March 8, 2021

The UAE witness rising popularity of moon gardens

There’s something magical about moon gardens. A serene spot designed specifically to be appreciated once the sun has set, this is where you unwind after a long day and take the opportunity to revel in the quiet of the night.

It’s little wonder that moon gardens are a growing trend in the West. Busy schedules, long working hours and arduous commutes mean that few people get the chance to enjoy their gardens during daylight. In response, gardeners around the world have started creating gardens that – as the name so romantically suggests – can be best enjoyed by moonlight.

It’s a move away from much that we hold dear. These are not showy, colourful gardens designed to impress the neighbours, but instead understated spaces created for our own enjoyment. For the most part, the beauty of a moon garden will not reveal itself until everyone else has retreated for the day.

Everything here – from plants and flowers to pathways and water features – is designed to come to life when illuminated by the Moon’s gentle, silvery-hued rays. White flowers and pale-coloured foliage will reflect the light in mesmerising ways. The green of the stems will blend into the darkness, making blooms appear to float weightlessly in the breeze.

The secret is volume. The odd bloom here and there will be swallowed up by the darkness, but masses of white will create incredible visual impact. ­Variegated and glaucous foliage is also accentuated.

If you’re tempted to create your own moon garden in the UAE, some of the species that will work well include the Bismarckia palm, with its chalky silver-blue foliage, and lightly hued species of agave.

Moon gardens should appeal to all of your senses, so opt for heavily fragrant, night-blooming plants. The Millingtonia hortensis, or Indian cork tree, which is one of the species to be found in abundance in Abu Dhabi’s new Mushrif Central Park, comes with the prerequisite white flowers, and will also emit a powerful scent once night falls. There’s also the trusty Plumeria, or frangipani, which grows so stealthily in these parts. Its sweet scent will be a welcome addition to your night garden.

Where you choose to put your moon garden is entirely up to you. It can take up your entire outdoor space or a secluded section within your garden. There are no rules, although gardens located near powerful, light-polluting street lamps and suchlike will be harder to pull off. As this is a place to ­retreat to, peace and quiet are key – the only noise that should be interrupting your reverie is the sound of long grasses rustling in the wind or a water feature, which will also play a role in reflecting those moon rays.

You may want to create a gently meandering pathway out of white pebbles leading up to a main seating area. Keep lighting to a minimum – this is not the place for overpowering floodlights. Instead, opt for Tiki torches, low-wattage LED lights, solar lamps or strings of fairy lights that can be placed on the ground or strung up in the branches of a tree.

If you’re worried about mosquitoes, invest in some citronella candles, or try growing herbs such as lavender, which are a natural repellent.

But by far the most critical part of your moon garden is your seating. Install a bench or swing in an out-of-the-way spot, but make sure to add some sumptuous cushions, as you’ll need a comfortable seat for all that stargazing. Settle in, give your eyes some time to adjust and enjoy the view.

Published by The National

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