Our awareness and understanding around the benefits of gardening, and spending time in the garden, is growing all the time. As we learn about practises such as Japanese forest-bathing and the balancing Swedish philosophy of life balance, Lagom, it’s clear that by connecting with nature, on a regular basis, we experience a positive impact on our mental health and well-being.
According to an article published by Mind, bringing nature into everyday life can: help reduce feelings of stress and anger, improve confidence and self-esteem, and help with relaxation. However, demanding days and time restraints mean it may be much later in the evening when we are finally able to spend the time needed to fully experience its benefits.
A Moon Garden is the conscious designing of an outdoor space to be appreciated equally at night, by moonlight, as in traditional afternoon sun. Using a Moon Garden to enjoy quiet, peaceful moments in nature after dark reduces post-work stress, promotes better sleep, helps relaxation after a busy day, all factors in supporting good general health.
We spoke with Psychologist and TV Broadcaster Honey Langcaster-James about the potential health and wellbeing benefits of using a Moon Garden. Honey told us:“Both personally and professionally, I love the idea of a Moon Garden - creating an area in your garden that’s been designed with evening enjoyment in mind. Aside from the fact that it could be a perfect way to inject a little romance into your relationship with your partner while at home, it could also be an ideal place to take some personal time out, to unwind, be more mindful, and to give yourself some much-needed peace and quiet after a busy day. Spending some time in your Moon Garden could become part of your evening routine, and the relaxation associated with your added time in nature, could really help to ready yourself for a more deep and restful sleep.
Our homes have become increasingly multi-functional and nowadays they need to be truly multi-purpose spaces, so much of our lives take place there. We use the inside of our homes for work and productivity, rest and relaxation, eating our meals, spending time with loved ones and meeting our obligations to our families and carrying out all sorts of other activities and commitments. Our gardens, however, tend to be less demanding spaces. They are places which are usually devoted to rest, relaxation, pleasure, health and well-being, and are only very rarely associated in our brains with work tasks or other demands upon us. This means that spending more time in our gardens, if we are lucky enough to have one, makes sense for our overall well-being and can help us better delineate our productive and more restful down times, ultimately helping us with a better work life balance.”
To make a Moon Garden of your own, the essence is invoking each of the senses for an immersive moonlit experience.
Touch of Comfort
The foundation of a Moon Garden is a place to sit and soak it all in. To be able to fully relax and lose yourself in your senses, seating needs to be supportive and allow you to sink deep into the cushions. Nothing that digs in your back or requires you to keep moving or shuffling around, as this will deter you from sitting peacefully and quietly.
A cocoon chair, as its name suggest, feels very contained and will swing gently back and forth as you take in the scents and sounds floating through the night-time air. For a more shared sensory experience, gather your friends and family around a large sofa set, where a firepit will add ambience and atmosphere, as well as keeping you warm. Then simply add scatter cushions and throws to add texture and softness, for extra cosiness.
Surround with Scents
Creating a planting area around your seating is the perfect way of harnessing the natural fragrances of your chosen plants, foliage and herbs. Along with traditional Rosemary, Thyme and Lavender, there are plants that begin releasing their fragrance when dusk falls. White Jasmine, Night Phlox and Honeysuckle provide beautiful scent and are each planted in different ways, from pots to pergolas, to surround your space in natural perfume. For decorating coffee tables and tabletops, vases of eucalyptus or pots of sage and basil add lovely leafy texture and earthy, fresh scent.
Sights to be Seen
Remove harsh bulbs and bright lights in favour of creating a softer, more subtle, glow. Parasols with gentle LED lighting and lanterns add ambience. Scented candles like Bay and Rosemary or White Jasmine from St Eval bring atmospheric candlelight, whilst adding layers of fragrance to complement your chosen plants and herbs.
Sounds of Solace
Take a Taste
Whether your preferred nightcap is a herbal tea, fruity mocktail or spicy ginger beer with a dash of whiskey, a drink with ingredients from nature, perhaps with fruit, herbs or edible flowers picked from your own garden, adds further connection to your outdoor surroundings.
Making your garden a Moon Garden is a great way to introduce more time to connect with nature on a regular basis, and reap all the benefits. For more Moon Garden inspiration, take a peek at our Instagram Feed or check out our Moon Garden pins on Pinterest. For a chance to be featured on our feed with your own Moon Garden ideas, simply post your images using #bramblecrestmoongarden