Landscape Design forum: White Flower Border

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Name: Evelyn
Northern CA Sierra foothills - (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: California Annuals Bulbs Butterflies Cat Lover
Foliage Fan Irises Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Image
evelyninthegarden
May 5, 2017 11:22 AM CST
I suppose the idea of a White Flower Border began years ago when I read about Vita Sackville-West and her white flower garden at Sissinghurst Castle, so many years ago.
If you ever get a chance to read about her, she was an interesting person to say the least.

So I am only copying the idea of white border, not actually copying an English garden. I do not have the room (no castle grounds), the help, or the climate. We get snow here every winter, and some in late fall and early spring, as well as moderately hot summers. Not quite as hot as valley temperatures, since we are in the Sierra foothills. The USDA climate map puts us in zone 8, but not at all like other parts of the country that falls within zone 8 territory.

So a few years back, I planted a white lilac (Syringa vulgaris 'Madame Lemoine') and a white sage-leaf rock-rose (Cistus salviifolius). This was before we got the deer fence, and so both plants did get nibbled quite a bit. So, finally when we got the fence up, it was a different story. Over the years, through a few operations and such, it became neglected. My husband did get the weed-Wacker to the area, and mowed the weeds in the middle, just occasionally watering.

There were other plants in there, but what had survived the neglect was the rock-rose, the lilac and the peony, (Paeonia lactiflora 'Festiva Maxima'),which eventually became two. This peony has been described as having red flecks, but I have not seen them.

Oh, and my strawberries were not doing well in the Square Foot Gardens, so I just piled them up there one day, hoping to find them a home, and yes, I actually left them there in a pile! Every now and then, I would water the pile, if they started looking dry. Rolling on the floor laughing

At the time I was recovering from a knee replacement, and then following that a rotator cuff replacement. So all I was able to do at the time was water. I was very frustrated at the state of affairs...the weeds, that is, and my inability to do anything but water. In some areas where there were few flowers, my husband just weed-whacked in there, at that was the state of the garden for a time.

Eventually I began to recover, and yes, I had literally, a lot of ground to cover. There were plants on 3 sides of the house, 2 driveway landscaped areas, and another area looking out the window, a "Hot Bed", which eventually became dismantled due to excessive deer browsing. Oh, yes, and the "Peach of a Garden (for my peach of a husband), which was pretty much a failure from start to finish. The deer loved that garden as well. At the time, my husband wanted to see peach-colored flowers, and since I didn't want them in my other borders, I made a dedicated color-themed bed. The only problem was that very few of the flowers bloomed together and was very spotty. And what did bloom, became food for the deer.

So, I did have a lot on my hands. I was working full-time and so I watered and weeded before and after work.

Now back to the White Flower Border...it was the last one to get weeded, as every year I started all around the house first, then worked my way out from there. Buy the time I got to the "bare bones" of the white garden, you guessed it! Yes, weeds! There were strawberries everywhere, as the weeds didn't bother them at all. And the birds loved them, as I had not protected them in any way from the birds. When we did get a few, oh my, they were delicious! And, of course, they had white flowers, so I just left them in there..."for now".
I have 'Grape Expectations' for making progress in the gardens....
[Last edited by evelyninthegarden - May 7, 2017 2:23 PM (+)]
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Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
Image
Steve812
May 5, 2017 1:35 PM CST
I will admit that I never did quite understand the white flower border idea. I've never gardened with a great mass of white flowered annuals blooming in the border; so it's an idea that I know I will never quite get. Not without some modification.

I planted an area with artemisia. And it kinda took over. I interplanted iris there. And the foliage matched perfectly. Then I bought some gray pots. If I had to do it over again, I might buy blue ones. I planted pinks (sorry, I forget whether they were white, red or pink pinks) in the gray pots. Now I have gray artemisia, iris, pots, and pinks. I've been trying to settle on what blooming plants to grow with them. In one area I have three Europeana roses. The red flowers work well with the gray. So, too, the reddish new foliage.

