Green and white garden delight

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Classical tranquillity: A patio overlooking a water feature, complete with lollipop trees, green dwarf conifers and Iceberg roses.

Looking to design a peaceful garden? The combination of white and green is by far the most peaceful, yet eye-catching, plant choice for a sophisticated garden.

As local gardens become smaller, walls get higher and shade more profuse, the shady white garden is a tranquil option for executives wishing to retreat after work. White blooms are also the perfect foil for hot summer days and create the illusion of winter coolness.

Twilight gardens should be filled with white flowers. White flowers are the last to fade from sight as darkness falls and with their light-reflecting, luminous qualities they are particularly noticeable at dusk. This makes them perfect for planting near a living room, patio or pool, where you might enjoy a sundowner.

The effectiveness of white flowers can be made more pronounced by plantings of a supporting background of gentle, rather than very dark-green, heavy leaves.

“White is also a good choice for indicating pathways and steps, and if the white-flowering plants are fragrant, so much the better,” advises gardening writer Joan Wright.

Few flowers are entirely white. Sometimes white petals are tinged with another colour, as in the white arum which has a prominent yellow stamen. Some, like the rose “Pearl of Bedfordview”, open from deep pink buds to reveal blooms of creamy richness, while others deepen with age from pure white to deep, rich cream, as in the richly perfumed gardenia and brunfelsia.

The king of white flowers is the Iceberg rose. If you have a small garden, choose lollipop or standard Iceberg roses for impact. Also make sure to include the starry wild jasmine (Jasminum multipartitum), a climber which is an indigenous alternative to the common jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum) which is white and pink. And for celebrity sparkle, add a trumpet-shaped scented white moonflower – if you can find one.

The textures of white flowers vary considerably and these differences can be used to advantage when designing a garden in white and green. The magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) has parchment-like flowers, while camellias and roses have a satin sheen. Hydrangeas have petals as fragile as tissue paper.

White-and-green gardens can be enhanced by white-flowering plants with different forms. The drought-resistant, wispy perennial gaura has a delicate ephemeral feeling. Tall, upright spires (delphinium, foxglove, iris) are best planted next to flowers with round forms (rose, day lily, daisy).

Look out for these plants that could be used in a twilight garden:

* Shrubs: abutilon, Brunfelsia undulata, Choisya ternata, cistus, coprosma, escallonia, gardenia (exotic and indigenous), hibiscus, Hydrangea macrophylla, oak-leafed hydrangea (H. paniculata), murraya, osmanthus, and plumbago.

* Against fences and over arches: bougainvillea “Beryl Lemmer”, moonflower (Brugmansia x candida), jasmine, Solanum jasminoides, stephanotis, star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides).

* Roses: “Alabaster”, “Fabulous Rita”, “Candida”, “Champagne Pearl”, “Delicate Beauty”, “Glamis Castle”, “Iceberg”, “Ivory Beauty”, “Lady Rachel”, “Margaret Merril”, “Nursing Centenary”, “Pearl of Bedfordview”, “Penelope”, “Vanilla”, “Summersnow”, “The Prioress”.

* Back of the border: cleome, creamy canna, delphinium, Gaura lindheimeri, iris, lilium, Anemone japonica, perennial phlox, watsonia.

* Middle of the border: achillea, antirrhinum, aster, dahlia, day lily (“Moment of Truth” and “Joan Senior”), Galtonia candicans, cream marigold, gypsophila, iris, marguerite, physostegia, salvia farinacea “Alba”, shasta daisy, snow-in-summer and tuberose.

* Front of the border: alyssum, caladium, carnation, dianthus, hosta, New Guinea impatiens, ivy, oxalis, variegated grasses, vinca.

* Accent plants: agapanthus, arum, hosta, spider lily (Hymenocallis), moonflower, variegated iris, wild iris (Dietes grandiflora).

* Baskets: achimenes, alyssum, lobelia, variegated-leaf nasturtium. - Saturday Star

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