white plants

livvyandbella(MA.)May 2, 2010

Last year I put in a garden in front of my house under a pine tree. I put in 10 Hosta. I would like it to be a green and white garden. What can I add that is white?

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diggingthedirt

Full shade?

There are white bleeding hearts (Dicentra spectabilis 'Alba'), the native bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), and the more aggressive may apple (Podophyllum peltatum).

I love European ginger, Asarum, which does not flower (or more correctly, you rarely see the flowers). Some Asarums and close relatives have marbled green & white foliage, those might look good with hostas.

If the soil is really poor you could always resort to something like white vinca. I also have wild strawberry in a shady area. Don't get too many berries, but it does cover the ground.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2010 at 6:11PM
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whitegarden(Z5 MA)

I second the dicentra.
Astilbe will do well and look for variegated hostas which will give you white all through the season. Painted ferns will work too.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2010 at 10:59PM
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livvyandbella(MA.)

Pretty much full shade. Couldn't get grass to grow under tree, so put hosta. I really like the hosta, but needed something else. Thank you for your suggestions. I do like Astilbe, and white bleeding hearts are an idea.
Thanks,
Barb

Whitegarden, I am enjoying my arbor!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 6:32PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

There's a white-flowered lamium which has green & silvery-white leaves - it's a spreading groundcover. I think you'll need some supplemental water for astilbes to be happy as they like average or greater moisture and it's often dry under mature trees. Variegated Solomon's seal (Polygonatum odoratum 'Variegatum' ) will be a bit taller and slimmer in shape than hosta and has small creamy white flowers along with the leaf variegation. Look into bulbs - there may be ones that will bloom prior to the hosta emerging - for instance some of the woodland anemones (not really bulbs, but sold in bulb catalogs) will work, snowdrops will grow in part shade, maybe species crocus in some of the brighter areas. A late-season white flowering shade-lover is Cimicifuga (AKA Actea). The green-leaved forms have white flowers, but the ones with reddish or marroon leaves may have white or pink flowers. For more flowering, you can plant annuals like Impatiens or Begonias.

You can also think about whether white hardscape will work. A large chunk of light granite or three, a birdbath, etc.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 9:27PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

I think the lamium nhbabs is referring to is White Nancy, and it is quite nice - the leaves are as bright as the blooms!

I have a very dry, bright shade bed in which I planted astilbes before I found out they liked more moisture, but I guess no one told them either, lol, because to my surprise they are thriving. And you can get different varieties with different bloom times and in different sizes. You may have to water well till established, but they may do well for you after that.

I also second the bulbs - white crocus, snowdrops, maybe autumn crocus. Maybe white primroses, white columbines, pulmonaria, white japanese anemones... Hmm, I wonder if you'd want to attempt lily of the valley? I have a terrible time getting it to grow, but many people say it can be invasive, although in your (dry?) shade it may stay more controlled. I think goatsbeard will work in shade too. And sweet woodruff has a tiny white bloom, and is a beautiful groundcover when not in bloom.

I know nothing about pines, but is it possible for you to heavily mulch with shredded leaves every year? I've found that to really help my dry shade garden immensely. It has improved the soil and helps with moisture.

By the way, do you have any Patriot hostas? IMO, these would look great in a white shade garden.

:)
Dee

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 10:01PM
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WendyB(5A/MA)

Did anyone mention native pachasandra (P. procumbens). Its blooms are white and early. Also mukdenia 'Crimson Fans' has white blooms too.

I recall one year adding simple white impatiens to my dry shade pine area with hosta, astilbe, lamium etc. It looked awesome and really brightened things up all season. However, over the years, I seemed to have introduced a little bit of gold here and there. gold-edged hostas, Evergold sedge, hakenchloe. I hadn't been that aware that I had a white garden going. The white impatiens never looked good again. I miss it.

Bottom line, be careful of letting gold and cream creep in. Doesn't go with white (IMO).

Oh, tiarella has white blooms - maybe with a tinge of pink.

I would stay away from lily of the valley myself unless you have lots of room.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 10:13PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

Wendy's mention of sedges reminded me - I have two different varieties of white-variegated sedge that spread pretty slowly in half-day or more shade. I'm not sure how they'd do under a tree since mine are shaded closely by buildings and further away by trees, so don't have the root competition.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 9:19PM
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hunt4carl

Some of you are going to shoot me for suggesting this, but in dry shade under two tress in my garden (one white pine, one silver maple) there are lush beds of Aegopodium ("Bishop's Weed" of "Snow on the Mountain"). . .yes, you DO have to contain it or it will spread rampantly, but under a controlled situation you have season-long green-and-white foliage, and 12" spires of white flowers (blooming soon now) which resemble "Queen Ann's Lace"..... what's not to like, in a white garden?

Carl (Go ahead: fire away ! I'm ducking. . .)

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 10:24PM
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patchworkfarm(6)

Tiarella grows well in dry shade. The white bottlebrush blooms appeared here before the daffodils and are still going.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 5:14AM
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fgirl21(z6 - MA)

Carl
I won't shoot you! I have had snow on the mountain for about 5 years now and it hasn't come CLOSE to taking over - - or even taking OFF. Don't know what the 'problem' is but it simply does NOT like where it's located!

Polemonium - I have a white one mixed in my shade bed

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 7:32AM
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livvyandbella(MA.)

Thank you for all these suggestions. I am going to print them all up and head to the nursery this week and see what I like.
Barb

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 7:25AM
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