Thursday, August 10, 2017

Of Gothic Moonlit Gardens~~~~

Dear Darklings,

What is it with the weather???   Yesterday it was overcast and chilly cold that even the dogs decided to snuggle in their doggie beds together, which is something they rarely do.   And I had to wear a sweater (black of course), it was so nippy.

Now it’s overcast in the morning and sunny in the afternoon but barely above 70.  And this is supposed to be the Dog Days of Summer, you know like Hot August Nights and all that stuff. 

Not that I want to get overheated, there is a limit. 

I’ve been talking to my gardener and I said I’d like to do a Gothic moon garden considering that the overabundance of rain rotted out my blubs and other plants so I’ve been letting things sort of even out and rest. 

He suggested that I plant white plants that is blubs and flowers that are white, and soft grey foliage and replace those roses that have died with roses that produce white blooms, as well as night blooming jasmine, and moonflowers, evening primrose, night phlox,  and 4 o’clock.

I found out that other night blooming plants (depending upon what zone you live in) include  Queen of the Night which is a type of catus with  exotic white flowers with undulating petals that open only at night, it looks a little like a water lily set upon upright green fronds.

Now there are some that are dangerous even toxic if eaten by pets and children such as  Night Blooming Jessamine (Cestrum nocturnum), Angel’s Trumpet (Brugmansia) the scent is intoxicating on warm summer evenings

 Flowering Tobacco (Nicotiana)  it smells like jasmine but you need to use Caution because all parts of flowering tobacco are toxic if ingested so if you have children and pets that like to nibble plants you might want to avoid this one.

There’s also  Evening Stock (Matthiola longipetala)  A wildflower originating in Portugal and Spain, they release their heady perfume, described as a mix of vanilla, rose, spice, and cloves.

 Ever-Flowering Gladiolus (Gladiolus tristis) this has buttery cream petalled flowers perched atop a twisty stalk. They release a strong almond fragrance after dusk.  Of course one has to have  Lilac (Syringa vulgaris), even if it’s blooming period is short.

Summer Snapdragon (Angelonia angustifolia), because its long-blooming upright 8-inch spikes resemble those of the popular dragon flower it’s available in several hues, the “serena white” variety is the best choice for a moonlight garden.  It has apple-scented foliage, this will stay in bloom from June to September.

Matilija Poppy (Romneya coulteri) is lovely but you need to prune frequently but great for ground cover.

And you’ll need plants that have a silvery sheen to them to pick up the rays of the moon like  Silvermound (Artemisia schmidtiana), Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’), Jack Frost (Brunnera macrophylla) White Trillium,  and Lamb’s Ear.

And we also have Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea petiolaris)and  Alba Plena Camellia (Camellia japonica ‘Alba Plena’) it has exquisite overlapping petals in snowy white, the alba plena camellia is commonly referred to as the rose of winter since it blooms from late fall until early spring.

It is recommended that along with night-blooming and night-fragrant flowers, adding plants that will shine under the stars is the crowning touch of the moonlight garden. You’ll want to select showy flowers in white or other cool colors like light blue, soft yellow, and lavender and be sure to include reflective non-flowering plants to create a diverse range of textures, shapes, and sizes.

Of course this is helpful if you have a garden even a tiny patio if you have a ground floor apartment, but if you don’t find out from your nurseryman which plants will grow well it pots to have on your apartment balcony to enjoy on those warm summer evenings to engage in your Gothic moon viewing as you read “Dracula” or one of the “Twilight” novels by candle light.

My artist friends directed me to someone who can do small concrete skulls for me with slightly different “grins” on their faces, and with metal armature do skeletal hands breaking out of the ground.  He recommended not too many, it would be better that they are a sudden surprise but not where anyone could trip over them,  and with my outdoor pond I’ve been stocking it with mosquito fish and having the water circulating to prevent mosquito's from hatching, and floating white waterlilies, at least with those fish if they get eaten by the cats I can replace them for free.   

My gardener suggested that maybe the evening stock and the poppy be used where I have my pet cemetery as ground cover,  so I have a lot of planning for my Moon garden and hope to have it fully in place by next summer  so we shall see.

Later Darklings.

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