Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Southern Coasts
March, 2001
Regional Report

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'Baby's Breath' spirea lightens up the early spring shrub border.

The White Way

I don't care what else you have in your garden, you need white flowers. Not only do they soften every other color you plant them next to, they also offer color that pops at daylight and dusk.

White Shrubs

I love the idea of a theme garden devoted to white- flowered shrubs. You can plant such shrubs to bloom throughout the season. The flower show can start with spireas, then move on to ligustrum, gardenias, and oleander, and finally Eleagnus for winter whites. Or mix whites in with other colored shrubs. The beauty of white - the symbol of purity - is it goes with anything and makes a good garden partner for shrubs from photinia to azalea.

White Companions

White flowers can be the best friend to a busy gardener. Many gardeners work all day and arrive home at dusk or later, often missing the prettiest sights. Blue and red flowers are nearly invisible in the low light of evening. But you won't walk past a stand of white impatiens under the oak tree or a mailbox post covered with white jasmine without noticing it. If you have garden lighting, white phlox and roses will glow in the night garden.

Planting Tips

White makes a strong impact on the eye, so you can safely use it at the back of a border and still see it. Choose a flowering plum, pear, or citrus tree as a back border plant. After their white blooms fade, their green leaves make an excellent backdrop. For every white- flowering annual you plant, add three blue or red ones to balance its impact. Stake or otherwise tie up tall white flowers such as Nicotiana alata so the flowers stay clean and off the ground.

Of course, you can also use white in flower arrangements. Just a spray of spirea with ferns and an iris or two makes a powerful statement that goes with any decor.

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