White Flower Garden/ Anyone Have One? Or suggestions?

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Hi! I am starting to plant a white flower garden. So far, what established plants I have in it are a clump of white lilacs,(greatly reduced) some boltonias, asters, a rock rose (Cistus)and a couple of peonies. I have sown some alyssum along the front as a border (not up yet) and I plan to sow some parsley behind it for contrast and depth. There are some white violets clumped under the lilac. Later I will be sowing some sweet peas on the arbor adjacent to the garden, and planting a hardy Hibiscus 'Blue River II'. Later I will be sowing some cosmos.

Would anyone share their pictures of their white garden and what you grow in yours?

This message was edited Apr 5, 2017 8:12 PM

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

I don't have any pictures at the moment Evelyn , however Shasta daisy , Campanula ,
some Bladderwort , and a white Iris , of course wild aster as a weed is everywhere ,
I have these here oh I don't know if the White lillium will return several last season

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Oh, yes! I forgot to mention that I moved some of my wild white daisies (temporarily!) in there in scattered clumps. I have Iris 'Immortality' lining the fence, in front of white daffodils and tulips, hopefully disguising the bulb foliage as it dies down.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

In pic one is the base plant: Damask Rose Madame Hardy. When the rose was younger, salvia coccinea 'Snow', white borage, 2 Iceberg roses, which I later replaced with 'Marie Pavie' because, for whatever reason, I can't grow Iceberg. I wanted a recurrent rose because Madame Hardy, glorious as she is, blooms only once, although for many weeks.

In pic two are lilium 'Crystal Blanca' (like Casa Blanca, but shorter and stronger, needing no staking), feverfew tera strain.

In pic 3 opposite that bed is lilium 'Regale', salvia cocinnea 'Snow' again, and nicotiana alata

In pic 4 is a closeup of feverfew tetra strain, one of the great plants of the WORLD. Grows from seed, overwinters, goes with everything!

Pic 5 is an illustration of the power of white flowers at nigh. Lilium 'Crystal Blanca', one of the lilies around the rose.

The feverfew, borage and salvia were all grown from seed.

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Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Just a suggestion.

Feverfew is a great unifying plant. It mixes with everything, is pretty as foliage, and lives through the winter. I pull up clumps of it and put it all over the yard. Completely drought tolerant ans needs neither water nor fertilizer. And it has a small rootball, so you can pull it out without disturbing other plants.

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Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

White platycodon are amazing and can be grown from seed, as these were, as were these arabis caucasica.

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Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

DonnaMack , all pretty , regal looking naturally all of those ,
Every time I ever tried to get Tetra strain feverfew , it was gone before I got to it , Have the old one though

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

White Daffodils. Amelanchair 'Autumn Brillance' (Serviceberry, Deutizia 'Nikko', White German Bearded Iris, Allium s. "White Giant', Alliums. 'Mount Everest', Viburnum tomentosum 'Shasta', Viburnum tomentosum 'Snowflake', Gaura 'Whirling Butterflies' (a winner--blooms all season into frost once it gets going, sterile so no re-seeding).
I can't remember what else. This garden will not all be blooming at once but rather something blooming all throughout the season. It's also a low maintenance garden which was one of the requirements. I will update this with an edit when I remember the other stuff that's planted if I have forgotten something.
I'm still contemplating other plants especially for fall bloom.
I can take a picture, but not sure it will be that impressive as I was more focused on having something blooming throughout the season. :) It's what I wanted and I didn't want to get the garden too full.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Birder I love your plant choices. We have so many of the same types of plants with some variations. I have viburnum plicatum tomentosum 'Pink Beauty' , which usually booms in white, which is what I wanted. I got several fab ones from Plant and Gnome. My white allium, ramosum, blooms in fall. I had an allegheny serviceberry at my former home. I have deutzia 'Chardonnay Pearls'.

I also acquired lots of white roses and peonies. Lately I have been putting in bursts of red to liven things up.

Thank you for the tip on gaura. I have always loved the look of it but thought my soil might be too rich.

I actually planned my garden for fall so that I would have a lot going on then, and then moved backwards to spring.

