27 July 2008

The White Garden...sort of!

Just about the time I was beginning to think we were trapped in Brigadoon, we emerged from the fog today into hot sunlight and to a wild yard and garden. I was afraid my longsuffering spouse would have to mow and bale the lawn for hay for the horse and donkeyfrommars, but he managed to get through it all--it had been three weeks since he'd been able to mow, and all that moisture...well, let's just say I have a nice supply of mulch for the garden now. When it gets raked up, of course.

While I was doing some badly needed weeding, deadheading and even planting, I was struck by how lovely the white-flowered plants look in brilliant sunlight. The asiatic lilies shine like stars. The hydrangeas look like puffy clouds or snowflakes. (Ooops, shouldn't say that yet!) White can be a cool, soothing colour. While I don't have a white bed or border a la Vita Sackville-West and Sissinghurst, I like to use white throughout the garden. At dusk, it glows with a light of its own. Of course, in fog it tends to disappear, or flowers turn to soggy tissues (especially some roses) but that's just one of the vagaries of gardening.

Take a stroll with me around our yard. Make sure you don't mind cut grass getting in your sandals, though. Here's an 'Annabelle'-type of hydrangea; not as big flower heads as that cultivar or of the mopheads, but it flowers very well. I have two of these, and the other one I cut way back this year as it's spreading and has delusions of grandeur, so it has few flowers. This one, however, looks wonderful.

I like astrantia so much, that even though we used it in the previous post on pink, we can pull it into this discussion of white flowers, too. And when I do the next post (on black in the garden)...I have a deep wine coloured one to use there too!

This is just a white annual poppy, one of the Shirleys that selfseeds around here. But the morning dew obviously caught pollen from the plant's stamens and made this fascinating pattern on the petals.

Yuccas are just such terrific architectural plants, aren't they? Surprisingly, they do fine for me here, though they take a while to flower. I planted several given to me a few years ago by a woman from Shelburne in the lower garden where the drainage is good, and they've been very cooperative for me.

A beloved viburnum, the doublefile 'Maresii'...some call this Summer Snowflake, and it's truly a handsome, graceful plant. Ours is still quite small, but that's not stopping it from flowering like crazy this year. It sometimes throws a few flowers later in the season too.

A gold-foliaged elder, but not Sutherland's Gold, which spitefully died after living here for a year. This sambucus, however, has done very well; it's not a huge plant, but I also keep it quite trimmed so as to enjoy its gold colour and keep it in bounds, too.

A white rose campion splashes its flowers all over its gangly branches, which are an attractive silver colour. The daylily in the centre of the conversation is currently unnamed (I can't find the label, and need to go visit Wayne and Wayne to find out what it is again, and has lovely large flowers, if a somewhat odd colour. But I like it!

This perennial mullein is one I bought from a now-defunct nursery out in British Columbia about 8 years ago. It self seeds a bit so I never know where it will pop up, and it's not the most handsome of flowers. But again, it's a terrific bee and hummingbird magnet and does well with no interference from me, so I just let it pop up where it will.

This is Hydrangea paniculata 'QuickFire', one of the Proven Winners Colorchoice shrubs that I'm trialing from last year. The literature said that it blooms earlier than most of the PG type hydrangeas. The literature is correct, because here it is, starting to flower nicely already, whereas Limelight is only starting to think about forming flower heads. I planted this shrub last summer and it settled in brilliantly. I'm hoping that the others planted here will do as well. Hydrangeas tend to do well for me probably because I know what will work here--lacecaps, paniculata, arborescens and even the climbing one, though mine is overwhelmed by our giant clematis. Mopheads, not so much.

This is a dandy shasta daisy called 'Ice Star'. Now there's another one out called Goldrush that is also doubled, but with golden centre rather than the snowy white seen here. I have THAT one too...shastas are delightful plants and great butterfly magnets.
Which reminds me...we saw the first monarch butterfly of the season up here today. They've been reported elsewhere around the province, of course, but I suspect they got lost in the fog trying to find us earlier than this.


  1. Jodi, your whites are all lovely. I am not so fond of the mop head hydrangeas and find your 'Annabelle' type, very attractive. The white poppy is wonderful- I wish I could get different kinds to grow here (sigh). And the double shasta daisy is going on my list for next year! So glad the fog lifted for you, I would have found that depressing. Hope you are doing okay and have had no more flare-ups.

