08 Dec 2021

Gardening: Create a magical white and silver garden

With Jo McGarry of Caragh Nurseries

Gardening: Create a magical white and silver garden

The White Garden, Loseley Gardens, Surry, UK

Gardens can be magical at any time of day, but there is something especially magical about gardens as dusk falls, the edges blur and reality recedes the tiniest bit. Isn’t that the time when it’s easiest to believe in fairies, magic and another dimension just beyond our senses?

For many of us, first thing in the morning and late in the day is when we most often have time to spend in our gardens. As the light dims, the coloUrs of the rainbow start to recede. However, as the moon rises, white flowers and silver foliage take central stage.

If you haven’t considered the joys of a white garden before, now might be the perfect time to add some white and silver to your garden and watch it take on another dimension from dawn to dusk.

When using white flowers, the first ones that always come to mind are the hydrangeas, with Annabelle being the most popular white flowering, and for good reason. Do also try Hydrangea Limelight, a paniculata variety. Rather than the large mopheads we are used to, it has a more cone-shaped head, but is much more reliable in its flowering and continuity.

Prims White is a smaller bloom, but with a much longer flowering period. The climbing hydrangea Pietiolaris is also a lovely, dreamy kind of white flower. It looks stunning when softening walls and clings well so it doesn’t usually need trellis or wires.

Some of the loveliest of flowering shrubs flower with beautiful white flowers are Viburnum Carlephalum or Mariesii, Rhododendron Cunninghams White and Saraccoca confusa Hellebore Niger. Choisya Dazzler is another stunning shrub. All give year round foliage with the bonus of white flowers at different stages of the year.

Add perennial interest with Leucanthemum with their white daisy heads, Delphinium Pure White, Geranium alba or Astilbe Weiss for real showstopping blooms. Another plant that I keep raving about - it is in just about every garden that I plant at this stage - is the Evergreen Jasmine with its stunning white star flowers and amazing scent, or the White Wisteria draped over a wall or pagoda.

For that silveriness in your foliage, there are a whole bunch of plants that you could add, icluding Artemesia, Convoluvulus and Senecio, which are all fabulous. I would also plant the stunning Euphorbia Silver Swan, but I’d chose trees as well in this planting scheme with a few of my favourites being Pyrus salisafolia pendula (the weeping pear), Sorbus aria or an olive tree. All give the right amount of silver grey hue when planted with white Lavender and Agapanthus Alba.

Don’t be afraid to add hints of blue as an accent colour, the same way as you would with your interior colouring. There you have your silver moon garden - enjoy!

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