Dreams of a White Garden


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.


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