For spring, I also go after white Daffodils. My favorite is Mount Hood. It actually starts out with a cream colored cup that turns white. For fall it's hard to beat anemone x hybrida Honorine Jobert, and the salvias keep blooming all year, seed, and come back in spring. For spring anemone blanda White Splendor. And white chionodoxa. I love plants you can put in that don't require a lot of effort and come back for you. Arabis caucausica is like that, and it blooms repeatedly and stays grey green all year long into winter.

Right now the chionodoxa and arabis are in bloom. If you put in the right stuff, your garden gets fuller and fuller every year with little additional effort from you. I had to leave my old garden and start over in 2012, and I'm shocked at how full it is. And now that the housing boom is over, it's really easy to get discounted plants. I have ordered everything, and it's usually 25% to 50% off. Santa Rosa Gardens is amazing preseason, and High Country Roses lets you buy gift certificates for yourself at 25% off.

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Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Here is part of the bed that has been dug out and mulched. I had to remove several many lilac suckers before doing anything. That was a lot of hard work. At 75 I do get tired, so I offered my neighbor all the lilac suckers if he would dig out the last, and biggest one, and also the dead dogwood tree, which had succumbed to the extreme drought. It used to be in the shade of a pine tree, but that got cut down, as it was casting too much shade on the vegetable garden, in the middle of the fenced garden area.

The second picture is an example of the accumulation of strawberries and violets.

The third is just a close up of the violets.

As you can see, there is not a lot of room for viburnum and any other large shrubs. I am saving a space for the hibiscus 'Blue River II'. I am considering moving all the plants in the adjacent bed, which is currently in pastels, mainly blue, purple and pink. If I move these all to the north side, facing south bed, formerly called the "Hot Bed", then I may expand the white flower garden in the future, but since we have had so much rain and snow since November, I have been trying to work just this one bed to improve it, as it was an eyesore to me. Most of the time it has been rather muddy, so I have had limited access to the garden.

Donna, and birder, you both have given me some practical suggestions, and I do appreciate it.
I hope to be able to find that seed for feverfew tetra strain. Maybe I will check Swallowtail Seeds and see if they have any. Can you tell me if Anemone will take full hot sun? I usually put them in my shade garden, due to the hot summers that we have here. I think that 'Honorine Jobert' is one of thte most beautiful ones, but if it will not grow well in the hot sun, I had better forgo placing that plant in that bed.

This message was edited Mar 30, 2017 1:22 PM

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Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Quote from DonnaMack :
White platycodon are amazing and can be grown from seed, as these were, as were these arabis caucasica.

Does the platycodon bloom the first year from seed?

This message was edited Mar 25, 2017 8:38 PM

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)


I have grown Anemone x Hybrida 'Honorine Jobert' on both the south and west sides of properties. This picture shows it on the west side of the house, where I originally put in four. The heat there exceeded 90 degrees, and there was absolutely no shade. They thrived, as you can see. And note the date, late October!

The second photo is from the south side of my new house in absolutely no shade.

I have grown it on the west, east and south sides of my two houses, on former farmland, with up to 100 degree heat. I have never grown them in shade.

As for viburnums, have a look at Gary Ladman's 'Classic Viburnums' site.


I have two compact carlesis that I purchased from him two years ago. He has a lot of compact viburnums for much less than they charge in garden centers. I just wrote and submitted an article on compact carlesis to Dave's Garden. They should be publishing it soon, but there are actually viburnums that max out at 2 feet.

Platycodons that I have grown from seed have bloom in the fall if started in January. The perlemutter and alba in the third picture were all grown from seed from JL Hudson.

In the fourth picture are my blue platycodon seedlings in October of 2012. And in picture 5 they are hanging out a couple of years later with digitalis mertonenesis - also grown from seed. They do take two years to bloom, but they are so deeply taprooted they are with you forever.

I find that there are plants that I really want that are just too expensive. I was seeing digitalis mertonensis for $15 each. And maybe they make it and maybe they don't. And maybe I want a lot of them. That's where seeding came in.

