WTF Fun Fact 13373 – Moon Garden

Sometimes it takes shedding a little moonlight on your garden to give it a magical quality. To fully appreciate the ethereal allure of the night, garden enthusiasts have embraced the concept of the moon garden.

These specially designed spaces are adorned with a selection of plants that come alive in the moon’s gentle glow, offering a captivating sensory experience after dusk.

Why build a moon garden?

The idea behind moon gardens is to create a place outdoors that naturally shines under the soft light of the moon. Sure, sunlight showcases vibrant colors, but moonlight can reveal delicate hues, silhouettes, and textures that go unnoticed during the day.

Moon gardens capitalize on subtleties, creating a serene and contemplative atmosphere for those seeking a different kind of garden experience.

When planning a moon garden, it’s essential to consider plants that thrive in low light conditions and reflect the moon’s glow. White or pale-colored flowers, for instance, take center stage in these nocturnal spaces.

What to plant in your nighttime landscaping

There are plenty of plants to choose from for a night garden. Blossoms such as white roses, moonflowers, evening primroses, and jasmine emit a sweet fragrance to enhance your sensory journey.

The foliage in moon gardens is equally important, as it provides contrasting textures and shapes. Plants with silver or gray leaves, like lamb’s ear or dusty miller, stand out under the moonlight. Other options include plants with variegated foliage, which adds visual interest even when the moon is hidden behind clouds.

To enhance the atmosphere, moon garden enthusiasts often incorporate plants with night-blooming flowers. One such example is the night-blooming cereus, a cactus species that displays stunning white flowers only after the sun sets. Another favorite is the angel’s trumpet, a fragrant flower that releases a sweet scent in the evening hours.

Adding more senses

Besides the visual and olfactory delights, moon gardens also embrace the symphony of sounds that come alive at night. The gentle chirping of crickets, the occasional hoot of an owl, or the rustling of leaves can all contribute to the ambiance. So, including elements like a small water feature or wind chimes can amplify the auditory experience, creating a soothing and meditative environment.

Moon gardens are not limited to plants alone. The hardscape elements play a crucial role in enhancing the overall atmosphere. A white or pale-colored pathway, for instance, provides a radiant contrast against the dark soil, guiding visitors through the garden. Stone or marble sculptures, strategically placed under moonlight, evoke a sense of mystery and invite contemplation. Another popular feature is the inclusion of reflective surfaces, such as mirrors or metallic accents.

These elements capture and amplify the moonlight, adding a touch of shimmer to the garden. Illumination through softly lit lanterns, solar-powered lights, or strategically positioned candles can enhance the dreamlike quality of the moon garden.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “Night Blooming Plants for Moon Gardens: White Flowers That Shine in the Moonlight” — The Spruce

WTF Fun Fact 12689 – The World’s First Gardens

While the practice of growing plants and flowers for aesthetic pleasure hasn’t been a characteristic of all times and places, gardening goes back thousands of years. There is evidence of Egyptian palace gardens in the second millennium BCE! And they were so large it was said that oarsmen could row their boats through their water features.

Of course, agriculture existed long before that, but gardening (or ornamental horticulture), was designed purely for pleasure (not for medicinal purposes alone) once people settled down.

While some trace the oldest gardens to China, those acted more as hunting lands. Other ancient references to “gardens” (such as in the Epic of Gilgamesh) were likely patches of trees and not purely ornamental agriculture.

In the 6th century BCE, gardening was in full bloom. The Babylonians had the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, which the Hellenistic Greeks referred to as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

There were gardens at the schools of ancient Greece (Aristotle kept one) and all over Rome. In fact, the Romans were obsessed with gardening. The architectural author Vitruvius wrote the first book on landscaping.

After the decline of Rome, the Moors kept the tradition alive in the West (along with much of Western intellectual tradition) while a separate culture of gardening developed in China and spread to Japan. Monks also copied Roman gardening manuscripts and kept gardens of their own, penning some original gardening manuals as well.

Purely ornamental gardening fell out of fashion (or, well, people didn’t quite have time for it) in the middle ages. But it was revived again in France in the 13th century to some extent and boomed again in the Renaissance period.

In the 16th century, the Spanish were the first to build public parks. – WTF fun facts

Source: “Where was the world’s first garden made?” — Garden Visit

WTF Fun Fact 12669 – The World’s Oldest Rose Bush

The world’s oldest rose bush is a bit more untamed than what we’re used to seeing – but it’s earned the right to grow as it pleases. After all, it survived being bombed during WWII.

The Rose of Hildesheim, aka the Thousand-Year Rose, is believed to be the oldest living rose specimen on the planet (though, of course, we can’t know for sure if some other rose bush lurks out there hidden away from human eyes).

You can find it growing up the column Hildesheim Cathedral, in Germany, where it has been since the early 800s when it was planted. The 9th-century plant still blooms each year, around May. Its flowers are a delicate pink.

According to Atlas Obscura, it’s survival has been beyond unlikely:

“While the rose bush looks as though it’s big enough to have been growing for a thousand years, the plant has been nearly destroyed a number of times throughout its history. Most notably the bush was nearly completely razed during the Second World War when Allied bombs annihilated the cathedral. Every bit of the plant above ground was destroyed, but from the rubble, new branches grew from the root that survived.

Today the base of the Thousand-Year Rose is protected by a squat iron fence and each of the central roots is named and catalogued to protect one of the oldest pieces of natural beauty one is lucky to find.” –  WTF fun fact

Source: “The Thousand-Year Rose” — Atlas Obscura

WTF Fact 12430 – The Truth About Sunflowers

Don’t you just love sunflower season? Ok, it might be a bit too hot for some of us, but these big, happy flowers are a fun way to bring some sunshine to your yard or home.

If you’ve seen the sunflower a lot these days, it’s because it’s also the national flower of Ukraine. Girls would weave smaller varieties into flower crowns, and they’re commonly found on traditional embroidery. But the sunflower originated on the North American continent, in what is not the Western United States. In fact, it’s the only flower used for seed that originated in the US.

It wasn’t until the 1550s that Spanish conquerors brought the sunflower to Europe. Sunflowers have many practical uses since they can be pressed for sunflower oil, and the seeds are edible. Ironically, it wasn’t until the flowers reached Russia that they were seen as beautiful for display.

But the more fascinating thing about the sunflower might just be that – biologically speaking – what we consider to be one flower is actually thousands of tiny flowers. Those little brown things we think of as…well, what do we call those?… Anyway, those are individual flowers! And so are the petals.

That means a sunflower contains thousands (usually between 1000 and 2000) of individual flowers all held together by that impressive receptible base. The brown flowers develop into seeds, while the yellow petals (or “ray flowers”) simply wither.

Another cool fact about sunflowers is that they are heliotropic, which means the flowering head (which we guess is technically the correct phrase for what we refer to as a flower) turns with the sun for maximum exposure.

So if you set a vase of sunflowers on a table near a window and notice them all “looking” outside during the day, don’t assume someone turned the vase! The flower did that all on its own. – WTF fun facts 

Source: “Sunflower: An American Native” — University of Missouri, Department of Agronomy