The sun shines upon the daytime garden, colorful rays touching the plants, the foliage and the pollinators that bring it to life. Color is the heart of the garden, creating interest and brightening our landscapes.
When these garden colors are lost to the end of the day and bathed in shadows, the delicate and mysterious night garden emerges. Bringing out bright and reflective colors, nightfall highlights plants that shine in the night. Colors, textures, scents and shadows create a fresh landscape.
As Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote in “Phantom of the Opera,” “Slowly, gently, night unfurls its splendor.”
Fading into darkness, the shifting light enhances our focus on pale-blooming plants with hues of yellow, blue, silver and white. Oh, the wonder of white in the night garden.
As the temperature cools, you can expand your enjoyment of outdoor rooms by including plants that pop as darkness arrives. With proper planning and careful use of plants and garden lighting, patios, porches and seating areas can become enchanting spaces to relax and unwind.
Don’t forget foliage as you plan your evening retreat. Variegated and silver or gray leaves radiate delicate light and brighten the garden as well.
According to Webber, “Nighttime sharpens, heightens each sensation.” In addition to enhancing our visual sense, our sense of smell is amplified by the inclusion of night-scented flowers. Many of the plants that bring light to the nocturnal landscape also release more intoxicating fragrance as the heat of day wanes.
Evenings usher in the pollinator night shift, consisting primarily of moths and bats. Providing dinner and a warm resting place, night-blooming plants produce more pollen after dusk. Some pollinators even spend the night in the embrace of blooms. Nocturnal moths have eyes specifically designed to help them navigate dark skies.
Spend some time in your garden at night before you embark on the process to create a night garden. Notice which plants already come into their own when evening falls. Plan to add a variety of blooms, foliage and textures that lighten the landscape and will invite pollinators. Consider adding lighting – low-voltage lights and solar lights are easy to find and install yourself. Then sit back and enjoy.
Plants that shine in the night garden
White salvia Greggii
Variegated Aztec grass or liriope
Variegated yucca colorguard