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Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I grow a lot of stuff from seed. It's so much cheaper: $2.50 + for a packet of seeds or $10.00 + for one plant.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Birder, do you find, as I do, that the plants you grow from seed are tougher than the ones you buy? I started growing plants that would keel over after being purchased, and found that they persisted where the others keeled. It's particularly nice when you want multiple plants.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

A source for double feverfew aka feverfew tetra strain:


Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Uh, oh! I sense another order of seeds coming my way!
I didn't tell you all what I ordered or what I started did I?

Or the work I did in that bed either?

Or would you rather it be a surprise?

This message was edited Mar 29, 2017 7:47 PM

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Donna, Yes, Yes Yes! The plants I grow from seed are much tougher: another reward for starting from seed.
I've been very busy with my Master Gardener Organization. We're planning a plant sale soon, so I've been digging up stuff in my gardens, going to purchase plants wholesale, going to planning meetings, and I'm sanding, and painting large plastic tubs which will be planted in herbs. I've already purchased the herbs ($1.97: cheap), just need to finish painting the tubs and getting the herbs planted.
It's overcast here so purchased plants are enjoying the weather and so am! I work best in overcast skies: no sunburning, no sweating.
Sorry Evelyn for this off topic.
I'm basically going to wait this year and see how my white garden looks before I purchase anything else. You sound very busy! This is a busy time of year.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I've decided to dispense with grass as much as I can in my back yard, so I'm germinating lots of fragaria vesca reugen and dividing my geranium Bevan's Variety. Just grew a bunch of souvenir D'Andre Chaudron twin nepeta sibirica. Fell in love with dianthus I was given as a gift and am growing some from JL Hudson. Was asked to overwinter a bacopa and got the seeds for that too. Right now I have tons of lettuce and tomato and cucumber seedlings because I realize how easy they are to grow from seed - and because I grow them they are organic. Going to start red peppers soon.

I love growing my own vegetables. I used to get starts from a greenhouse, and then I realized how easy they are to grow when you have your own set up.

Back to the theme - I have about half a dozen plants of salvia verticillata 'white Rain' ready to go. It had disappeared from commerce, although it is back now. And decided to do nicotiana alata in light shade, along with blue borage to go with the white. And just found white runner beans. I'm out of control!

Funny the things you do. Last year I was obsessed with adding red. This year it's more white.

We got a ton of rain, and my peach tree is in flower - the sour cherry is next!

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I just received my White Hyacinth Bean seed two days ago!! Mine was rather expensive for seed, but I wanted it for my white flower bed.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I'm going to start soaking my purple hyacinth beans soon. White ones are hard to find. I grew them once. They are very beautiful, and more delicate than the purple.

I soaked Blue Star morning glories today. I grew them a couple of years ago up a rose trellis and they were lovely. Then they disappeared. I found them again and I'm thrilled. Vigorous, but not rampant.

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Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

So, Donna, when you say "more delicate", I'm thinking not getting as tall nor as rambunctious. I grow the purple one every year. The flowers are so pretty. They are such a pretty color of red-purple.

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

birder17 ~ Yes! It is a VERY busy time of year, in between storms for me. It rained again yesterday and then it was cold and windy, though sunny. I had to wait another day. I feel a cold coming on, sneezing, runny nose, coughing... etc. Today was a tad warmer, though still with a breeze. I had to pull up the hood each time the wind started to blow.

I have been continuing to make way for the strawberries that I dug out which had become rampant. So I had to dig the weeds out of the asparagus bed. I will incorporate the extra strawberries in there for now. Also a neighbor will take some so that will help. Then, the bed for the white flower border will be cleaned out and ready for some seedlings that are hatching. I sowed some pre-germinated white morning glories on one post, and some white sweet peas on the two posts for the garden gate until the white Lady Banks rose grows up, since it is a baby. I bought it in a one gallon container last year, and it barely moved. So it is starting to grow, and it will have a sturdy post, since it will get huge. More to report later...

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Donna ~ Thank you for that. I realize, due to buying seeds that many of the biennials and perennials, that this will be a 2-year operation.

