When I first graduated college, I took a job as a staff newspaper photographer. The hours were variable and 12 hour days were not unusual. During this time period, it was often too dark for me to enjoy my patio garden by the time I got home. Until I discovered the concept of a night garden.
Although it sounds like a night garden should involve weeding with a miner’s headlamp on my head, a night garden is actually a garden design that incorporates plants that are night blooming or highly visible at dusk or by a porch light.
The Victorians called this type of garden a moon garden. The moon garden was a favorite of Victorian ladies who wanted to enjoy the outdoors without spoiling their complexions.
Good plants for night gardens include variegated plants with white stripes, white flowers such as roses or silver foliage such as lamb’s ear, plants with strong perfumes such as honeysuckle and jasmine, and night blooming plants such as moon flower or late evening blooming plants such as four o’clocks.
Here are some plants that are suitable for a night garden:
Flowering Tobacco (Nicotiana alata) – A member of the Nightshade family with long, tubular blossoms. Modern hybrids do not have strong jasmine fragerance like the heirloom version.
Evening Primrose – These night-blooming flowers have four heart shaped leaves that form a tiny cup. Long, frilly stames poke out of each blossom. These flowers bloom white and fade to pink. Evening primrose have a scent reminiscent of honeysuckle.
August Lily – a hosta variety with a honey scent. August lily have leaves that are deeply veined and reach six inches long and four inches wide. The plants produce white flowers on tall stalks.
Carolina Jasmine – this plant has evergreen leaves and yellow, bell- shaped flowers. Although the plant blossoms during the day, it produces stronger perfume at night.
Moon Frolic Daylilly – despite being a day lilly, moon frolic produces creamy white blossoms that bloom at night. According to Clemson State University, there are 49 other varieties of night blooming daylilly including Toltec Sundial, Witches Dance and Jewel of Hearts.
There are many other great night blooming plants that you can use exclusively Or in combination with day blooming plants. Check with your local garden center for varieties that they may carry.