By Todd Layt
Offices, apartment complexes, parks, and many houses use garden lighting, but it’s quite rare for landscape professionals to use plants that stand out and shine under artificial light or in a full moon.
The majority of the time the lights are positioned in the garden to simply light the way for paths.
Using at least some plants that glow in these situations really adds to the effect on your landscape. One way is to use flowers that are either white or vivid yellow, but some foliage plants should also be used as these types of plants often shine all year round.
Most of the articles that have been written about moon gardens are from the USA, and many of the plants mentioned in them are not available here in Australia.
The other issue is that these stories generally focus on plants that only flower in the full moon, and don’t flower during the day. It makes more sense to use plants that flower in the day and night, and foliage plants that look good both in the day and night. In choosing plants for moon gardens I’ve used this approach, for both flowering plants and foliage plants:
I walk around gardens in the full moon and list plants that shine. Foliage Plants, Variegated grasses, and strappy leaf plants make ideal moon garden plants. Use them for colour contrast, but don’t go overboard. Strategically place them as highlights through the garden especially near garden lights. Let them draw your eye in rather than using them everywhere.
Pennstripe is a white and green Variegated Pennisetum that works Australia wide. It needs cutting back in late winter, and will add colour in the day and night to any garden.
Pure Blonde is the ideal Moon garden Liriope. It really stands out with its full cream coloured foliage in spring and early summer. This one is best used in sheltered gardens away from high winds or in light to heavy shaded gardens.
A new Liriope called Silver Star has incredibly vivid white and green foliage, and really stands out in the day and night.
Pink Pearl with its green and cream variegated foliage shines at night, and its vivid pink flowers look amazing in the day.