Monthly Archives: January 2012

White Garden: The Smaller Things

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There are plenty of bulbs to choose from for a white garden but my favourites are quite classic.  I think my tendency to waver a little from the theme is likely to happen in early spring, when some splashes of colour are welcome after winter.  The winters are quite green where I live and although there might be one or two brief snowfalls,  the snowdrops actually last longer than the winter snow.

image via plantandflowerguide.com

By the time the crocuses are in bloom I will be sprinkling in a little purple.

image via bigflowers1.com

Can you really blame me for finding these irresistible?  I love crocus bubls planted into the lawn where they can naturalize.  It works well in my part of the world because by the time the lawn is ready to be mown there is just foliage left and it can handle a little trim.

image via americanmeadows.com

another pretty little bulb that naturalizes well into lawns is the fritillaria and it can also be found in purple and white.   I have not has as much luck in getting them to multiply as readily as the crocus but you can be sure I will keep trying.

image via freeimagefinder.com

Narcissus Thalia and Poeticus are two of my favourites. More is more and they look best planted in large clumps in a place where they can naturalize.  I like to put them under trees.   The first image is Poeticus.

image via belle-woodgardens.com

image via waysidegarden.com

Thalia is very delicate and suitable for a rock garden. Look at that colour creeping in!  Although this image is not my garden it could be.  I can never seem to keep the colour out.  Orange and purple are quite likely to sneak in.  One of my favourite white flowers is the primrose, but it does come in other beautiful colours as well.

image via elizabethmcgregornursery.co.uk

This is the double flowered variety and not like the primulas that show up at the grocery store every spring.  This one will return in your garden reliably and spread.  It makes a great edger and looks stunning in a shady area. I had some in my previous garden and treasured it greatly.  It is worth remaining amicable with my ex so that I can get some pieces of it.

A bit later in the season, geranium sanguineum album gives a similar look.  One of the best geraniums for easy care, good looks and long bloom time, this is one I would not be without.

image via moodysnursery.com

Astilbe is tall and feathery looking and needs large leaved companions.  This variety is Bridal Veil and is my favourite of the many white cultivars available.

image via garden-share.com

Peonies, daylilies and Siberian irises are plants I also cannot be without. I received a peony like this one as a gift and it is my favourite.  It was unnamed but the website where I found this image identifies it as ‘Immaculee’.

image via americanmeadows.com

Hemerocallis ‘Gentle Shepherd’ is a classic white daylily but there are thousands of cultivars and plenty to choose from.  I would look for fragrance and repeat bloom.

image via horiplex.gardenweb.com

image via gorgetopgardens.com

Okay, I know.  This isn’t white.  But it’s my very favourite siberian iris.  Maybe I will have to put it somewhere else in the garden.  It has a white edge, does that count?

It’s time to have lunch.  And since I’ve suddenly veered away from white flowers perhaps it’s time to pause.  I have had so much fun dreaming about these flowers my tea has gotten cold.  I forgot I made it.  Sigh….oh that iris!

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Dreams of a White Garden

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After 25 years I walked away from my marriage.  I’ll spare you the gory details but It was a good move for me.  I also walked away from a beautifully renovated house and the cottage garden I had spent 16 years passionately creating.   My heart aches for that garden and as I regroup and save my money while living in an apartment, I dream of a home of my own and a new garden.

I have always wanted a white garden.  I tried one once but my husband kept putting orange flowers in it.  No wonder I left him!  Actually as a lover of colour and of many types of flowers, a white garden is a bit of a challenge.  Still, I fall head over heels for white flowers and if a particular flower has a white variety you can be sure I will have added it to my garden.

A white garden is also more than just throwing a bunch of white flowers into the ground.  It relies quite heavily on the depth of texture and on different shades of green.  A little variegated foliage is good, but too much confuses the eye.  Some flowers are pure white, some have a creamy yellow tint and some a pink blush and they don’t always complement each other.

So as I dream of creating a white garden again some day soon, I will share some of my favourites that I will surely be including.

One of my favourite trees is The Great White Cherry, also known as Tai Haku.  It is a Japanese ornamental, the type that blooms in spring and has beautiful fall colour but no fruit. It grows quickly into a tall and spreading tree.

image via Canadian Gardening magazine

Another white flowered tree for spring is the star magnolia or Magnolia stellata.  There are different varieties and some are more of a cream colour while others have a tinge of pink.  I like a pure white variety.  This one pictured below is the variety Royal Star.

image via plantplace.com

An evergreen shrub that can be heavily pruned, grows quickly and has small, fragrant clusters of creamy flowers, Osmanthus burkwoodii is another favourite.

via gardenersworld.com

I have two favourite white flowered rhododendrons, Alena and the impressive Loderi variety King George. Alena grows on a nicely shaped bush and the foliage is attractive year round.  King George can be a bit tender and the shrub a bit lanky, but the flowers are mind blowing, huge and fragrant with a pink blush that is oh so pretty.

via easternplant.com

image via Rhodoland website

image via acornfarms.com

Another pink tinted flower with delightful fragrance is the lilac Krasavitsa Moskvy, also known as Beauty of Moscow.

