Moon Gardens in July: What's Blooming Now? – Board & Vellum – Landscape Architecture & Site Design

Landscape Architecture

What’s Blooming Now: Moon Gardens in July

By Hailey Mackay
July 26, 2018

Plants for moon gardens.

Summer in Seattle finally heats up in July, and this means summer flowers are everywhere! It’s hot! And hot days mean warm night and lots of blooming flowers. We were so overwhelmed by all the blooming beauties this month, we struggled to pick just a few to share! So, we decided to focus on some of our favorites whose showy white blossoms lend themselves to creating landscapes that can be enjoyed after dusk — in moon gardens.

White flowers have a range of uses in the garden: timeless and elegant, they provide a modern aesthetic, leaving visual space for colorful accents like furniture, hardscape or statement plants. White flowers also tend to be fragrant, providing a luscious olfactory experience in addition to their visual beauty. The combination of white petals glowing in the moonlight and rich fragrances carried by a summer breeze make the moon garden a truly sumptuous experience. Here are some of our favorite picks for plants that provide year-round interest and gorgeous flowers that glow in moonlit gardens.

Evergreen Magnolia

Evergreen Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) is native to the southern United States but thrives in our humid climate and hot summers. A stately tree, the species can grow to be 60’ tall and 30’ wide, with dwarf cultivars like “Little Gem” and “Teddy Bear” staying 20’ tall and 10’ wide or smaller.

Large, deep green leaves are thick and leathery with fuzzy bronze undersides. Flowers emerge from fuzzy bronze buds, opening into saucer-like flowers that punctuate the tree’s glossy canopy. Flowers begin to appear once the weather gets hot and usually bloom throughout summer. The heavy canopy and thick leaves make this a great shade tree if limbed up, with the bonus of fragrant flowers that are best enjoyed by sitting close to the tree.

We love this tree for its glossy evergreen leaves that remain attractive year-round, its glorious white flowers, and the compact habit of dwarf cultivars that are widely available in the Pacific Northwest. The species can be planted alone or in a grove as a striking accent in the landscape, and dwarf cultivars can be planted in a row for an effective evergreen screen. Plant in full sun and water deeply, especially during hot weather.

Moon Gardens in July: What's Blooming Now? – Board & Vellum – Landscape Architecture & Site Design

Shown Above: Evergreen Magnolia – Magnolia grandiflora

Fried Egg Flower

Fried Egg Flower. Yep, you read that right! Coulter’s Matilija Poppy is a California native perennial that so closely resembles a sunny-side up egg it earned the common name “Fried Egg Flower”. The flowers emerge from bristly pods, unfurling crinkled white petals that resemble rumpled silk and are offset by clustered golden stamen that form a dense “yolk” in the center of the flower.

Waxy, sage green foliage appears in spring, growing rapidly to reach its full height before it flowers in July. The foliage has a lacey texture and is attractive on its own, but dies back to the ground in winter. With full sun and sandy soil, this perennial can grow up to 6’ tall and is best used as a seasonal accent in large containers, or as a backdrop in coastal or bluff plantings or meadow gardens.

Although it prefers growing conditions like the sandy California slopes where is grows wild, Matilija Poppy can tolerate some heavier soils if grown in full sun and is drought tolerant once established. It spreads through underground rhizomes so it can be persistent and tends to grow like a weed in loose sandy soil if not contained or constrained by other plants. We love this flower for its striking presence in the landscape and the flower’s glowing appearance in both sunlight and moonlight.

Moon Gardens in July: What's Blooming Now? – Board & Vellum – Landscape Architecture & Site Design

Shown Above: Fried Egg Flower – Romneya coulteri

Star Jasmine

Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) is by far our favorite flowering vine for patios, fences, decks and of course, the moon garden. With glossy, evergreen leaves that turn red in autumn (but stay attractive year-round), and profusions of brilliant white flowers through summer, there are so many reasons to love this plant.

One of the most fragrant flowers in the summer garden, the tiny white whorls nestle among the leaves in clusters of five to six, covering the twining stems from June to September and exuding a rich, sweet scent. We love to use this vine as a climber on fences and trellises, along walkways and in containers on patios and decks where the fragrance can be fully enjoyed.

Relatively fast-growing, Star Jasmine can also provide a lush evergreen backdrop when trained on screens or trellises. While it generally prefers full to partial sun, it will tolerate some shade if it gets a few hours of full exposure. Plant anywhere with ample sunlight and water to enjoy its glossy foliage and intoxicating fragrance.

Moon Gardens in July: What's Blooming Now? – Board & Vellum – Landscape Architecture & Site Design

Shown Above: Star Jasmine – Trachelospermum jasminoides

What else is blooming?

This post is part of our ongoing “What’s Blooming” series. As we add more, we’ll update the list here, so you can continue learning about the lovely plants blooming (or otherwise looking great) in the Seattle area each month.


What’s Blooming Now: A Quick Guide for Spring Plants in Seattle Wondering what's blooming in Seattle in the spring? Maybe you’ve noticed some flowers on your walks around town and don’t know what they are? We are certainly big fans of when the flowers start peeking out in the spring. Here is a quick guide to some of our favorites that you will find in Seattle.


What’s Blooming Now: In Seattle, Dogwood Trees! Are you wondering: “What are those trees blooming in late spring, with large flowers in shades of pink or white?” They might be dogwoods, a powerhouse of landscape design that has a number of great cultivars and varieties. Here are a few of our favorite dogwood varieties, along with some details about their care and preferences.


What's Blooming Now: June in Seattle June in Seattle is also known as “Juneuary,” thanks to our famously rainy early summers. But there are still plenty of flowers to enjoy at this time of year, and you could argue they look even better glistening with raindrops. Read on to learn about the Japanese Snowbell, the Pacific Mock Orange, and Creeping Honeysuckle.


What’s Blooming Now, In August: Hydrangeas Hydrangeas may be well-known, but did you there are a variety of different types? From the aptly-named ‘Incrediball’ to even a climbing version (really!) — here a the details on a few of our favorites, recommendations on where to plant them, and how to make sure they get what the need to be a champ bloomer.

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