What does this have to do with a white border? I keep promising myself I'll do that here. I planted a white-flowered rose, Claire Austin, but the foliage is way to grassy green for the space, and I've removed two of three. I have some volunteer white-flowered yarrow. There are moments when I like to see tufts of this growing here; which is good it comes up whether I want it or not. I've planted two Sombreuil roses with nice dark foliage, a Baltimore Belle on a pillar, a white-flowered noisette rose Joan of Arc that has delightfully dark green foliage, and a Darlow's Enigma where I'm sure it will get in the way. There are two brand new Stephen's Purple roses that look like they might just do OK. There's also a pair of trachelospermum jasminoides, confederate jasmine growing at one end of the space. Or they will be soon; they die to the ground over winter and are just now coming up from the roots.

But evidently I keep changing my mind. Eight iris that I planted last year - iris that I have been imagining for some time to have white flowers - have bloomed deep purple. It's a shade that works well with the artemisia as well as the roses. But, really, I was expecting white. So much for the white garden.

I decided to try planting Weigelia Wine and Roses among the artemisia. Plants came in and the foliage is just the wrong color to go with artemisia. Too much yellow. I'll cultivate these plants for a year or so before I decide whether to move them.

I'm sure that I'll regret planting the very pale-leafed verbascum from Annies Annuals & Perennials. Verbascum bombyciferum can be a monster; but that foliage... it's much paler than the artemisia or the salvia argenteum which I intended to be planting here. So who could resist?

Maybe next year I'll try some white annual. I think some rocket snapdragons could be squeezed into areas between artemesias, iris, and roses. At their height of bloom, I imagine that we won't even notice the foliage. Maybe I'll have a white garden that also features red roses, purple roses, and rosy colored weigela blossoms. A lot depends on the gophers.
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Evelyn
Northern CA Sierra foothills - (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: California Annuals Bulbs Butterflies Cat Lover
Foliage Fan Irises Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Image
evelyninthegarden
May 7, 2017 1:13 AM CST
I have begun to refresh this area for the proposed garden. I have removed many lilac suckers, as it is not a large bed, and I wanted more room for flowers. My neighbor helped me dig out a dead dogwood tree as it had succumbed to the long drought and prolonged heat of the summer. It used to be in the shade of a pine tree. The strawberries are nearly cleared, though just a few remain right now.

I was saving the balance of the strawberries for a neighbor and she took about one-third of the remaining plants. So I dug another bed extending the area in which I have already dug. Actually there are a few asparagus in there, so the strawberries should keep the soil from drying out an keep the asparagus happy. They might look a little funny, poking through the strawberries, but that is what I had available. Today was foggy, then it rained, so I was not able to do anything in the garden today. It is supposed to rain tomorrow.

Maybe I'll sow some more seeds. Sometimes when I get so busy in spring, especially weeding, I forget to sow some delightful summer annuals. I have also sown some perennials and they are on the back porch. I have no greenhouse or potting shed, so I make do with what I have. But right now, there is little room left on the porch. I do have a couple of shelves in the basement with shoplights, and 3 small shelves in my bedroom with heat mats. I need to move some of those, and start more, as they are not on heat now.
I have 'Grape Expectations' for making progress in the gardens....
Name: Evelyn
Northern CA Sierra foothills - (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: California Annuals Bulbs Butterflies Cat Lover
Foliage Fan Irises Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Image
evelyninthegarden
May 7, 2017 1:21 AM CST
Thumb of 2017-05-07/evelyninthegarden/0b9d44

This is the main area, where it has been cleaned and mulched, though weeds still do come up. I may have to put on more mulch.
Thumb of 2017-05-07/evelyninthegarden/9b814b
This is the remainder of the strawberry plants. I also have some more that I have dug up, but not yet planted. I may have to widen the area where I am putting the strawberry plants as they are crowded already. And since I have them, we might as well enjoy them. I like to make a lot of fruit salad in summer.
I have 'Grape Expectations' for making progress in the gardens....
Name: Evelyn
Northern CA Sierra foothills - (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: California Annuals Bulbs Butterflies Cat Lover
Foliage Fan Irises Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Image
evelyninthegarden
May 7, 2017 8:58 PM CST
Rather than digging a new bed, of which I really did not have a new area with enough sun, I decided to expand the existing beds. Of course, with most garden ideas, it is always more work than one can foresee.

