While we can’t predict the weather for viewing, we do know there will be a stellar lunar event this weekend. On Sunday night, May 15 beginning at 8:32pm, the moon will be opposite the sun, in full shadow of our Earth, creating a total eclipse. The May full moon is called a Flower Moon and a fully eclipsed moon is known as a Blood Moon. We’d like to take this opportunity to give you ideas for planting a carefree Moon Garden.

Site & Size

A Moon Garden is simply a garden viewed by the moonlight. At the end of a long day, where do you relax and unwind? If it is indoors, consider the view from that window and place your moon garden within sight. We’ve created a scenario of planting a Moon Garden near a backyard patio.

With southern exposure, the area receives full sun and is 8’ x 10’. Located in the backyard between the patio and garage wall, family and guests are drawn to this area from spring through fall after dark for the firepit. There is nearby access to water and the bed currently has two yews and mulch, no other plants. Let’s illuminate the garden choosing plants with white blooms.

Structure & Scale

Between and slightly in front of the two existing yews, we will plant a Bobo Hydrangea. The three shrubs together will be the backdrop against the garage wall, giving framework to the garden. The rounded forms compliment each other. Both provide winter interest while the Hydrangea brings large floral impact at a higher than ground level view early summer to early fall. To keep the bed in scale, all other plants will be perennial and annual, smaller in stature, to vary the height and keep with shorter plants in front.

Since this garden bed is against the garage wall, it offers vertical space to fill. Garden art options include celestial wall hangings or a trellis with fragrant perennial Clematis or annual Mandevilla. White containers filled with annuals will pop against the moonlight and could be seen from a distance if viewing from indoors out. This is where your personality in the garden design really shines!

Variety & Unity

While we want a variety of plants in our Moon Garden for interest, we also need to keep the overall design in balance. Repeating color creates a rhythm and we have chosen white to stand out on a dark night by moonlight and firelight. On both sides of the Hydrangea, we will plant Anemone sylvestris with bright white nodding flowers that turn into fuzzy, ornamental seedheads. It will bloom in late spring to early summer, and potentially rebloom in the cool weather of fall. In October, we will plant some daffodil bulbs next to the Anemone. Thalia is a fragrant variety that blooms white. ‘Thundercloud’ Sedum will round out the perennial front of the border. The gray-green foliage contrasts nicely against soft white flowers blooming late summer to early fall.

Any open spots between perennial blooms can be filled with annuals, such as Alyssum and Pansies during cooler temps. Sunpatiens, Euphorbia, Cuphea, Petunias or Geraniums for summer sun. Silver foliaged plants such as Dusty Miller and Sage also look white in the moonlight. Stick to ‘less is more’ and plantings in odd numbers, such as 3, creating unity with your overall design.

Remember, the idea behind a Moon Garden is to enjoy the garden my moonlight. Choose plants with white or light colored blooms. Visit The Growing Place and see what’s in bloom now and throughout the season. Consider the fragrance you’d like lingering in the summer air. There are many more plant options than listed above. Our expert staff will help you choose the right plants for your place. The sights, sounds, and smells of gardening can be enjoyed into the nighttime.

Click here to the Adler Planetarium for more information about the Total Lunar Eclipse.