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There is something magical about a white garden. It has a freshness and purity that is difficult to achieve with other colours.

White planting schemes look chic and elegant without being boring. There is no risk of clashing colours or plants that don’t ‘go’.

The simplicity allows you to focus on more complex design ideas and structure. To achieve this, you’ll want to incorporate blooms with different shapes, texture, and emphasising height, to bring your white garden to life. Here are ten of my favourite varieties that you could include:

Orlaya grandiflora (white laceflower)

This delicate variety has flower heads that resemble umbellifers, that grow up to 1 metre for some medium height in your border. It’s a hardy annual that flowers June to September.

• Sun – Full sun
• Position – South facing
• Exposure – Exposed or sheltered
• Moisture – Well-drained
• Soil – Sand, chalk or loam

Rhododendron ‘Cunningham’s White’

An evergreen shrub that will add all-year-round colour with funnel shaped flowers appearing in late spring. Growing to over 2 metres tall and around 4 metres wide, this is sure to add some structure and volume.

• Sun – Partial shade or full sun
• Position – South, West, North or East facing
• Exposure – Sheltered or exposed
• Moisture – Moist but well-drained
• Soil – Sand, clay or loam

Delphinium ‘Guardia White’

Spires of flowers like delphinium and lupins are great for adding height to borders. This variety has clear, pure-white flowers that bloom in early to mid-summer.

• Sun – Full sun
• Position – South or West facing
• Exposure – Sheltered
• Moisture – Moist but well-drained
• Soil – Sand, chalk or loam

Arrowwood ‘Park Farm Hybrid’

This is a hardy woody shrub that produces dense balls of tiny white, fragranced flowers, like snowballs. In autumn red fruit appears, which later turns black.

• Sun – Full sun, partial shade or full shade
• Position – South, North, East or West facing
• Exposure – Sheltered or exposed
• Moisture – Well-drained
• Soil – Clay, loam, sand or chalk

Cytisus x praecox ‘Albus’

A good bushy shrub with slender green stems bearing delicate white flowers in spring. The small flower size will bring a striking texture to the border.

• Sun – Full sun
• Position – South or West facing
• Exposure – Exposed or sheltered
• Moisture – Well-drained
• Soil – Loam, sand, chalk

Silene alpestris ‘Flore Pleno’

A delicate alpine perennial that will thrive at the front of borders, that is evergreen and will provide sprays of white button-like flowers through the summer.

• Sun – Full sun or partial shade
• Position – South, North, West or East facing
• Exposure – Exposed or sheltered
• Moisture – Well-drained
• Soil – Sand, chalk or loam

Lunaria annua ‘Alba Variegata’

This spring-flowering plant with lovely white flowers and patterned leaves will self-seed freely around the border. In addition, they’re a popular plant for pollinators.

• Sun – Full sun or partial shade
• Position – South, West or East facing
• Exposure – Exposed or sheltered
• Moisture – Well-drained
• Soil – Sand, chalk or loam

Convolvulus cneorum (shrubby bindweed)

Sometimes known as silverbush, this small evergreen shrub has silvery leaves and white trumpet shaped flowers in spring and summer.

• Sun – Full sun
• Position – South or West facing
• Exposure – Sheltered
• Moisture – Well-drained
• Soil – Sand, chalk or loam

Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Wirral Supreme’

These gorgeous white Shasta daisies with glossy green leaves and white flowers will attract plenty of pollinators.

• Sun – Full sun or partial shade
• Position – South, East or West facing
• Exposure – Sheltered
• Moisture – Moist but well-drained
• Soil – Sand, chalk, loam or clay

Anthriscus sylvestris ‘Ravenswing’

For something a little darker, try this cow parsley with deep purple-black foliage. It is great for adding some depth to a white garden, and the tiny lacy flowers will complement it with great texture.

• Sun – Full sun or partial shade
• Position – South, East or West facing
• Exposure – Sheltered or exposed
• Moisture – Well-drained
• Soil – Sand, chalk, clay or loam

Try white varieties of rose, primula and foxglove for a more cottage garden style. For late summer blooms, plant phlox, dahlias and echinacea. Add spring height with white tulips and alliums.

Border backdrop

white-garden RHS 50 years in bloom garden at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2014

To make your white border sing, the white flowers will need a rich green backdrop. The success to a white garden comes from complementing them with foliage plants.

Many people use the classic box plant, Buxus, for a formal garden look. But there are so many more great candidates. For tree height, the silvery stems of birch add an extra white element.

This silvery-green Elaeaganus ‘Quicksilver’ is a stunning tree for a small garden. Whilst Stachys byzantina (lamb’s ear) and Centaurea cineraria (dusty miller) both have great pale silver leaves.

Plants with variegated and yellow foliage will provide some extra colour and charm too. Ivy, Cornus, Brunnera and Calamagrostis grasses all have lovely patterned leaves.

Dynamic design

Plan out a new border on a piece of paper before you start planting. It will help you see how much space your plants need to ensure you fill the space without overcrowding.

I like to plant from front to back, starting with the lowest growing varieties at the front and get taller as you go back.

Let me know which white plants are your favourite in the comments or over on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Spring is on its way, see my post on spring pollinators:

Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas:

spring pollinators
Spring pollinators
Pinterest Board


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