Gardens the world over provide stunning and beautiful places for people to escape into. Anyone who is a little stressed knows of the relaxation that a thriving garden or park can provide. Flowers strain towards the sun, aroma’s waft through the air, and leaves rustle gently in the wind. And whilst most people enjoy strolling through a green oasis in the day, the garden at night can be just as enthralling and magical, if not more so, than ever before.
With the suns fading light, we rely on our senses far more than ever. A garden can therefore be experienced in an entirely new way once darkness has fallen, bringing out sounds and smells that could have easily been missed during daylight. Meanwhile, whether glorious twilight, or pitch black darkness, the shroud of night creates exhilaration and excitement in most as, with sight not affording us the detail of daylight, smell, hearing, and touch are heightened.
There are a number of ways that gardeners, even with the smallest of patches, can charm and intrigue visitors after dusk. And by including a few of them in green spaces, you can ensure enjoyment of a garden by day and by night.
Whilst lighting is of course the obvious method for allowing garden use at night, there are correct ways to do it. Gardens should not be lit up with a huge floodlight, showering plants in brilliant glaring white in one place, and forming deep, dark shadows in others. This will have no affect in luring guests into the garden. In fact it may just have the opposite effect.
For the best results, use carefully placed single lights around a garden to highlight particular features. Spotlights curving around the bend of a disappearing path can draw visitors along, whilst favorite plants can be showcased from underneath by placing small, flat illuminations at their base. If a statue or water feature is incorporated in the garden design, lights can be used to add a glowing and fairy-like atmosphere. Even a string of fairy lights carefully dangled within a greenhouse will inspire guests to take a look in more detail.
Meanwhile, with so many light varieties on the market, gardeners can really let their imagination go wild. Solar powered lights allow for anyone to incorporate illuminations without the fear of electric cables. Meanwhile bulbs set into tiles and small rock like formations are ideal for paths and borders. Colored lighting will pull the eye from one area to another, and by being subtle and not over doing it, a beautiful and magical world can be created.
Creating sound is also a vital part of making a successful night garden. Whilst Mother Nature may provide a beautiful background of rustling leaves, chirping insects, and singing frogs, gardeners can add their own personality to the orchestra. Wind chimes are ideal for this, whether using large tubular pipes to create deep, resonating chimes, or small tinkling bells to create a gentle tingle. Placed in trees and hidden branches, gardeners can ensure an added dimension to the garden that visitors will try and seek out.
Meanwhile, the incorporation of a garden fountain is also a fantastic way to build sound. Whether a large pond, or tiny water feature, the gentle pattering of water will create a wonderful and relaxing setting. And with many solar powered fountains available, you don’t even have to worry about electricity cables and water. Simply put in the sun, charge up, and let the fountain take your garden to the next level.
Often forgotten by many, aromas and scents in the garden can play a huge role during the day, but add even more intensity at night. Flowers which may sit quietly and serenely as the sun beats down can suddenly burst into life once darkness falls. And with newly found aromas, gardeners can be quite stunned in a plants transformation.
For climbers which will fill the air will a heady scent, there is no better than jasmine which, whilst proving popular in daylight, will amaze as the sun sets. And with its white flowers reflecting the moon, it will quickly take on a magical quality. Meanwhile, the vibrant and twining stems of the aptly named moonflower will quickly scramble up trellises, and provide another abundant source of perfume. Elsewhere, night-scented stock can be placed in borders or pots to create capsules of perfume, whilst the tobacco plant also offer a wonderful perfume though the dark hours.
So for gardeners around the world, whilst enjoying your garden during the day, consider turning a rich, daylight oasis into a magical night retreat. And by using lights, sounds, and fragrances you can really let your imagination run wild and enthrall both yourself, and guests.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Geoff Wakeling is a London based writer and gardener who works within the media industry as a garden expert. Running a landscape design and maintenance business, he also holds a degree in Zoology, runs a gardening website, The Guide to Gay Gardening, and has articles listed on Ezine and eHow.