On one side going from north to south, there was landscape weed barrier, which held pretty well. The only problem was that soil and weeds were on top of it, so it was a challenge to extricate. It took a good while, as there was bark also mixed in with everything, as it was meant to be a walkway. After that, I worked on the weeds that were facing the east-west "leg" of the bed, and extending, moving the violets to the front, then placing more strawberries inside. I am almost through. I still have a few strawberry plants in the cart as well as a few in the old bed, which will get a thorough cleaning once all the plants and weeds are out. Then a lot of mulch, some dug in, and then some on top as well. I will be adding a few amendments in there after that is done. I worked from about 2:00 PM until about 5:30 PM as it was cold and windy, then sunny, then changeable. Taking off the sweatshirt, and putting it back on several times in the course of my endeavors. Even though it rained yesterday and last night, it was not much.

I hope that my next post will be more interesting, as the work part really isn't. I have received an order from Hallson Gardens, including the Hibiscus 'Blue River II'!
I have 'Grape Expectations' for making progress in the gardens....
Name: Evelyn
Northern CA Sierra foothills - (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: California Annuals Bulbs Butterflies Cat Lover
Foliage Fan Irises Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Image
evelyninthegarden
May 7, 2017 9:03 PM CST
I have 'Grape Expectations' for making progress in the gardens....
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
Image
Steve812
May 8, 2017 7:05 AM CST
I'd love to see a plant list, even a tentative one. Maybe listed in order of bloom time.

Does Hibiscus Blue River II bloom at the same time as the strawberries? Can they be seen together? There's a curious echo in form between the two.
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Evelyn
Northern CA Sierra foothills - (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: California Annuals Bulbs Butterflies Cat Lover
Foliage Fan Irises Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Image
evelyninthegarden
May 8, 2017 12:13 PM CST
Steve ~ The strawberry plants are in bloom now. The hibiscus bloom in mid to late summer. I will be posting a list soon. Right now, the sun is shining and I must get to work! Thank you for your interest.
I have 'Grape Expectations' for making progress in the gardens....
Name: Evelyn
Northern CA Sierra foothills - (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: California Annuals Bulbs Butterflies Cat Lover
Foliage Fan Irises Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Image
evelyninthegarden
May 8, 2017 9:15 PM CST
I finished digging out all the violets and strawberry plants, yet as I surveyed the area, I notice that there were some small plants left in there. I won't be home tomorrow, or the next day with appointments, so I will continue on Friday, if the weather is clear.

I had to expand the new strawberry bed to accommodate the extra plants, since I did not have another location available behind the deer fence. That is what took most of the time. It is a bed at right angles, one part going east to west, then a curve, then north to south.

The post with the pictures is at the All Things Gardening Forum. I will only be posting pictures directly related to the White Flower Border. I have been taking the strawberries and violets out of the White Flower Border in order to make it look nicer as the strawberries were taking up too much space.

The thread "Daily gardening thread for everyone" in All Things Gardening forum

I have 'Grape Expectations' for making progress in the gardens....
Name: Evelyn
Northern CA Sierra foothills - (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: California Annuals Bulbs Butterflies Cat Lover
Foliage Fan Irises Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Image
evelyninthegarden
May 8, 2017 9:50 PM CST
So far what I have in there:

White Lilac (now in bloom) 'Lemoine'
A row of Iris 'Immortality', hopefully that will help to conceal the dying foliage of the white daffodils and tulips
At the foot of the lilac - white violets and Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft)
near that, Veronica 'Icicle'
Wild daisies in groups scattered about (will eventually be replaced, but I had them, and didn't have to buy them, or grow them from seed, and they will be instant "non-color" Rolling on the floor laughing
Cistus salvifolia (pure white, no spots)
Anemone coronaria 'The Bride'

Newly planted:

Rosa 'White Lady Banks'
Spirea vanhouttei
Lupine 'Gallery White'
Delphinium 'Innocence'
Linaria purpurea 'Alba'
Nemophila menziesii 'Snow White'
Nicotiana alata grandiflora
Agrostemma githago 'Ocean Pearls'
Scabiousa caucasica 'Perfecta Alba'

I have on order:

Rosa 'Cl. Iceberg'
Hibiscus 'Blue River II'
Anemone 'Honorine Jobert'

I have sowed but not yet planted as most are too small...

