By Kimberly Toscano
There is something magical about an evening garden. Glowing in soft light against surrounding darkness, garden rooms compress with intimacy and serenity. The day’s stresses fade in twilight as the outside world quiets. Mind and spirit are calmed.
Create a tranquil retreat in your own garden by bolstering privacy and brightening the plant palette with a dusting of white and silver.
Setting the Scene
A few essential ingredients for your evening escape include comfortable seating, a safe pathway, and easy access. A sense of solitude also helps set the mood. Privacy and enclosure can be complete or suggested. For example, patios may be enclosed by a wall of Red Diamond™ Midsize Loropetalum or Juliet™ Cleyera for full privacy. Alternatively, incorporating a few upright elements like ‘Angyo Star’ Fatshedera into surrounding plantings provides a veil of shelter and hint of seclusion. The same effect can be achieved with understory trees like Empress of China® Dogwood.
Turn to any moon garden plant list and you find an assortment of white flowers, from the trumpets of White Crinum Lily to bouncy panicles of Moon Dance™ Hydrangea. White blossoms reflect moonlight to illuminate the evening garden. The bulbous blooms of Ever White™ Agapanthus glow like lanterns in the night, while ‘White’ Drakensberg Daisy™ Hardy Garden Gerbera shimmers with star-like blooms. White flowers also have a practical side. Brighten pathways with masses of White Blush EnduraScape™ Verbena to help you navigate in the dark.
Take a cue from aromatherapy and unwind by enveloping your evening garden with fragrant flowers and foliage. Looking for an after work pick-me-up? The spicy, clove-like bouquet of Scent First® Coconut Surprise Dianthus will stimulate the senses and help restore your energy. Other scents are more soothing. The light floral notes of ‘Meerlo’ Lavender promote relaxation while the bright foliage reflects moonlight. Some flowers are most fragrant at night as they attract nighttime pollinators. The captivating perfume of ScentAmazing™and Jubilation™Gardenias, for example, is even more pronounced after the sun goes down.
Another way to capture light in the garden is with reflective foliage. The powder-blue blades of Beyond Blue™ Festuca shimmer silver in the night. White variegation achieves a similar effect in plants like hosta and Platinum Beauty™ Lomandra. One might not think of the dark purple ‘Black Ripple’ Colocasia as a nighttime selection, but the broad foliage mirrors light in unexpected ways. Another surprising evening jewel is ‘Twilight’ Heucherella, whose dark foliage is tinged with a silver sheen that reflects moonlight. Set dark-toned shrubs behind brighter specimens like Night Light™ Chamaecyparis to accentuate their glow.
Complete the enchanting scene with the cleansing power of water and magnetism of fire. A gently trickling fountain can ease your nerves and transport your mind. Fire has a character all its own – hypnotic, primal, mysterious. Fire pits are mesmerizing, but even small flames add ambiance to the garden. An old-fashioned candle-lit lantern wraps the garden in romance, creating the perfect setting for sipping wine. Find the elements that work best for you – your evening retreat doesn’t need to be complicated.