  2. I once had an all white garden--it got lots of complements. But then the color bug bit--and now it's anything goes.

    It's good to visit your garden and see the many whites you planted. I love the Quick Fire hydrangea and don't have that one--I must fix that. Now that poppy is interesting with it's pattern formed by pollen. At first, I thought it had a bunch of holes in it--or does it? Glad you are out of the doom and gloom.

  3. Hi Jodi,

    I don't think that daylily is Aztec Gold (but I am willing to be corected). I did a quick search and found it to be much different. I also sell Aztec Gold here at the nursery and it is a very early bloomer (mid to late June). If anyone wants to correct me on this, I am willing to be corrected. I hate having mis labled plants.

    woodlands and meadows

  4. Your whites are all so lovely Jodi.
    I love white in the garden and don't have near enough of it. I specially like the way it glows in the dusky light. You have lots of inspiration for white choices. I didn't mind a little grass on my sandals either.

  5. Lovely whites, Jody. I'm going to have to try some lacecap hydrangeas; yours looks so delicate. I've seen only one monarch flying about here; I've been wondering where they were. Glad the fog has lifted there.

  6. Thank you for the lovely stroll. I enjoyed the pollen pattern on the poppy especially.

  7. Your white garden is inspiring. What I particularly love about white gardens is the way they look in moonlight, all magical and tranquil. I feel 10 degrees cooler just visiting your garden! (it was 105 here in TX yesterday, so I crave coolness). Your photography is beautiful.

  8. I love white in the garden as well and find myself drawn more and more to the white flowering plants.

    I nearly bought 'Quickfire' earlier this year and now wish I had! That is just gorgeous!

    Your 'Ice Star' looks very much like my 'Aglaia'.

  9. You white garden was so very soothing to "stroll" through on this hot summer day. Thank you!

    Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

  10. Ice Star is lovely. I think I'll add it to my garden next year. I have shasta daisies already, but these are too adorable to pass up! And can you ever have too many daisies?

  11. As you know I have a white garden and love it to bits. White is a good colour to have in the garden especially when the light is fading and it looks like the white flowers are glowing. A magic moment in time that.

  12. Just dropping in from my garden in Toronto, Canada. I'm collecting Day Lilies in my cottage garden which is in Muskoka. Would love to get a white flowered day lily. Bought a plant last week, but it opened pale yellow!

  13. Lovely post, Jodi. Besides green, white is my favorite garden color. A lovely companion, it seems to make its neighbor's shine ...

  14. I love the white and all of yours look so pristine! I am glad you have a bit of sunshine on your garden although there is comfort in fog as long as it doesn't last three weeks that is!

  15. Jodi, your white garden is lovely. :) White is so tranquil and goes with everything from pastels to brights. I hope you didn't get pummelled by the rain yesterday, although Mom said they had NONE on the Walton side of the Basin. Windsor got quite a blast.

  16. I'm glad you're finally out of the fog! Of course I loved your "pink" post, but I like your whites too, even though I'm trying hard not to have any more white flowers in the garden. Most of them look so ratty as they fade, but not the Astrantia. Aren't they the best? Mine are having a spectacular year with all the rain & cooler than normal temperatures. White Hydrangea flowers are Ok too, as they age to green or pink before fading to brown.

  17. All your white looks great! I have to say I like the astrantia and the viburnum the most, but it all looks good. You can send more of that rain down south!

  18. Great white garden, Jodi. I recently lost my beloved Mariesii Viburnum that was over 20 years old .

    I am so fond of my 'Limelight' Hydrangea which is slower than others to bloom, but what a show it puts on for several months.

  19. What an amazing variety of white plants you have in your garden. We have the hydrangea petiolaris growing up part of the front wall of the house :)

  20. Gorgeous post. To me white gardens belong to the Goddess! My sister planted a night blooming garden once in white. It was like a dream under the full moon.

  21. Isn't it weird - here we are in sweltering heat and blinding sunshine, and the idea of a few foggy days seems like paradise ...

    Oh well, just looking at your white garden cooled me down a bit. Gorgeous.


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