01 of 18
White Flowers, "Oak" Leaves
White Flowers for Moonlight Gardens, Transitions
White flowers provide a neutral color in mixed plantings. Neutral colors allow for transition between stronger hues. White flowers can also be used to soften the effect of loud color schemes or stand on their own in a monochromatic scheme (e.g., all-white gardens). Others use white flowers in moon gardens (or "moonlight gardens"). View my pictures of white flowers to consider some of the choices available.
Grown as often for their interesting foliage as for their blooms, oakleaf hydrangeas do, nonetheless, produce attractive white blossoms....
The scientific plant name of oakleaf hydrangeas is Hydrangea quercifolia, the species name being a reference to this bush's interesting leaf shape (quercifolia literally means "oakleaf" in Latin). But oakleaf hydrangeas also put out noteworthy white blossoms, which later dry out and remain on the bush for some time.
But what of the genus name, Hydrangea? Well, we're all familiar with the Greek root hydr- as a reference to water, as in "hydrate." Meanwhile, angeon comes from the Greek for "vessel." So in what sense is a hydrangea a water vessel? Well, most species require a lot of watering. Fortunately, oakleaf hydrangeas are an exception in this regard.Continue to 2 of 18 below.
02 of 18
Picture of Mountain Laurel Shrubs
Picture of a mountain laurel shrubs....
For more, including additional pictures, please see my full article on mountain laurel shrubs.
Don't confuse mountain laurel bushes (natives of North America) with bay laurel trees (Laurus nobilis). In ancient Greece and ancient Rome, people used the leaves of bay laurel to make wreaths to be worn on the head as a crown (the victory laurel). It is still used as a symbol of victory in the Olympics. It is also the bay laurel that is used as a flavoring agent in cooking, often referred to as "bay leaf."
Since it is a Mediterranean plant, it is not surprising that it is bay laurel, not mountain laurel, that is involved in the myth of Daphne and Apollo. In case you have forgotten your mythology, Daphne, fleeing the god, Apollo, was turned into a bay laurel tree by her father, the river god Peneius, lest Apollo overtake her. By the way, although Daphne gave her name to the shrub, daphne, that shrub merely bears an appearance similar to bay laurel.
But for that matter, mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia), despite its common name, is of an entirely different genus than bay laurel. Indeed, while the foliage of bay laurel trees is used as a culinary herb, mountain laurel is a poisonous plant!Continue to 3 of 18 below.
03 of 18
Picture of White Daffodil Flowers
Picture of white daffodil flowers....
Perhaps you're wondering, "What's the difference between 'daffodil' flowers and 'narcissus' flowers?" The answer is none, according to the American Daffodil Society (ADS), which states that the two are synonymous:
"Narcissus is the Latin or botanical name for all daffodils, just as ilex is for hollies. Daffodil is the common name for all members of the genus Narcissus...."
The same organization also explains how "jonquil" flowers differ from "daffodil" flowers, citing a general (not a hard-and-fast) rule that says that jonquils "have several yellow flowers, strong scent, and rounded foliage."
Likewise, "Paperwhite" refers to a type of Narcissus. These plants therefore qualify as "daffodils"; they have white flowers.Continue to 4 of 18 below.
04 of 18
Picture of Star Magnolia Tree
Picture of star magnolia tree (Magnolia stellata)....
Because star magnolia trees are among the earliest flowers to greet us each spring, a special place in our hearts is reserved for them: they come to the rescue after the long winter, when our psyches most desperately crave floral color. It holds true for all of the earliest bloomers: whatever other fine qualities they may possess, plants such as star magnolia trees win us over most of all with their timeliness.Continue to 5 of 18 below.
05 of 18
Picture of Callery Pear Tree
Picture of a callery pear tree (Pyrus calleryana)....
Callery pear trees are not suitable for areas subject to high winds. They are notorious for suffering broken branches in storms. However, they do hold up well against street pollution. That's the reason why they line the downtown streets of so many cities and large towns.Continue to 6 of 18 below.
06 of 18
Picture of Autumn Clematis Vines
Picture of autumn clematis vines (Clematis terniflora)....
Because they bloom later, sweet autumn clematis vines complement other varieties quite nicely.Continue to 7 of 18 below.
07 of 18
But this vine is a better choice than sweet autumn clematis, because the latter is invasive. Confederate jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides), also commonly called "star jasmine," is native to the American Southeast. It is grown largely for its fragrant flowers, which is the main reason why it is referred to commonly as a "jasmine," since it is actually a member of a completely different genus. Its leaves do, however, offer added value: they are shiny and dark-green.
The flowers grow in clusters and bloom in May in many parts of the Southeast. These vines are climbers: They climb by twining and will climb as much as 20 feet up a support. If you don't feel like providing them with an arbor, pergola, etc. to scale, you can still use them as ground covers.Continue to 8 of 18 below.
08 of 18
White Flowers, Spicy Aroma
The white flower clusters of Korean spice viburnum, tinged with pink, have a spicy smell....
