Garden inspiration: green & white

Over the past few weekends, I’ve slowly been putting my container garden together. On my last visit to my local nursery, I loaded up on impatiens—I have prodigious amounts of shade in the back, and I find that these are always a good bet. They seem to thrive in my shady backyard.

I typically choose bright colors in the pink family—deep purply-pinks, magentas, and fuschias. But since pink impatiens seemed to be less plentiful this time around at the nursery, and since I like to stay within the same color family (I don’t like to mix it up too too much), I purchased white impatiens instead, along with some English ivy. Here’s how the plants look all potted up:

You can see Archie enjoying a green summer morning in the distance. I’ve been enjoying taking my coffee out on the patio in the mornings as well, when it’s still cool. I love starting my day by being surrounded by fresh green and white.

One of the challenges that I face with my container garden is that, in addition to having lots of shade, the exterior of my house is quite dark. Living in an English Tudor-style house, this is to be expected of course, and I’m not complaining—I love the style of my home. That said, the patio in back (which I like to call my little “lanai” area) at times can feel a little gloomy, and I find myself having to find ways to lighten it up a bit back there!

For an antidote, I gathered ideas and inspiration from this amazing garden by landscape and garden designer Deborah Silver. This is work that she did for a client who also lives in a Tudor home and wanted something more modern for the design of their garden. Silver suggests that green and white can have a more “sculptural” feel. Limiting the palette to green and white provides a more modern, “edited” approach to gardening with a “crisply contemporary” result.

One of the benefits of using white flowers in your garden design is that they really “pop” against a dark backdrop and even provide a bit of illumination as the day wanes. White blooms can be the dazzling little stars of a summer evening.

I love this window-box—it feels like it’s run a little run riot, which gives it a more casual look and really adds a bit of whimsy to what might otherwise be stern brick facade. Green angelina, euphorbia (what a name!), and licorice feature here:

I’m going to take some cues from Silver as I think about adding some containers to my back patio area. Here she features large and quite wide terra cotta urns with a profusion of white annuals. The monochromatic scheme feels very modern, but still in keeping with the architecture of the home. For more on Deborah Silver’s garden design, click here.

I’m also considering adding some perennials in white for this darkest area of my garden. For ideas and guidance for choosing appropriate plants, I turned to the American Horticultural Society’s Northeast SMARTGARDEN Regional Guide.

This an absolutely encyclopedic reference with an incredible number of useful categories: In the spreads below, you see selections from the category “summer perennials with white flowers.” You can then cross reference using other criteria, say, “perennials for moist shade” (which definitely describes my garden), to ensure better success with the plantings you choose. In addition to being a useful reference, the photography is lovely:

I’ll leave you with some lovely green and white garden images that I have run across as I’ve been putting my inspiration board together. First this, via Linen & Lavender:

Via OregonLive:

 Inspiring botanicals from creative mint:

I love the simple design (and the pachysandra, which I have lots of!) in this image via Houzz:

This image via My Crafty Home Life. I’m such a sucker for boxwood and climbing roses, so this is like hitting the garden jackpot:

Sissinghurst garden via Robin De Groot Design:

And finally this image via Pinterest from Houzz:

What do you think of the green and white garden? I don’t know about you, but I certainly feel refreshed—which is no small feat, considering the heat wave we’ve had today!


Anna xo

The Writer

Writer & Residence blog. A blog dedicated to two of my favourite things, interior design, and writing.

  1. Love the green and white theme! There are some beautiful hostas that have white flowers and they love the shade and of course return each year. It can be hard to find plants that like to flower well in the shade. New Guinea impatience come in white too and of course there are incredible ferns with delicate fronds that are perrenials. White columbine for any early bloomer perhaps. Look a M Stewart’s blog, she has several shade gardens around her Bedford home that are inspiring too.
    Nice work, and don’t be shy to fertilize. I don’t think it is possible to overwater impatience either.

    1. I love these suggestions, Val. I’ve been thinking about putting in hostas, and ferns would be lovely too. I’ll have to do a little research on white colombine since I don’t know much about that one. In my Northeast Guide, one of the other recommendations I ran across was white wild indigo, which I would have never thought of, but it’s lovely and apparently quite easy to grow. I will check out Martha’s blog for more shade garden suggestions–thanks! 🙂

  2. I love the simple palette of green and white–it is soothing and refreshing. I like the idea of doing it against a darker background (i.e. Tudor Style) to make everything pop.

  3. Love this piece. White and green should always be seen. Archie seems to fit the limited palette too!

  4. My posts never appear here Anna….do you edit them? It seems odd, I enter name and email, I have no webpage….They are never to be seen again.

    1. Sorry, Val! And thanks for bringing it to my attention–my spam filter, which I had to install recently, was misidentifying yours and a few other comments! The problem should be fixed now, but I’ll be sure to double-check that folder more frequently just to make sure…

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