PEOPLE WHO KNOW ME know I say over and again that I am not a lover of white flowers. (Like all of us, I say a lot of stupid things.) But then I look around and, surprise, I have a whole lot of them. In these three cases, though, all blooming now, I have the plants for an entirely different reason than for their blooms. You’ll learn what other attributes these winners have if you click on each.

  1. Andrew Ritchie says:

    You’ve got white lilacs also, don’t forget. I think you’re a closet blossom lover! Do you have white trilliums? I know a lot of people weed them out, and I prefer the dark purple varieties, but they’re a staple in many woodland properties.


  2. Amy says:

    I prefer a lot of colour, but it also depends on where the white flowers are planted. I have white rock cress along a rock while that fairly glows in the evening and to my surprise I like it a lot. On the other hand, in front of my house I avoid white flowers because my house is white – they would just fade into the background.

  3. leslie land says:

    Hello again from the contrarian queen

    I have a whole white garden in Maine, started several eons before I ever heard of V. Sackville West, and it has stayed in place through multiple rearrangements of almost everything else.

    It’s not completely white; there’s thyme, some giant black stemmed alocasia, stuff like that. But the thing I love is that the white itself is so many colors and shapes: anemone, crambe, lathyrus, a hydrangea tardiva hedge… birches, too, if you count the middle distance.

    Of course the ungreat thing is that a lot of it isn’t self cleaning and there’s nothing uglier than a white flower whose time has passed. It’s dear to my heart, but being a slob I hate that it needs so much housekeeping.

  4. Karen T says:

    I’m all for white blooms, myself. I don’t plant very much that blooms at all, but I’m fine with white.

    But this post is a good example of why I love looking at pictures of other people’s gardens. That diphylleia cymosa is stupendous but I’m a fairly devout dry gardener, living in Northern CA, so if it likes water, I can’t have it. But I can gaze at Margaret’s to my heart’s content!

  5. margaret says:

    I am so glad to hear from you all on your “takes” on white. One of the interesting things for me about writing again (on a blog this time, where it turns into a conversation pretty quick) is that it is making me toss things around: listen to myself “say” what I think that I think…and then hear what you say, and then reflect and “edit” what I think.
    So interesting. So you all have me thinking, to say the least.

  6. Mary Beth @ Cultivating Paradise says:

    But aren’t white flowers just perfect for a space you use in the evening or early morning. Their white just shines in the moonlight and brightens up the space! (But I’m with you about color during the daytime hours.)

  7. margaret says:

    Welcome, Mary Beth, and thank you for your good ideas about where to place the white moments in the garden. Going to look at Cultivating Paradise now…

  8. Kelly says:

    I love, love, love white flowers. Moonflowers, roses, and crepe myrtle especially. I suppose I find in cooling in the brutal South Texas heat and humidity.

  9. margaret says:

    Welcome, Kelly. I am jealous that you are clear about this topic…why do I seem to be in love and not in love with them all at once? Great point about how “cool” they feel. Come again soon.

  10. Abby Adams Westlake says:

    I’m glad you said you don’t like white flowers – I don’t either, but must hold my tongue among those who rhapsodize about them – usually with a subtext of scorning those raucous reds and purples and god help us oranges that i love. But – having said that, I love the nicotiana that self seed and are beautiful and fragrant at night beside my terrace. and festiva maxima peonies and boule de neige rhodies ain’t bad either.

  11. margaret says:

    Welcome, Abby…and now that you mention it, I like the Nicotianas, too, ‘Only the Lonely’ and sylvestris and such.

  12. margaret says:

    OK, OK, so maybe I don’t hate it. Maybe I like it. Maybe I don’t know what I like or hate? (You do have a good point about trees/shrubs…my favorite white things are always those).

  13. Abby Adams Westlake says:

    And the gorgeous bright white blooms of the various viburnums and dogwoods, not to mention climbing hydrangea – i think i like white flowers best when they are on trees. Catalpa!

  14. Maggie Keeler says:

    I generally like white flowers, because they can be peace makers in the garden–like silver-leaved plants, but I also agree with Leslie Land that a white flower that is not self-cleaning, and whose time is past, can be very unattractive. I had a large white double Rosa rugosa hybrid, ‘Sir Thomas Lipton’ that I planted next to the house in a former garden, which I rued because it looks like dirty dishrags are hung all over it a few days after it begins to bloom. I’ll give it it’s due, it is pretty for the first few days. A neighbor asked its name so he could get one during those few days of glory and I cautioned him not to do it. It doesn’t even get those glorious cherry tomato-like red
    hips common to single rugosas. My neighbor here has a large white crepe myrtle on my lot line–same problem when the blooms get old.

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