Sunday, December 21, 2008

White in the Garden

Designing with white in the garden can be rewarding and challenging. In the sunny border, white compliments other brightly colored flowers. In the shade garden, it can brighten a dark corner. However white can be a little tricky to work with too.

I have quite a few shade gardens featuring my hosta collection. The white and green variegated hosta make a nice focal point when placed in a sea of green foliage.

Hosta Night Before Christmas and miniature Hosta Pandora’s Box both feature blue-green leaves with bright white centers and are two of my favorites.
I use white sparingly in the shade because it shouts for attention and can be distracting when viewing hosta leaves with more subtle variegation.

I have a small white flowering bush, Deutzia gracilis ‘Nikko’ placed in my walkway garden. When this bush is in bloom, it is all I see.

In my sunny perennial border, I use white freely and repeat it regularly to compliment large drifts of colored flowers in bloom.
This white gas plant (Dictamnus) is an early bloomer and looks beautiful with these iris and poppies.

I especially enjoy white flowers around dusk. They are like little beacons of light helping to extend my garden viewing time; and are a welcome treat after a long day at work. One of my favorites is the Oriental Lily ‘Casa Blanca’.

This beautiful snow white lily blooms profusely and offers a strong, musky scent. Here’s a large stand of these lilies and a single gorgeous flower. This Lily is long blooming and does not attract too many lily beetles.
There are many great whites that grow in the sun. Some of my favorite white flowering plants include daffodil, Peony, Iris, Daylily, Campanula and Garlic Chive. These varieties keep the white going all season long.


  1. Beautiful hostas! Perhaps you can offer advice for the wimpy hostas around the yard. I have a couple that are solid green, huge and simply gorgeous. I have a bunch of variegated hostas that are kinda small and frequently spindly-looking. Is it the type of hosta that makes the difference or is there something I could be doing to make them bigger and better?

  2. Hi Chris. Thanks for the feedback on the hosta - one of my favorite plants. Sometimes a particular variety of hosta can be a poor performer...however more often than not it is the placement of the plant in your garden. For example, if your variegated hosta are in deep shade, they may simply want more sun. Or, if your hosta are growing under maple trees or trees with a lot of surface roots, the tree's roots may be choking off the hosta's roots. Just a few thoughts...


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