After a long winter of snow, even in parts of the county unaccustomed to it, it may be hard to savor the idea of creating “white gardens” or even using white flowers this summer. There are some nice advantages to using white in the garden though, and so here are few ideas and suggestions.
One of the nice thing about white is that it goes with everything, and actually enhances the colors of the plants surrounding it.
White is also a very calming color – either on its own or when paired with soft pastel yellows, peaches and pinks blossoms We’ve seen some all-white gardens that serve as small retreat gardens that provide a sense of coolness and calm the soul.
White gardens also stand out at night and as a bonus, many white flowers are particularly fragrant in the evening. For example, Moonflowers – fragrant night-blooming species of morning glories – are a lovely addition to any White garden, as are some of the old fashioned white varieties of Nicontiana (Flowering Tobacco) which are also incredibly fragrant at night.
Simple ways to use white in the garden
1) Used as a border white plants can make a small yard look larger, or a walkway wider.
2) Looking for a way to make a particular plant really stand out? Plant a white-flowered plant nearby and watch the colors pop!
3) Mixing white flowers with similarly colored foliage such as the soft grey/blue of plants like Lambs Ears or Artemesia is another way to create a soothing environment.
4) White-flowered plants pair well with evergreens too. Rather than detracting from the various textures of evergreens, simple white blossoms seem to enhance the textures, adding interest to the garden with minimal effort or expense.
5) White can also be used to break up what otherwise may be clashing colors, allowing all of the colors to stand out on their own.
6) Swaths of white-flowered or white/silver-foliaged plants carries the eye through the garden, inviting you to look beyond the first few feet.
7) Create a simple container filled with a mix of white-flowering and silver/white foliage plants for a quick and easy White Garden.
Easy care container plants include Bacopa, Dusty Miller ‘Silversdust’, Petunias, Verbena, Impatiens, dicontra ‘Silver Bells’, Snapdragons, Begonias, Angelonia and Alyssum.
As an added bonus, adding white to your garden doesn’t have to be an expensive undertaking. Easy-to-grow annuals like Sweet Alyssum, Dusty Miller, Stock, Cleome, Nicotiana and Petunias and can be grown from seed or picked up as inexpensive 6-packs. White Geraniums are also rumored to help control Japanese beetle infestations.
Perennials garden plants like Volcano Phlox, Baby’s Breath, Daisies, Astilbe, Delphinium, Dicentra (Bleeding Hearts) and Echinacea are all available in white, are easy to grow in most climates and come to size quickly. Choose early, mid and late bloomers for a summer-long impact. And don’t forget old-fashioned favorites like white tulips, white roses and clematis.
For more ideas on creating a white garden, see Marie Iannotti’s article on Using White and Silver Flowers and Foliage to Light Up a Shady Nook.