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.

Then the other day, when I went to get supplies at the nursery, I purchased a Spiraea vanhoutttei, in a one gallon container. I know it will get big, but was happy to get it when it is small.

I have 'Grape Expectations' for making progress in the gardens....
Name: Evelyn
Northern CA Sierra foothills - (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: California Annuals Bulbs Butterflies Cat Lover
Foliage Fan Irises Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Image
evelyninthegarden
May 8, 2017 10:29 PM CST
Here are some pictures from earlier in the year...

Thumb of 2017-05-09/evelyninthegarden/d21b9e

Anemone coronaria 'The Bride'

Thumb of 2017-05-09/evelyninthegarden/802928

I have 'Grape Expectations' for making progress in the gardens....
Name: Evelyn
Northern CA Sierra foothills - (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: California Annuals Bulbs Butterflies Cat Lover
Foliage Fan Irises Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Image
evelyninthegarden
May 8, 2017 10:39 PM CST
Thumb of 2017-05-09/evelyninthegarden/3ae7ef
Narcissus 'Princess Zaide'

Thumb of 2017-05-09/evelyninthegarden/c0beba

Iberis sempervirens
Thumb of 2017-05-09/evelyninthegarden/18eb82

Tulip 'White Marvel'
I have 'Grape Expectations' for making progress in the gardens....
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
Image
Steve812
May 9, 2017 11:08 AM CST
Lovely! Great list.

OK, now I'm just beginning to get it. Lots of great structure here in the lupins and delphiniums, for example. Waves of moonflowers. And plenty of fragrance. Something white blooming in every season.

I find the list inspiring. I just planted a few white lupins this spring and to my great surprise and delight some of them have not yet died.

When you are successful in growing the Honorine Jobert, I'd be happy for any pointers. I failed with it convincingly in NJ; but I was even more stupid and neglectful in garden matters then than I am now. Same goes for for the lathyrus odorata and the nicotiana. I've never got an anemone to sprout. Is it possible I've planted every one of hundreds of them upside down? I can't imagine I'm that careful Grumbling

Does anyone grow magnolias in CA? Their huge white flowers are set off perfectly by the dark glossy foliage. Might be a good backdrop: if you have a lot of space for the poject.

Am I wrong, or is vinca so named because of its invincibility, its ability to smother everything smaller than a 30 year old maple tree? Is it possible to introduce this after other plants are established? Can one sequester it in a kind of foolproof planter and prevent it from rooting everywhere it touches ground? I love the idea of a kind of continuous underlying carpet, but is there some less dangerous way to obscure the mulch? The one volunteer vinca on my property graciously established where there were absolutely no other plants; but inside of three seasons it foreclosed on the possibility that there might ever be any there. Is there a white-flowering thyme, for example, that could work?

Are there plants with white variegation that are cold hardy in your zone? Other than variegated vinca? Is the "white" variegation in all hardy plants too yellow for your plan? Maybe there's a white variegated grass or sedge that would carry the white idea through non-blooming times? Calamagrostis Avalanche http://www.perennialfarm.com/i... , or Carex Silve Scepter, or Liriope Silver Dragon, for example. Not sure this is helping you as much as it is me...

I'm really looking forward to the updates!
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Evelyn
Northern CA Sierra foothills - (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: California Annuals Bulbs Butterflies Cat Lover
Foliage Fan Irises Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Image
evelyninthegarden
May 9, 2017 8:39 PM CST
Steve ~ The vinca that I have listed is an annual that I am growing from seed, Catharanthus roseus, not Vinca major or Vinca minor, as that would pose the same problem that the strawberry plants did.