Today I have moved more than half of the strawberries and violets, as it is supposed to rain tomorrow. The new bed is completed, but I still have more to dig out.I hope that asparagus likes strawberries, as that is where I will plant the balance, once I have weeded the asparagus bed.

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Not much more to report at this time. I am starting a lot of plants from seed, both on the back porch and indoors, considering whether they can be sown outdoors or if they require heat to start. Some that are being sown are suggested to sow in January and February. That is going to be interesting to see if they will get big enough before fall.

I have almost finished removing the strawberries and violets. The Japanese maple was moved in the fall and the dead dogwood tree and many lilac suckers have been removed. It looks better already. Hopefully I won't be messing it up by trying to create a pretty garden.
The two peonies are beginning to emerge and the lilacs are now beginning to get their leaves.

birder ~ I am looking forward to seeing your white Hyacinth bean. Are you going to save some seeds for next year?

1. Lilac with reduced suckers, Iberis on the base of the lilac
2. From the other side of the fence
3. Anemone coronaria 'The Bride'
4. Some tulips planted in March!

The rock rose needs pruning again, as the snow has smashed it down. I will have to wait until it has flowered, then I can do it, otherwise I will cut off any or most of the flowering potential. It is supposed to snow again on Saturday. (It snows every April, but usually not a lot.)

This message was edited Apr 5, 2017 7:56 PM

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Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Quote from DonnaMack :
White platycodon are amazing and can be grown from seed, as these were, as were these arabis caucasica.

Donna ~ I am curious. Did you start the seeds of platycodon in the ground, wintersow or start them inside. Now that I have the seeds, it seems a little late to start them. And what about the arabis? That seems to be another one to either start in fall or very early spring.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I started the platycodon inside. It's much easier, because you can make sure the seeds are still there and watch their progress.

I start arabis early in the year. I wouldn't be inclined to start it in the fall, because I want to get it into the ground.

You can pretty much start anything at any time if you start it indoors, which is what I do with perennials. As long as you get them into the ground by late fall you are fine.

The books that tell you when to start it always assume that you are starting it outdoors. Unless it is a direct seeded plant that can hold its own, like mirabilis jalapa, I always start it indoors.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Yes, I plan to save some seed for next year. We'll see. It was rather expensive so I only want to do this once! :) It may come back as purple though. Not sure. Worth a try.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Is the seed an F1 hybrid? If so, it doesn't come back true. If it's open pollinated, it comes back.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Don't know. I just purchased the seed. Don't think it said anywhere.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Then you can probably assume it will come back the same as you planted it. F1 hybrids tend to scream it on the package.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

We shall see and I will let you know!

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

It snowed yesterday, and it is expected again later on this week.

Since it is so cold and muddy out right now, I have been sowing seeds. I was amazed at the amount of punishment strawberries can take, as they worked their way into the walkway. I will continue digging them out, once it is dry enough. I have (re-) made another bed to accommodate the balance of the strawberries. If there are any leftovers, I will give them to my neighbor. Then there will be more room for the flowers!
1. Yesterday's weather
2. & 3. Almost blank slate.

The lilac leaves are beginning to emerge and the red shoots of the peonies are coming up. I don't remember if the rock rose blooms after the lilac or at the same time. I will be taking notes this year.

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Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Here is a list of the plants that I have started from seed since the middle of February for this garden. I realize, that especially in the case of biennials and perennials, they will not be ready for this year's "show". Since I have grown perennial lupine from seed before, I remember that they did not get up to size and flower until their second year. So I have included some annual lupine in the mix.
Single White Hollyhock
Cosmos 'White Sonata'
White perennial pea (Lathyrus latifolia 'Alba')
Lupine 'Noble Maiden'
Lupinus 'Hartweggii' (white annual)
Digitalis purpura 'Alba'
Aquilegia flabellata var. nana alba
Delphinium 'Magic Fountains'
Campanula latifolia alba
Petunia 'Storm White'
Hesperis matronalis 'Alba'
Nicotiana 'Fragrant Cloud'
Nicotiana 'Dwarf White'
Lathyrus odoratus 'Swan Lake'
Lathyrus odoratus 'White Supreme'
Baptisia leucantha
Antirrhinum 'Snowflake'
Borage officials 'Alba'
Ipomoea purpurea 'Pearly Gates'
Ipomoea alba
Centaurea Americana 'Alaska'
Vinca (Catharanthus roseus) 'Cora White'
Angelonia 'Serena White'
Pentas 'Graffiti White'
Lisanthus 'Echo White'
Ageratum 'Cloud Nine'
Pelargonium 'Maverick White'
Ammi Majis 'Graceland'
Godetia 'Dwarf White'
Tanacetum niveum