The blossoms of Korean spice viburnums are among the landscape's most fragrant flowers.
Beginners in landscaping may be confused by the name "Korean spice viburnum." So if you've avoided this shrub because of a lack of interest in Korean cuisine, it may be time to take a closer look at this versatile plant. The "spice" in its name has nothing to do with your taste buds and everything to do with another of your senses: smell.Continue to 9 of 18 below.
09 of 18
Bedding Plant, Ground Cover With White Flowers
Alternatively, planted by itself, this annual flower can function as a temporary ground cover. Note that white alyssum is distinct from the perennial, yellow alyssum. Annual alyssum flowers can also be purple or rose, as well as other colors.
If you're the type of gardener who bothers only with the new and flashy (or who grows nothing but perennials), then white alyssum may not be for you. But if you strive to make your yard look like a million bucks during the summer, there's a place in your landscaping for annuals such as alyssum.Continue to 10 of 18 below.
10 of 18
Ground Cover With White Flowers
But snow in summer is about more than just the blooms. Its silvery foliage recommends it for use in combination with all sorts of other plants (I like a color combination of silver and red, myself), and it has a velvety feel.
Plants with silver foliage are not only attractive to admire in isolation but can provide an interesting backdrop for the flowers of other plants. The usefulness of snow in summer is not restricted, then, to its blooming period. Try snow in summer in a planting bed featuring the flowers of red salvia, for instance.
Like white flowers, leaves of a silver color are also great choices for moon gardens, because they show up at night relatively well. Happily, snow in summer has both those attributes going for it.Continue to 11 of 18 below.
11 of 18
Mock Orange: Aromatic White Flowers
The wonderfully aromatic shrub, mock orange, is rather unfortunately named for what it is not, rather than for what it is....
Mock orange may not be a true orange, but this much is clear: there's no reason to mock mock orange shrubs. Mock orange merits a place in your yard if you are at all sensitive to scent.
Readers of Alice in Wonderland will be reminded of the Mock Turtle character in that book, a name based on a soup. In Britain, many years ago, green sea turtle soup was all the rage. But when the main ingredient for the real thing was lacking, another meat (veal, for instance) was substituted and a “mock” appended to the dish’s name to reveal the fraud — when folks were being honest about it, at least.Continue to 12 of 18 below.
12 of 18
White Flowers, Variegated Leaves
White to light pink in color, the tubular flowers of daphne shrubs unfurl in clusters....
Daphne shrubs bloom generally in May, but I value 'Carol Mackie' daphne shrubs just as much for their variegated leaves as for their blossoms. The flower buds, which are pink, are just as attractive as the flowers. I hold a similar opinion about the flower buds of mountain laurels.
Speaking of the laurels, daphne bears some resemblance to them. This resemblance accounts for the name: in Greek mythology, Daphne was magically changed into a bay laurel to aid her in her escape from Apollo.
How well the name, "daphne" suits this endearing little shrub! It's a name I've liked for some time now, but I'm not sure if the attraction began before or after I became aware of the character, Daphne Moon on the American TV series, Frasier....Continue to 13 of 18 below.
13 of 18
White Flowers, Sweet Aroma
Purple, lavender and white lilacs are all commonly seen in the landscape....
In zone 5, lilacs close out the spring season and usher in the summer. Complement your lilacs by growing other shrubs that bloom earlier in spring. Deadhead lilacs after they have bloomed.
What I love most about lilacs is the sweet aroma of their flowers. If there's one aroma I associate with May even more than the smell of newly-mown grass, it's the fragrance of lilacs.Continue to 14 of 18 below.
14 of 18
Picture of Queen Anne's Lace Flower
Picture of a Queen Anne's lace flower....
Queen Anne's lace is a wildflower related to the carrot.Continue to 15 of 18 below.
15 of 18
Picture of White Allium Flowers
Picture of a white allium flowers. You don't need rich soil to grow alliums, nor are they eaten by rodent or deer pests....
The ornamental flowering alliums, although relatives of plain old garlic, are much more impressive bloomers. Nor are you restricted to white blooms. "Globemaster" allium, for instace, bears striking purple blossoms. This giant, grown in hardiness zones 4-9, stands 35"-40" tall and flowers in late spring. As its name suggests, the blossoms are globe-shaped; and they're huge, measuring several inches across. The flower heads are actually composed of numerous star-shaped florets (up to 1,000 of them!).Continue to 16 of 18 below.
16 of 18
Picture of White Cleome Flowers
Picture of a white cleome flowers (Cleome hassleriana), nicknamed "spider plants" and "cat's whiskers"....
At 3 to 6 feet, cleome flowers are tall enough to be planted in the back row of a planting bed. Although an annual, it re-seeds readily. Cleome flowers also come in the colors, pink and purple. Some cleome flowers are bi-colored.Continue to 17 of 18 below.
17 of 18
18 of 18