The vanilla scented viburnum carlesii, also known as Korean Spice viburnum, seems sometimes to have pink tinged flowers and sometimes not.  The one in my previous garden didn’t.

source unknown

Roses are beautiful, but the shrubs leave a little something to be desired when not in bloom.  That’s why I love rugosa roses, which can usually be counted on to have yellow fall colour and big red hips when the flowers are finished.  Some varieties are quite long blooming or repeat blooming and two good ones happen to be white.  My garden must have Rosa Rugosa Alba and Rosa Rugosa Blanc Double de Coubert

image via robertsplants.co.uk

image via deeproot.co.uk

R. Rugosa Alba has large single flowers with a sweet fragrance.  The hips are edible and make nice jelly.

image via gardenphotographs.net

Blanc Double de Coubert is obviously a double, whereas Alba is single.

image via countrystoreplants.com

Deutzia gracilis is a stunner when in bloom as is Spirea thunbergia, but both are a little twiggy when not in bloom.

image via findmeplants.co.uk

I cannot have a garden without a Stewartia pseudocamelia, a stunning tree with small white flowers in July, interesting bark and truly stunning fall colour.

image via finegardening.com

 

No white garden would be complete without a hyndrangea, or two.  There are many to choose from.  I like the recent cultivar Blushing Bride, a longer blooming recent cultivar.

image via ecoterralandscape.com

A rambling rose I will never go without is Darlow’s Enigma, repeat blooming and fragrant, this one is a must have! It grows to be very large so I would grow it over a shed or an arbour.  Like most white flowers, it is fragrant too.

image via plantlust.com

I can’t have a white garden, or any garden, without clematis.  Madame Le Coulter is one of my top white choices.

image via dutchbulbs.co.uk

I haven’t even gotten to the perennials, annuls, bulbs or companion greenery yet.  That sounds like a blog for tomorrow.

Split Design Personality

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I am drooling over the images on this beautiful blog. Where whites, creams and pale rustic textures blend to create a layered effect that is anything but boring.  I have never lived with a white on white scheme and I don’t know if I could, yet I am increasingly drawn to it, especially when it looks like this.  I once tried an all white garden and I couldn’t help it-colour crept in!  I love colour!  Rich tones, dark tones and muted tones are my favourites.  I like my blues a bit grayed and my greens mossy, my oranges burnt and my reds a little muddy. I love my yellows dirty like ochre.  I am really tempted to try this cream on white scheme that uses texture more than colour.  The colours are subtle but there is nothing stark about it.  I loathe the stark modern white decor.  I crave warmth and softness.

http://moderncountry.blogspot.com

Browsing online, I found this site.

http://www.antiquesdirect.ca

This source of French Country loveliness is not far from me, but I would be afraid to look at the price let alone the shipping fees.  I love the time worn patina of this gate I found on their website.

Rustic Beauty

Love this simple pendant fixture.

A touch of black can work in a neutral space too.  A bit of wrought iron or some painted furniture appeals to me.

Weathered black chest

From Woodland Creek Furniture,  made from reclaimed wood.

http://www.woodlandcreekfurniture.com

I need this!

And some pretty accents that are useful too. I am always drawn to weathered terra cotta pots and old wash tubs and watering cans in my garden.  These items tend to spill over into my home too.

....this one is from http://www.bevsbaskets.com

French country can get a little too sweet for my taste, but I am in love with the rustic, time worn textures of these items.  Now, how do I reconcile that with what I create as an artist drawn to colour?

Painted by me, Jan. 24, 2012

Spring Bud

A Cluttered Mind

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from plusgoogle.com

I will have to admit to my bias immediately.  I always aspire to be organized and I do a fairly good job, but I will never avoid clutter. I do have a cluttered mind.  It is full of thoughts, ideas, questions, things I want to do and make, philosophical ideas and I crave knowledge.  I love to learn, to read, to write, to paint and draw.  I dabble in knitting and sewing and assorted DIY projects.  I dream of a beautiful room to do this in, with a desk for my computer and a large work table.  The room will be beautiful and organized and layered with colour and texture.  A loft with exposed brick walls and large windows would be just perfect!  I’m not going to find that in the small town where I live, on the west coast where brick buildings are vulnerable to earthquakes.  SIGH….

So I dream and get inspired by the Stampington & Company publication Where Women Create.  I am in love with the space belonging to Kristen Alber, owner of Found, a shop of found items for a funky home decor vibe.  Alber is a self taught designer and owns the shop along with her husband.  I could move right into the shop or her beautiful work space.

from Where Women Create, photographer Isaac Bailey

Alber is a proponent of organization and she does it beautifully with shelves layered with binders in a monochromatic cardboard colour scheme and various weathered containers.  This is way beyond anything I will ever have, but the dream inspires me as I  sit in my little beige carpeted apartment and scan the online MLS site for a home to buy.

http://www.wherewomencreate.com/

Kristen Alber’s space on the cover of the winter issue.

Kristen Alber on cover of Where Women Create