Romantic Moon Gardens contain fragrant plants that reflect the moonlight. Native plants with gray or silver foliage and those with white flowers require little water to look lovely, and will entice you out for nighttime strolls. Or use these plants mixed in a native landscape or succulent garden where the light foliage contrasts beautifully with the darker leaves and flowers of the other plants.
For gray and silver foliage, try California Aster. It is low-growing with neat purple flowers that last. Desert Marigold and Incienso have beautiful yellow flowers on tall stems. Wayne’s Silver California Fuchsia is a striking gray-leafed plant that highlights its tubular red flowers perfectly. Catch the moonlight and feed Monarch butterflies with most of the Milkweeds. Don’t forget grasses which move in the evening breeze.
Many sages are from different families. The Artemisia sages have mostly gray feathery and fragrant foliage. Coastal Sagebrush’s informal shape looks great behind more structured plants. For a mounding version, try Canyon Gray Sagebrush or the unusual Montara Sagebrush with its wispy silver foliage.
Other sages are from the Salvia family, such as white-flowering gray-leafed White Sage, its compact form Dwarf White Sage, and the very fragrant ‘Vicki Romo’ variety. The rounded, soft silver leaves and tall flower spikes make Salvias showpieces in a garden and their flowers are magnets for hummingbirds and insects. White flowers can be found on fragrant Black Sage too.
Broom Baccharis and Coyote Brush are lovely green informal plants all year and then suddenly are covered with blooms and fluffy seeds that glow in sun or moon light. For a more structured form choose the tough, low-growing Pozo Surf Coyote Brush. To see the dangling white blooms of Coast Tasselbush. backlit is worth taking an evening stroll.
The white flowering Big Pod Ceanothus colors the northern hillsides in late winter and will do the same in your garden. Bigberry Manzanita has beautifully twisted branches that add wonderful shapes in the moonlight. Matilija Poppy’s huge papery white flowers are extraordinary.
Try a Moon Garden of fragrant silver and white natives, and be enchanted while saving water and feeding wildlife as well.
Diane and Miranda Kennedy own Finch Frolic Garden Permaculture, at www.vegetariat.com.