no matter how you feel or where you are.  They appeal differently to men, women and children but flowers of all kinds can put even the moodiest person at peace to some degree. Most flowers bloom during the day then close up at night.  However, there are some flowers that bloom all hours or only open at night; under natural moonlight or artificial light, they continue to give joy, beauty and inspiration and add a special touch to the evening, giving a sense of peace and elegance.

Plan Your Garden Carefully

Decide where you would prefer to locate the night garden so that you can enjoy it the most. Most likely, this will be on or near a patio or deck, or a special spot in the garden away from the house where you can sit on a bench or a seat to relax. Before you select your plants, test the area by sitting outside under the moonlight or under the patio lights and try to envision what your garden should look like - how many plants?  Will you use pots or do you want a ground area?  What kind of light will there be for the plants?  Man made lighting, candlelight or natural moonlight will create different moods and will also lighten the plants in different ways.  You may want to start with one or two special plants and add to these over time.

To Pot or Not To Pot

Group Potted Plants in Uneven NumbersCredit: http://gardendjinn.typepad.com/garden/2011/06/out-of-the-box.htmlIf you decide to use pots, select ceramic pots of varying sizes to contain your flowers. Group them in sets of three or five and use varying heights of plants for interest. Potted plants may need more frequent watering during the warmer months however, they are easy to move around to change the mood, or design.  For the garden spot, prepare the soil to plant flowers; you can also place several potted plants in between the ground plantings to add interest and to allow you to change these out for different types of flowers depending on the season. Whether you use pots or a ground spot, sprinkle some sea glass or glass pebbles around your plants; the light will pick these up and add a special glow and beauty to your garden.

White Is Bright

Tuber-rose perfumes the night air.Credit: http://maisqueperfume.blogspot.com/2010_03_01_archive.htmlFirst, choose white flowering plants that open in the evening or stay open all day. Depending on your local nursery, select any or some of the following types of plants:  gardenias, sweet white alyssum, chrysanthemums, white camellias, angel's trumpet, tuberoses, Cereus, white verbena, four-o-clocks, primroses, white morning-glory, night-blooming jasmine. There are others to choose from, so ask your nursery staff for suggestions. Some of these plants work better in pots, others will grow more successfully in the ground, especially those that like to spread or tend to grow tall.  Plants such as jasmine and tuberose will perfume the night air adding, another delight to the night garden.

Add Silvery Accents

Silver leafed plantsCredit: http://growingwithsuttons.diy.comNext, for variation and to complement the white plants, choose plants for their leaf color which will enhance the white floral accents and add color variation.  Silvery leafed plants include Artemisia, lavender, and succulents such as varieties of Kalanchoe (tomentosa or lamb's ear, K. pumila), Sedum (S. clavatum, S. dasyphyllum), sedeveria, and Aeonium  haworthii  (pinwheel).   Plant these in separate pots or around the main potted flower and./or in the ground in and around the white plants, allowing for taller plants to sit behind ground covers or low growing plants.  This gives almost equal weight to each of your plants as they "glow" in the light.

Light Up Your Garden

Consider using additional lighting where needed. Plant 1-2 solar lights in and around your garden toGarden Night LightsCredit: http://kayainternational.com/2010/12/18/the-low-voltage-garden-lights-are-highly-popular-and-beneficial/low-voltage-garden-lights-decorating/ showcase your plants and to provide some ambience. If you plant the garden away from the house, then the lights will lead the way. Alternatively, especially for a patio garden, place a couple of candle holders nearby to accent the plants. Use frosted or different colored, tinted glass containers; hang them from the patio roof, place them on ceramic plant pots turned upside down or add them to a tabletop next to the plant area. Another idea is a lighted gazing ball.  These are powered by solar or electricity and add a soft glow to the area. Be creative!

 Add Your Personal Style

Add a water feature.Credit: http://ourlittleacre.blogspot.com/2008/03/indiana-flower-patio-show-2008.htmlOnce you have planted your flowers and leafy plants, add accents to your garden to provide some artificial color and interesting enhancements. Decide on a theme, and add those elements to your garden, perhaps some small lighthouses which could double as candle holders, small ceramic animals such as the classic frogs, turtles, rabbits, etc. You may want to add a small water feature which both relaxes with its soothing water sound and adds a little humidity to the plant air.  A fountain that lights up gives you another opportunity to add a glow to your garden. 

Choose whether you want dramatic style, elegance or a little whimsy in your garden; think about the kind of mood you hope to evoke with your garden and choose your accents to match your personal style. There are endless ideas and elements to create your night garden whether you desire a small garden on or near the pation, or a large garden in an area of your yard.  Start small and build as you feel the need or desire.