Friday, March 11, 2011

Color Essay Number 9: Crisp, beautiful garden whites



There happens to be lots of the color white in my garden right now, not the pretty floral kind of white mind you, but rather the wintery snow covered kind instead. 


Though it is still too cold to garden, white spring flowers start early for me- by way of indoors pots of creamy white hyacinths.



When the weather finally warms, the magnolia in the front garden opens the show. Ground covers are also among the first flowers brave enough to make an appearance in the early days of a Canadian spring. Of these, my white double arabis (arabis caucasica 'Flore Plena') are probably my most favorite (not shown). The single arabis may be easier to find, but this double form is worth hunting down. With blooms that resemble popcorn, double arabis makes a beautiful understory for spring bulbs.

Another early bloomer is the white bleeding heart shown above. 


In the 'least loved white spring flower' category I would have to nominate lily of the valley. While the flowers are dainty and their fragrance lovely, lily of the valley's creeping roots are relentless. Additionally, their spear shaped leaves are prone to rust (in my garden anyway) and I find by late summer, they are a bedraggled mess. If you don't have a place in your garden where you can control their spread, I recommend that you don't grow them.

I am in danger of getting too wordy here and so I will now move right along to the pictures, as they are plentiful. I can tell you, it was really hard to choose just a few! So, without any further delay, here are some of what I think are the best white flowers from this past summer, both in my garden and elsewhere as noted:

'Songbird' Columbine from Humber Nursery is a nice change from more common varieties of columbine.

Gas Plant (Dictamnus albus)

Gas plants are slow to mature (I suggest you buy a bigger plant, if you can afford it). Mine took several years before putting on a good display, but I have to say that it has been worth the wait. ( I was so impressed with it that I added a new pink variety to the garden last summer).

As common as could be, I still love my humble Spirea

 My Pee Gee Hydrangea- it seems I never tire of photographing it. It was hard to choose a favorite shot!

A birdhouse from the Hayfield Daylily Nursery garden. ( see the Hayfield Nursery here).

A Pagoda Dogwood at the Royal Botanical Garden in Hamilton, Ontario. If only I had taken a picture of the overall bush, it was spectacular!

A white California Poppy from the Herb and Medicinal Garden at the RBG in Hamilton, Ontario

One of my white oriental lilies 


An urn from my neighbor's garden. (see her garden here).

A white pansy in a sea of aylssum

A white peony called A La Mode at the RBG Garden in Hamilton. The good thing about this simple kind of peony is that is less likely to need elaborate staking. (see the Royal Botanical Garden's peonies here)

White dahlia's from Butt's Berry and Flower Farm. (see the farm here)

Phlox paniculata 'David'- I love, love white phlox! I have it in my garden, but this picture is from the Flower's garden in Oakville, Ontario.

Meringue Echinacea, a new addition to my garden last summer. I hope it makes it through the winter! 

An old fashioned beauty: A Yucca in a neighbor's garden

A late summer beauty from my front garden. (Gladiolus Callianthus)

Have yourself a great weekend!

28 comments:

  1. I love the structure in your garden and can't wait to enjoy seeing it coming into bloom this year. As for your selection of white flowers, you are a wonderful photographer! These photos are beautiful.

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  2. Magnificent! A feast for the eyes, I know, it's so cliche to say so, but it truly is!!!

    I agree completely with Gardeningbren...you're a gifted photographer and the structure of your garden is beautiful...I, too, can't wait to visit in Spring and Summer :)

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  3. Frame-able pics if ever I've seen some. They're all quite stunning and I applaud you for embracing white. I tend to avoid it because I'm so tired of staring at white snow but it's so pretty in a garden setting.

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  4. Personally, I love white in the garden and an all white garden was something I was originally planning for the front of my house. It didn't quite work out that way in the end but I still adore the idea of 'all white'. You've included some of my favourites in your post ~ and you've captured their beauty in your photos! Happy Weekend!

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  5. Sigh, now if only you provided the scent along with the photos. Beautiful. Picked me up on such an icky day.

