Sunday, October 1, 2017

White in the Cottage Garden

A cottage garden by definition is a riot of colors: warm ones like red bee balm and orange zinnias; cool colors such as pink roses, purple salvia, blue morning glory, and green sedums. White blooms can soften the effects of this dizzying display, or stand alone in a moon garden. Last summer when my Serenity Garden lost most of its shade with the removal of a silver maple, I replaced hostas, brunnera, and other shade-loving plants with some more tolerant of sun. I thought to establish a moon garden with white flowers -- an all-white garden will be great after dark, I thought. So I planted Japanese anemone, white lavender, and montauk daisy only to find that come spring another silver maple had increased its canopy and created more shade than expected. I moved plants around again. Today, while I don't have an all-white moon garden, I am enjoying a perfect stand of white anemones floating above the cool greens of Serenity.

Wind flower or Japanese Anemone Anemone 'Honorine Jobert'

The white of the anemones provides transition as you move from Serenity, through an arbor covered in white morning glories into my main cottage garden areas where white delphiniums are making an unexpected fall show. White not only supplies transition but ties different parts of the yard together through repetition.

The Morning Glories self seeded to climb over a white arbor
Delphinium 'Magic Fountain Pure White'

In the summer months, shasta daisies and gooseneck loosestrife provide rest to the eye from the riot of color around the pond. I planted them in drifts among the purple cone flowers, phlox, and yarrow.

Summer cottage garden
Lysimachia clethroides Goosenecked Loosestrife
Goosenecked Loosestrife (bottom right) in the Cottage Garden
Colors can influence perception. My main cottage garden is not very large, but white makes small gardens seem bigger.

A drift of shasta daisies makes the herbaceous border appear wider.

This year I planted white petunias in Abundance Garden. Every growing season, yarrow 'The Pearl' returns there.

White petunias border the Abundance Garden
Yarrow Achillia ptarmica 'The pearl'

I love shrubs and trees with white blossoms and have several in my garden: weeping cherry, catalpa, vibernum, and mock orange to name a few.

Top picture: Vibernum.      Bottom: Mock orange

Catalpa tree

As you can see I love white blooms for several reasons: they are restful to the eyes in a border of vivid colors, they help you transition from one part of the garden to another, and tie various parts of the yard together. I also use white in some of the hardscaping such as arbors and fences for similar purposes. Today my favorite flower is the white Japanese anemone. What is yours?

Fall is here and the weather has turned colder, but the zinnias continue to provide fabulous color in the cutting garden, the roses are better now than at any other time this season, and I am amazed to see the clematis that I cut down several weeks ago is blooming again. I think this gardening year may go down in my book as the best ever.

Enjoy the changing seasons,
Pamela x

White snakeroot

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  1. I left my white anemone behind in my other garden and really need to get another one. They are so gorgeous. Also left the gooseneck loosestrife. In this garden it would take over but it is such a great looking plant. Nothing else has that wonderful shape.

  2. I love white flowers, though I don't have many in my own garden. I do grow cosmos Purity though, that's a beautiful flower and they bloom right through summer.

  3. I love white in a garden. Next house I will have one bed with just white flowers.

  4. I just bought my first anemone and am hoping it will survive the winter here in Delaware. You have some beautiful whites and pinks scattered around. I am always trying to emulate an English Cottage Garden too, but alas!! :)

  5. Pam, your garden looks splendid as usual! I love white flowers they create a beautiful contrast with the green foliage, they seem to glow! White viburnum is a plant I love and never found in any nursery here. Wish you a wonderful week!

  6. Those white anemones are glorious. White is a wonderful and often overlooked accent for the garden. You've used it beautifully.

  7. I don't know that I could ever do just an all white garden, but I do love all your white flowers, and all the color around them makes them pop.

  8. While I dearly love to see white in other people’s garden, I don’t use it much here. My main problem with it might seem silly, but I find white too difficult to photograph! My garden is almost all bright sunshine, and I just haven’t figured out how to photograph white well. Your whites are gorgeous, and have inspired me to try harder.

  9. White blooms and foliage bring brightness to a garden and you have mastered that beautifully Pam. I especially enjoy the white blooms of my Dogwood and Magnolia in springtime and look forward to it all winter.

  10. Lovely! I find the idea of a moon garden so great, but since I am actually rarely outside in the evening it would not make a lot of sense for my garden. One of my favorite flowers, though, are white daisies. I love your yarrow - I might have to get some!

  11. How beautiful! I have just made a note to see if I can add Lysimachia clethroides to my garden. I use white as a contrast to the black walls of my barn. At the moment, Japanese Anemones, Cyclamen, Nicotiana and Nerines have exceptional white flowers.

  12. How exciting to enjoy your best ever gardening year!
    For white today I'd choose the zebra grass - altho it does look very tall.

  13. Pam, your garden is so beautiful. For years, my husband has wanted me to plant an all-white bed and I've never gotten around to it, but I did relent and had a white border of begonias in the hosta garden last year. I loved how the white glowed in the evening; next year I will have to add more white to the garden after seeing yours.