Moon Garden

I was reading an article on the weekend describing a Moon Garden and it occurred to me just how much my personal tastes have changed in the last ten years.
For those that don’t know, a “Moon Garden” is an all white flowering garden. The name comes from the moonlight that reflects off the white flowers, making the garden visible at night.  I could describe in detail the intricacies of these gardens and how the fragrance of white Jasmine conjures romance in the still of a summer’s moon lit night, but I think you get my drift!

Sissinghurst Moon Gardens in the United Kingdom, featuring only white flowers that are visible at night due to reflection from the moonlight.
Sissinghurst Gardens in the UK

The garden pictured above is at Sissinghurst in the UK and it is undeniably beautiful.  Ten years ago I would have considered this as one of the ultimate looks, but I now believe a garden of this nature can be so much more and it is potentially a missed opportunity.
For me now, I want to see more contrast, whether through foliage or colour. I believe that white should be used as a thread woven through a garden to hold the space together.  The garden pictured below is “Great Dixter” and you will notice the spectacular mix of colours throughout the garden, but the one consistency is the feathery (not bright) white flowers used all the way through.

The very colourful Great Dixter garden in the UK.
Great Dixter Garden

I mentioned foliage contrast and there is no better example in my opinion than Tom Stuart-Smith’s garden at the 2008 Chelsea Flower Show (pictured below).  All flowers in this garden are white yet they are in no way the dominant feature. It is the contrasting foliage textures and green hues that stand out and the white flowers interspersed through the garden, help to unify the design.  What can’t be underestimated though, is that the white has again been delicately spread throughout the garden in the same way as Great Dixter.

Tom Stuart-Smith's garden at the Chelsea Flower Show 2008 uses interspersed white flowers as well as contrasting foliage.
Tom Stuart-Smith, Chelsea Flower Show 2008

In summary, when I saw Tom’s garden at Chelsea in 2008 I was blown away by it but never really knew why. It has taken me almost four years but I am starting to figure out why the English are true plantsmiths.
Whether you agree or disagree with my thoughts I hope it has forced you to ask yourself “what do you like”?