By Pat Naughton
Colors evoke emotions. A garden is a place to escape and relax. It should include colors that evoke serenity. White is associated with cleanliness and purity. It can be comforting by itself or mixed with soft pastels. White goes with everything and it even brings out the bold colors of other plants.
White flowers stand out anytime, day or night. Many night-time bloomers are very fragrant which gives them an added bonus. Moonflowers are fragrant, and an easy-to-grow vine with large white flowers that open in late afternoon. Some other night-bloomers are Angel Trumpet, Four O’Clocks, and Nicotiana.
To incorporate white flowers into the garden start by using them as a border. White Dianthus, Lantana, Flowering Vinca or Agapanthus can be used along a path. Place flowering plants behind them and watch those colors stand out. Coleus, Petunias, and Salvias are just a few of the plants that pop when planted next to a white-flowered plant. Evergreens look great with white flowers planted in front of them. White plants don’t compete, they add to the garden. Soft foliage plants like, Dusty Miller or Artemesia, provide a soothing effect when planted next to white flowers.
White roses are a beautiful addition to the garden. Roses can be added to provide interest and to break up the monotony in the garden. White roses bring out emotions. They represent purity, innocence, and youthfulness.
These are just a few reasons to add white flowers to the garden. They are also great when used in containers. There are many easy-to-grow white annuals. You can buy them by the 6-pack or grow them from seed. Try adding Sweet Alyssum, Cleome, Nicotiana, Zinnias, Begonias, Snapdragons, and Petunias. White Geraniums do well in containers in a protected area in Zone 8.
There are many white-flowering shrubs available. Azaleas, Camelias, Oakleaf Hydrangea, Flowering Quince, Viburnum, Gardenia, Rose of Sharon, and Spirea are just a few.
Be sure to look for plants that bloom at different times during the season. Don’t forget the old favorites, like Shasta daisies, Clematis, Bacopa, Angelonia, Chrysanthemums, and Calibrachoa.
The Brunswick County Botanical Garden in Bolivia has a completely white-flowering garden called the Celebration Garden. It is a relaxing spot to sit during our hot summer days. You can even plan a wedding or party in the garden. The Celebration Garden is located in the back of the Botanical Garden on the left. After the COVID restrictions are over, stop by and spend some time in this “Happy Place”.
If you have any questions, please call Brunswick County Extension 910-253-2610.
Special thanks to Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Jeanne Pavero for contributing to this article.
Pictures from NCSU Plant Toolbox https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/