As a kid I was fascinated with the moon. I remember lying in bed, squinting into binoculars for what seemed like hours, wondering if the surface was meant to look like a face and imagining what its mysterious landscape looked like up close. I haven’t outgrown my relationship with the moon. On full moon nights I am not beyond howling at the moon with my family. I love that my now teenage girls and I still echo back and forth, “I love you to the moon and back”—our special saying that they remember from a sleepy childhood bedtime story.
For years I have sown moonflower vine outside from seed. The 15’ vigorous vine has palm-sized night-blooming flowers that waft an intoxicating perfume you cannot ignore. Another fragrant moon garden favorite of mine is Indian Peace Pipe Nicotiana. This stately plant stands 3’–5’ tall, blooming jasmine-scented white flowers from summer to fall, day and night. Both of these spectacular moon garden flowers attract large night moths. Hummingbird moths (also called Hawk or Sphinx moths) are the size of a tiny hummingbird, and hover just like one, too. Hummingbird moths are mostly active at night and are specially adapted to pollinate the moonflower with their long proboscis (tube-like mouth). Seeing these magnificent moths drawn to the heavy moonflower and nicotiana perfume, much like I am, reminds me that nature’s activity doesn’t end when the sun goes down. Providing unique moon garden varieties is another way to create a habitat for creatures that I may not see often, but that share my love of the moon.
Will you start a moon garden this year? Share your enchanted garden photos with us!