I will be starting a few more. They may not all actually go into the garden, if it seems as there are too many. And as I mentioned before, there will be many that will not be up to size for planting in the garden the first year.

If even half or a third of these survive and grow well, I will have a good start to the "White Flower Border".
These will support the existing plants which are Iris 'Immortality ' white lilac, white peonies, white rockrose and the very small white Lady Banks rose. The new addition will be Hibiscus 'Blue River II'. By the time these are in bloom, the bulb foliage (hopefully) will have disappeared. In any case, I have planted the iris all along in front of the bulbs, hoping to conceal their dying foliage.

When it comes down to it, the design aspect will be important as having good size healthy plants. I have ideas, and I hope to make a pretty garden. (We will see...) I will post pictures when I have something to show.

This message was edited Apr 14, 2017 10:19 AM

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

What a phenomenal list! You wild and crazy thing!

If it's helpful, the white plants I have in full bloom now are arabis caucausica, trmpet daffodil Mt. Hood and chionodoxa alba.

Next, I think, will be some of white roses - Madame Hardy, Marie Pavie and Morden Snowdrift.

My biggest thrill is that the white sport of Heritage (Rose Marie) made it through the winter and is leafing out. I wasn't sure it would make it.

I will be looking very forward to your pictures.

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Oh, the seeds for Geranium macorrhizum 'White Ness' seeds just arrived from Shanghai. I did not find any seeds for hardy geraniums locally. I am going to give them a try! ☺️

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Quote from DonnaMack :
What a phenomenal list! You wild and crazy thing! (Yes indeed!!!)

I will be looking very forward to your pictures.

Well, you know all the challenges...Weeds, seedlings living, growing, or dying...And all the other nearby beds will HAVE to be weeded...Not perfect, but very close. All of this, especially the white border, can be viewed from the road. So if people stop by to view it, the rest of the enclosed garden area will have to be neat and tidy!!!

I have a feeling that I will be working around the clock on this project.

Within this enclosed garden area (from the deer), are other borders...The Dark Side Garden, The Cottage Garden bed, The Hot Bed and in the the middle there are 9 Square Foot Gardens (4' X 4') which will be full of tomatoes...Also some very large pots along side them, that I had painted in various shades of purple. The last couple of years, there were purple petunias growing in those pots with the tomatoes. They either lived over and/or produced seedlings, so I continued with them. They made a nice accent. And of course, I will have to find space for some squash and beans.

I think that I may not have time to weed all the other areas which have plants...3 sides of the house (deer-proof) and 2 areas near the driveway.

I hope to find some help in weeding.

Do you think that this is too much work for a 75 year old?

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Just came in from doing "the rose thing". Pruning,composting, using soil conditioner, putting down organic rose food, putting down time release rose food, mulching and watering. Tackling the neighbors' invasive weeds. Giving a little more food to the dozens of bulbs that are either blooming or going to bloom soon.Yes, our gardens require a lot from us. Got many of my lettuce and cucumber and other big seedlings into their beds. Started staking the peonies that are so big after only two years that they require it.

But it's the price we pay for having something special. Just try to break it down into pieces. There are days when it;s 6 hours. There are days when it's two.

And 75? You're a baby!!!!!! A great baby!


Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Awww, thanks! 😊

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Donna ~ What peonies do you have?

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Festiva Maxima (3)
Cornelia Shaylor (2)
Mrs. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (2)
Burma Joy (1)
Kansas (1)

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