Using white in the garden

White is a very useful tool to add to a garden design. It works really well at “knitting” areas together, particularly in spring when there is a lot going on. Think about bright yellow daffodils, soft dirty pinks of cherries, and the sometimes riotous colors of azaleas. What brings them all together? White (and its bestie, chartreuse green)! Together, they work to harmonize and soften some of the brightness that early spring brings. Here in my zone 7B, Atlanta garden, spring often comes on strong- the light is direct and bright, not yet filtered by overhead foliage on the trees and there are more hours of it. Add to that the haze of pollen (or as I like to call it, the green veil of fertility) and it can make for some retina burning days. White and green soothe the picture and make it all flow seamlessly together. Here are a few of my favorite plants to use when you need a little cohesion in the garden.

On the far left is Exochorda, pearlbush. Middle plant is Choisya ternata, Mexican-orange. In the foreground is Iris japonica ‘Eco Easter’

Can’t go wrong with narcissus. When planting these, remember to look for some early bloomers, middle bloomers, and late bloomers to extend the season

Close up of Exochorda flowers with Euphorbia characias
Cercis chinensis ‘Shirobana’
Neviusia alabamensis, Alabama snow wreath, a fabulous native and underused plant- great substitute for the more common Spiraea
Leucojum aestivum and Helleborus niger weaving their way through azalea, ajuga, and iris. White blooms from Viburnum X carlcephalum ‘Cayuga’ in background

White and chartreuse are indispensable for tying a garden together!

By jenniferpetritz

I am a passionate gardener and horticulturist living in Atlanta, GA. I specialize in small garden design, garden consulting, garden writing, and horticultural consulting for all forms of media.

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