In The Moon Garden

I recently enjoyed a summer evening dining in a friend's garden. I loved the way the moon cast a spotlight of shadows, capturing a mood with white flowers and shimmery plants -- shining amongst the greenery. Nightfall ushered in entirely new and intoxicating sights and fragrances. Some flowers were shut tight sleeping, while others opened in full bloom. There's something mystical and romantic about walking through a garden on a summer evening.

What is a night garden?

A night garden incorporates plantings whose color, texture, sound, and scent can be appreciated in the evening. Sometimes night gardens are called “Moon Gardens.”

Are night gardens new?

According to this article, night gardens have been around for a long time:

“A night garden is not new to the contemporary world. Moonlight gardens were planted in medieval Japan using white or pale-colored rocks and sand. Pools of water caught the shine of the moon and white chrysanthemums cast a ghostly profile. In the 1600s India’s mogul emperor planted a stunning night blooming garden using fragrant and beautiful flowers like jasmine, narcissus, and lilies all in white.”

What to plant in a night garden?

DoItYourself lists night bloomers and aromatic plants to set your garden aglow.

Photos: Garden GuidesPlanting Seeds and Miss Wallflower

Cutting Edge: Woodland Topiary

The gardens that surround my home are woodsy, indigenous, perennial-laden (thank goodness), and at the moment gushing over with foliage and fresh blooms. While colorful and overabundant might be used to describe the lush rural garden, there's nothing remotely sculpted (hardly trimmed) to provide me with any reference about the art of topiary gardening. So, when I interviewed landscaper, Keith Buesing who is known for his topiary skills for this article, I didn't know quite what to expect. In fact, when I started to research topiary gardens, they appeared a bit fussy and over-managed for my tastes.

When I strolled around the landscaper’s property, I almost missed the garden stone and plant embellishments that layered soulfully into the natural setting. Buesing considers his property the “lab” where he “transforms the land and permeates ideas.”

Buesing is the local go-to guy if you want large garden topiary installations.

Let's backtrack just a bit: For those of you unfamiliar with topiary, it is the horticultural art of training perennial plants by clipping and pruning them into a living sculpture. The first topiaries were said to have been in Roman gardens more than 2,000 years ago. Topiaries can be both fancifully witty and classically formal.

Much to the delight of Buesing's community - Gardiner, NY, he has transformed the lawn of the library with a giant green lizard reading a stone book inscribed with the words "Love, Lizard, Life, Lapidary." He also tends to a “Stegodile” - a croc that has taken on the characteristics of a Stegosaurus. The installation miraculously changed a busy, mundane state highway intersection into anything but ordinary.

It was obvious to me that in his own rustic retreat, the seemingly laid-back Buesing favors a relaxed environment. When I asked him what he was currently working on, I expected a description of a dense, mossy mountainside hide-away garden. Instead, Buesing is working on a formal English garden. Since Buesing is such a versatile landscaper, I have no doubt that meticulously edged hedges, spiral topiary, and walled gardens are totally within his realm.

Buesing has shown me that dramatic installations can be a part of a woodland retreat. Off to get boxwood…

Photos: Juliet R. Harrison Photography


One thing I learned early in my writing career was to record my thoughts immediately after an event - anything that could be deemed post-worthy. This is especially true for emotional subjects. Once the moment is passed, it no longer tugs. So, last week I wrote this post after my friends, Brad and Cindy came to visit. Here's an excerpt:

"Here’s the scenario: As a young family you buy a home in a vibrant community, raise a few children and nurture enduring friendships. One by one, the children empty the nest. You find the once-perfect home and community no longer meets your needs. The empty rooms, the maintenance of keeping a large house and gardens, the increasingly far proximity to those fledglings that flew the nest, and a new sense of freedom that makes for a restlessness that builds until it gives way to a wanderlust that takes hold.

This happened to two of my favorite people. We raised our babies together, discussed our kid’s schooling, commiserated about teenage angst, had endless conversations about the interconnected lives of the members of our community, and then we watched our respective children (all five of them) fly away from the nest. friends flew the coop. They sold the family home, left their friends tearfully behind, and set off on a new adult-sized adventure. Eventually, they rerooted in a new community and a new home."

Have you or anyone in your life rerooted? CLICK HERE FOR MORE

Artwork: Bradley Clark

Beyond Earth Day: 4 Easy Home & Garden Ideas for Maximum Impact All Year

"What's the use of a fine house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?" ~ Henry David Thoreau Think about what physically constitutes a home - building materials, appliances, furniture, décor, cleaning products, paint, insulation...the list seems endless. The U.S. residential housing sector is second only to China in terms of inefficient energy use. This makes our homes a major player in the depletion of precious ecological reserves. But, there is a bright green light lurking in the shadows of what seems like an environmental nightmare...CLICK HERE FOR MORE