Planning a Moonlight Garden. And Healing.

sun rising through the trees.

So it’s a little past 6am and I’m rattling about the cottage as the sun rises. There’s a blaze of orange hitting my eyes as the sunlight pours through a window. Like the threshold seasons, the cusps of the day and night are my favourite hours. As the light bleeds first into, and then later, seeps out of the day. These are the hours in which I fall even more deeply in love with this place. The times when I feel claimed by land and sky.

I’ve been awake since 4am, with a seasonal insomnia that has me filled with ideas, and too restless to lie and dream with them. I know in high Summer I shall no doubt be paying back the debt of my Spring sleeplessness with a case of the Mean Reds. But I allow myself a gentler pace in Summer. Knowing that it’s my fallow season. A season for books, and rest, and cool wine. A season to mend any tears in my equilibrium.

This morning, I’ve lit a candle and brewed a strong brew. I’ve gathered around me my Sweet Dears (canine and feline), and my lists and plans for a moonlight garden. In fact, this little idea is beginning to take the form of an offering of love and devotion to a space that has felt more than a little neglected.

Often people are surprised, that I, who am about as un-earthy as they come, has such a passion for working with the earth. In my life, earth is the element of Absence. In so many ways. We often seek out that which we lack, don’t we?

There are a few True Things to me, in this life. But one of these is this – that to heal a deficit of nurturing in your life, (whether that be a lack of nurturing in childhood or in any other respect), one of the best ways of doing this is to offer nurturance. To transform the pain – the Mother Wound – that arises from an experience where we have not received adequate nurturing and care, (in all its forms), actively nurturing others – people, creatures, gardens, art – is one way to heal that deficit in the self.

This doesn’t mean neglecting the self or being a martyr, but I do believe that rather than focusing upon the lack or absence, it’s healing to experience the energy of nurturing by doing, giving, offering. There’s so much more I could talk about in terms of this Mother Wound – specifically a lack of nurturance, and its healing.

This little spot – that lies beneath a rhododendron and a brugmansia. Ravaged by Chook Ladies, and in need of a little light landscaping, (some levelling out, and a little river dry stone retaining wall should help).

To take a broken thing, and weave together the ragged edges. Mending, healing. Transformation. Alchemy.

To pour your love and creative energy into something – into the land – is not simply to plug a gap. It transforms everything. It opens us to mystery, and dream, and magic.

A garden is life, and love, and a whole world of emotion and experience. It’s a life-support system that aligns us with a translucent living and flowing wisdom. One that can have the power to bring us to our truest, softest home. Any deep creative work might do this, hey?

That all sounds frightfully evangelical! I’ve always declared that I’m not in the least bit religious, but I think perhaps gardening is my religion ; )

The first year here, I just sat with the land and waited for it to show me its secrets. I felt that when it was ready, when it had gained the measure of me, nature might share its knowings with me. In good time.

This second year in, I’ve been moving closer, and engaging with specific areas and zones in my garden to see what they need, and what they desire to be. After not knowing what to do with this particular area, (facing north-east), it occurred to me that a moonlight garden would be a fitting use of what could potentially be a delightful spot.

Seen from the other side. There’s already a leptospermum growing there that provides an abundance of flowers in Spring for the bees. And the flowers are quite enchanting by the light of the moon.

Most of the plants I wish to grow I shall attempt to grow from seed, because my garden budget is relatively small, and I’m in no hurry. I want a mixture of things that will provide year-round interest. Also, whilst I’ll be planting mostly white flowering things, (preferably scented) amidst lots of grey foliage, I do like to throw the rule book out the window to break up the monotony. There will be small splashes of yellow, purple, and blue amidst it all. Because otherwise it’s all a bit literal, hey?

Plants for a Moonlight Garden

white foxgloves, lily of the valley, shasta daisies, white flowering bulbs, white lilac, Chinese star jasmine, white wisteria (I may be getting carried away here), snow in summer, lamb’s ear, artemisia(s), russian sage, sedum, white iris, moon flowers (in a pot, near the steps), white catmint, lavender, evening primrose, white rose, white impatiens.

my moonlight garden plan. Please excuse the lack of artistic skill. You get the idea, hopefully.

I’ll build a round (no-dig) garden with a river rock border. And I’ll probably use a crushed lime gravel in the space. Hopefully I can find an old seat from somewhere, and I’ll hand crystals, a few lanterns and wind-chimes from the trees. I won’t be putting twinkly lights in anywhere here, because I want the light to be primarily moonlight. With as little light pollution as possible.

So there’s the plan, my friends. I suspect my progress on this will be very slow and steady, because there are already many other priorities that are vying for my attention.

But it’s good to always keep a diamond in your mind, hey?

Warm wishes to you. xxx




6 thoughts on “Planning a Moonlight Garden. And Healing.

  1. love, love, love the garden plan! it will be so beautiful as it comes together. you can have jasmine—oh, i wanted that in my moon garden. sadly, not hardy here. i did have nicotiana, which is often very fragrant, but it’s a quite different scent of course. you may be able to grow lilies, which we cannot, and the white lilies are so beautifully scented and at their strongest in the late evening. richness…

    it is truly very healing to put one’s hands into the earth and be immersed in all her smells, textures, sounds, and sensory variables of all kinds. i’ve always been partial to holding stones and the green mossy smell of damp earth.

    and i think you are so right that nurturing other life can heal a lack of nurturing in oneself. as you observed, it is the same energy; whether you receive it or give it, you’re still in contact with it…not a few of us had mothers who were at best disinterested in mothering, or worse, discouraged by it, or worst of all absent or abusive. we can’t go back in time and fix that, but we can fill our souls with tenderness by nurturing a garden, our own children, animals, others in need. and a garden especially allows us to participate in the flow of life, in eternity.

    it may sound mad, but i sometimes think of mending our soul wounds as like mending holes in woolens…we feel about the edges of the hole, finding what is broken and where the little loops still are, and we find a matching thread, and ever-so-carefully re-join the loops and weave across the broken places, until the fabric is whole again. sure, you can see the mended bit if you look for it or feel for it, but it is a whole thing, nonetheless. that may be the key to healing: making or mending, growing or tending…what we pour out, fills us. hole-y, wholly, holy…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had nicotiana on my list and then crossed it off. Perhaps in a moment of madness ; ) I’ve grown it a lot in the past, and maybe I was thinking I wouldn’t have room in this plan. But nicotiana really does belong in a moon garden, hey?

      And yes to all you say about nurturing – other souls and gardens. Gardens have been great teachers to me. And a way of connecting with the Mother.

      Also, I don’t think your analogy of soul-mending, with mending woollens is mad at all. In fact, not only as a concept, but as a ritual, the act of mending can be powerful. It can remind me, personally, that all is not lost, or broken. That the soul, the heart, an old tattered thing, can be salvaged and made whole again. As you say, “hol-y, wholly, holy…”. xx


  2. Night-scented stock, nicotiana and nepeta (while purple not white it nevertheless attracted swarms of silver y moths here this spring plus the bees feast on it all day long so it more than deserves a place in a garden). Your plans sounds just the job :o).


    1. ah! Thanks for those suggestions CT – I had entirely forgotten about night-scented stock! And whilst I’ll be planting catmint, the catnip plant has wonderful flowers, so that’s a good idea too! Thanks : ) xx


  3. That sounds (and looks) fabulous! I have a very small space that I’m trying to transform. I love the reminder here of healing. It makes what I’m doing in my little garden that much more precious and important to me.

    ps…thanks for the link to Bealtaine Cottage in your last (?) post. I love it!! 🙂


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