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  6. Jennifer, this is a gorgeous display of white in the garden. I always think I don't do a lot of white, but I realize I do after seeing your display.

    Eileen

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  7. Quite beautiful Jennifer. I especially like the Forget Me Nots with the Lily of the Valley. The white blooms of the Yucca are so soft and smooth, quite the contrast to the foliage.

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  8. Such a feast of white flowers, all so beautiful. I love your gas plant... and I'm glad to see its gorgeous bloom, as my Dictamnus is living up to its reputation of being slow, slow, slow to get going. After three years I have a wimpy small plant, no blossoms. I'm hoping this year it does something. Meanwhile, I'll just ogle yours.

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  9. Jennifer, this was a lovely selection of whites. White is my favorite garden color for evening, but I like the insects that visit the white flowers too. There is a bit too much white in the garden right now and it is not the pretty kind you are showing. It snowed here again today. So sad.

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  10. I enjoy your white flowers very much. The new addition is my favorite. I really need to increase whites in my garden to tone things down a bit.

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  11. The whites in your garden look stunning! (yes, the snow included).I wish white would look half as good in my tropical garden but somehow they end up looking dusty and dirty within hours. I much prefer looking at the ones in your garden.

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  12. stunning white flowers...they make me long for my white garden...

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  13. Hello Jennifer, white flowers my wife's favourite. Your photographs are beautiful. We have the Yucca in a container which is over Wintered in the unheated greenhouse, no chance of it flowering though. Isn't it strange that Winter in the coastal areas of Scotland are so much milder than Canada, yet our Summer is so much cooler than yours.

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  14. I had no idea yucca could grow in Canada!! I love the white bleeding heart against the hosta leaves. So pretty! I have never seen gas plant up close! It's gorgeous!! I've never seen it here so it must not like our heat/humidity. I have lots of white phlox in my garden. Love it!!! Your photos would make an amazing calendar. I'd buy one!

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  15. I love white in the garden. Such a refreshing colour and wonderful to brighten up shady spots. That picture of the dogwood is wonderful. They are really magnificent blooms.

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  16. So many beautiful whites! I loved your lily-of-the-valley bouquet, I miss their fragrance and they don't grow here... Your gladiolus is beautiful, and so unusual. I love your spirea pictures too. What kind of spirea is it?

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  17. Hola, it´s been a great, great pleasure to be at your sooooooo beautiful garden!!!! and your images are wonderful too!!!
    hugs from Chile

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  18. What absolutely beautiful photos! Your blog is very well done and I will sign up as a follower...I just must see your garden come alive with flowers, and surely the snow will soon be gone! Being a fellow artist, I would love to see some of your paintings, too!

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  19. Extremely beautiful photos, thanks for sharing!!

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  20. Your snow covered garden is certainly beautiful in its winter splendor, but all the white flowers are refreshing! I love white in my own garden, and your photo reminded me to order some callianthus. I have the catalogue here on my desk and had almost forgotten. Truly, your photos are inspirational!

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  21. Just found your blog...

    love the Gas Plant (Dictamnus albus)... I have never seen it before.

    Beautiful photos!
    And I like seeing the bones of your garden in the snow... structure is so needed in the garden.

    Thanks, Julie

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  22. All the white is so crisp and clean and bright! I love it! I really like your arbor there with the dusting of snow.

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  23. You have such grand and stately entrance to your garden!
    Love all the white flowers you featured. Very calming!

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  24. I go through stages of color I'm acquiring, and right now it's white. I loved seeing all the white flowers in your garden. I hope your snow melts soon and that your spring is glorious.

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  25. Nothing more to say than beautiful.

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  26. Beautiful post Jennifer!! Your blooms and what will come are all so stunningly portrayed by your photographs. Lovely! You may find seedlings of your Dictamnus near your mother plant. I have a few here and there and I love this plant too. The fragrance is so delicious. I hope you are having a great Sunday!

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  27. Wow! Fantastic photos. I now look at white in a different light. Great post.

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  28. I always enjoy your color essays. This one is stunning as well. I love the shots of the Gasplant and Spirea ~ really, really gorgeous.

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