Designing your garden in white
|Nothing is lovelier than a warm moonlit night in the garden. Illuminated by the glows of reflected light and scented with the elusive perfumes of a hundred flowers. So why not create a bit of this heaven for yourself next summer?
You don’t have to have a large plot of land to enjoy your own piece of paradise, either. A white garden can be anywhere to want your plants to live, such as a balcony 12 stories above the city or on a small back deck or patio. All it takes is a bit of planning.
In small spaces, remember that not all the plants have to occupy the floor or the ground. Don’t overlook the vertical and overhead spaces.
A lovely vine for a moonlight garden is the annual Ipomoea alba, or white moonflower. It’s a member of the morning glory family, but its six-inch, milk-white blossoms exude a sweet fragrance and open at dusk instead of sunrise. Pair it up with a pot of white petunias that will scent your potted patio with their own lovely fragrance all through the day. An alternative vine could be white sweet peas, which can be planted from seed directly into your planter early in spring.
And what would any garden be without a pot of white pansies (which also have a heavenly scent up close), white snapdragons and, hanging overhead like a cascade of snowflakes, white bacopa?
If you have a some shade, then luminescent white impatiens and white begonias planted with silvery trailing licorice plants or variegated ivy and vanilla-scented white heliotrope will create a romantic atmosphere. White lisianthus is a breath-taker in a pot.
A wonderful white annual is nierembergia, a fabulous ferny-foliaged plant whose small, one-inch white flowers have a reflective silvery sheen even in daylight. There’s a white scaevola with fan-shaped flower and Gypsophila elegans, the airy little annual baby’s breath, looks like clouds of mist. White evening scented stock and nicotiana can be paired with silvery licorice plant, santolina or Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’, with its lovely trailing silver foliage.
Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’ starts out small but will almost fill a pot with its airy blooms by autumn.
Of course, everything goes into white planters and the morning glory is climbing a white trellis. For an even more romantic effect, drape some sheer white curtains around a cushioned lounge.
In the perennial garden, the choices are even wider. Think first of the backdrop and plant a clump of white birch or create a background of silvery-leafed wolf willow. They will grow between six and 15 feet tall, producing silver berries for the children to string into necklaces.
You might like to plant a white lilac and some tall white trumpet lilies next. Be sure to fill in the sunny spots with white peonies and roses to add bones, while in the shadowy corner you can plant a lovely Annabelle hydrangea or a dwarf bridal wreath spirea or even a variegated cream-and-green-leafed dwarf dogwood.
Mounds of artemisia (A. schmidtiana, ‘Silver Mound’, and A. stelleriana, ‘Silver Brocade’) and Salvia argentea, with its molten silver leaves; and soft lamb’s ear will set the stage with texture.
Spring flowering white bleeding heart, lily-of-the valley and gas plant (Dictamnus alba) for the early part of spring. They will be followed by snowy waves of white phlox and silvery-leafed white poppies, against blankets of Cerastium tomentosum, (snow-in-summer). Another can be the showy and lovely, Euphorbia marginata (snow-on-the-mountain, an annual that also does well in pots).
Put in lots of spotted Pulmonaria (lungwort) creeping lamium, white-margined hosta (did you know that there is an all white leafed variety called ‘White Feathers’?), white chrysanthemums and other white daisy-like flowers as well as the delicate Lychnis coronaria with its silver-white stems and leaves.
Don’t forget the climbers – there are many choices of large flowered white clematis. Be adventurous and try the kiwi vine with its lovely variegated white, green and pink leaves.