This area in northern CA gets too cold for the tropical Magnolia grandiflora though many can grow Magnolia soulangeana in a sheltered location, as many times their blooms can be spoiled by late frosts. I already have lots of tall trees on the property, pine, oak, cedar and doug fir, though I do not want any more shade than we already have. Especially since I have 9 Square Foot Gardens (4' X 4' X 1') for vegetables. There was a small dogwood tree that succumbed to the heat and drought due to the removal of on large pine tree that cast too much shade on the vegetable area. So that was also recently moved, and I moved the Japanese Maple into a shadier area, as it always stressed under the hot sun of summer.

Yes, I do have some of those variegated plants in my shady garden.

Don't feel bad about losing seedlings...I do it all the time. Yes, I am lucky to get them from the seed stage to the size to plant in the garden stage. I lose a lot, but just keep on trying. It is this time of year that I usually give up on seed-starting as there is so much to do outside. This is the time to start quick-growing annuals to fill in until the perennials get up to size. Maybe "this year will be different"...

I have sown a row of alyssum over a month ago, and the little things are finally making an appearance. When you sow in place, you don't know if the rain washes them away or not. Well, anyway, this was very old seed, and I have more. Maybe I'll start some on a heat mat to speed it up a bit. I have already made some purchases with plants, but I would like to keep it at a minimum as my budget is limited. You can get so many more plants from seed for the price of just one plant. Still, many of the perennials will not be ready this season from seed.
I have 'Grape Expectations' for making progress in the gardens....
Name: Evelyn
Northern CA Sierra foothills - (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: California Annuals Bulbs Butterflies Cat Lover
Foliage Fan Irises Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Image
evelyninthegarden
May 15, 2017 12:41 AM CST
There is rain predicted for tomorrow. Today I planted the 'Iceberg' rose that I picked up from the nursery today.

If it rains tomorrow, I may start some more seeds.

The peonies are in bud, so it won't be long now until we see some flowers.
I have 'Grape Expectations' for making progress in the gardens....
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
Image
Steve812
May 15, 2017 9:02 AM CST
Evelyn, thank you for the clarification on vinca.

Gophers, here, discovering that they liked strawberries long before they were ripe went after the plants, too. So I had to move them into pots and they are recovering.

Wondering if you have considered Datura. It has the charming property of disappearing completely during the winter months and not even trying to come up here in zone 7b until May after the tulip's foliage is withered. Perfect companion for some white tulip beds, I should think. I'm a fan of the confederate jasmine, Trachelospermum jaminoides, it's only just cold hardy here, but it might work for you. I love the dark shiny foliage and am a great fan of the fragrance.

Good Luck with Iceberg (seriously.) When it's well grown and happy it can still be among the best landscape roses today. I've failed with it so convincingly early on that I've not tried it since.
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Evelyn
Northern CA Sierra foothills - (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: California Annuals Bulbs Butterflies Cat Lover
Foliage Fan Irises Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Image
evelyninthegarden
May 15, 2017 6:00 PM CST
Steve ~ I am not looking for a ground cover, but thank you for your suggestion. Actually, I am allergic to its fragrance. I will have a small area with creeping phlox and some other areas with veronica and campanula. Just some small areas.
I have 'Grape Expectations' for making progress in the gardens....
Name: Evelyn
Northern CA Sierra foothills - (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: California Annuals Bulbs Butterflies Cat Lover
Foliage Fan Irises Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Image
evelyninthegarden
May 25, 2017 11:36 AM CST
I just lost a long post with pictures. Will try again later.
I have 'Grape Expectations' for making progress in the gardens....
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
Image
Steve812
May 25, 2017 11:44 AM CST
Sighing!
Sorry to hear that.

Sometimes when I'm working on a blog post I'll do it in a word processor. Cut and paste works for the text, but you still need to upload the photos the old fashioned way.
When you dance with nature, try not to step on her toes.
Name: Evelyn
Northern CA Sierra foothills - (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: California Annuals Bulbs Butterflies Cat Lover
Foliage Fan Irises Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Image
evelyninthegarden
May 25, 2017 12:50 PM CST
That post was just from my phone. That is where the pictures are!
I have 'Grape Expectations' for making progress in the gardens....

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