let's plan a white border...

robinco(z5 CO)July 1, 2008

As I am ankle-deep in bindweed, I'm in no position to start a new border BUT I have big plans for next season...

So, what are your favorite plants (sun or shade, annual or perennial) with white/gray foliage? white or cream blooms? fabulous green foliage to "set off" the white? favorite white-blooming trees or shrubs? favorite plants with variegated foliage?

Right now I'm smitten with the foliage of my variegated sweet iris:

but thoroughly annoyed with the lackluster foliage on the variegated dogwoods:

Oooooh! I'm also especially interested in your favorite white roses.

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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Can't speak about roses, don't grow any, and I don't really have a lot of white, since I'm more into reds, oranges, and yellows. However, I do have Shasta daisy 'Alaska' and 'Fiona Coghill'. I also wintersowed Scabiosa 'Moon Dance' which is a cream or very pale yellow color. Then there is Calamagrostis acutiflora 'Overdam', a variegated grass, which should work in a white bed. The only other thing I have that might fit into the white catagory would be Echinacea 'Sunrise'. It starts out yellow, but quickly fades to a creamy white color. There are some other great white Echinaceas out there though, like 'White Swan', 'Fragrant Angel', or 'Coconut Lime'. You could always use Alyssum, or a white Dianthus for the front of the border. If you can deal with the powdery mildew issue, there are some nice white Phlox out there. How about Anemone 'Honorine Jobert'? For height, there are several good white Clematis, or a white Hibiscus. Okay, I think that's about all I can come up with.


    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 4:52PM
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dafygardennut(5b-ish, CO)

I don't have a lot of white, but do have and like rock cress, snow in summer, and creeping white baby's breath (stays low and spreads)

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 5:20PM
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robinco(z5 CO)

Great suggestions! I looked them up and I'm particularly taken with that anemone, Bonnie -- FABULOUS! I'll need to go over to Chalk Hill Clematis and see what they have left for white-flowered varieties - you're right, that would be a great addition. That creeping baby's breath is great, too.

Has anyone had good luck with white fireweed? I would like something spire-shaped but I haven't seen any growing in gardens around me.


    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 5:41PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

I only have a minute, but if you want a white, spirea shaped kind of thing, how about some white Buddleia? I'm not sure if it's technically a shrub or a sub-shrub, but it's usually best grown by cutting it down to the ground in fall like a regular perennial, and letting it start all over again in spring. Just something that popped into my head when I saw your post.

And if you decide to go with one of the tall shastas, I highly recommend 'Becky'. It has the strongest stems of all the tall shastas, and usually the largest flowers too.

And another tall one, if you want something that's "lacy" looking, would be the tall perennial baby's breath, Gypsophila paniculata.

Gotta go! If I think of anything else I'll try to get back here,

Here is a link that might be useful: White Buddleia

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 12:59AM
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robinco(z5 CO)

That Buddleia is great, Skybird! I've had only marginal success with Buddleia, though. Any suggestions about ideal conditions? I have some Becky Shasta daisies and they really are great. I'm sure some will find their way into the "white border" - they'll probably be happier there where they get a bit of a break from the intense sun. They get a little "wilty" in my front border.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 9:07AM
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david52 Zone 6

I dunno what it is with buddleia, but mine grow like weeds. Before my trees grew up and shaded them, I had over 100 of them I grew from cuttings; three colors, a dark purple, light purple, and crimson, all growing like gang busters. They're slowly dying off now with the shade, but they're 8 years old. I still have a dozen or so that really stand out.

Baby them when first planted, that first year, water once a week and mulch around them. Make sure they get a drink once a month during the winter. Then, prune them back to 3" off the ground every May. Water them infrequently but deeply. A single shot of fertilizer in mid-June, when they're about a foot high.

Mine get attacked by flea beetles during flea beetle season, and need to be sprayed with something. Other than that, not much else to say. There is one white variety that is stunning and does well, there is some monster over in Durango. I might need to go 'borrow' a cutting.....

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 10:37AM
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robinco(z5 CO)

Well... it's good to know that buddleia are capable of thriving in our area. I guess I'll have to chalk my less-than-successful experience to poor watering and soil prep. I'll give it another try.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 10:47AM
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nancy_in_co(z5 CO)


I also don't grow a lot of white flowers as I have a pale yellow house. The white doesn't show up very well. But that doesn't stop me from having a few ideas for you.

What about some white plox? There are several varieties that bloom at different times so you could have a pretty good display for most of the summer.

I also have white veronicastrum that is spire shaped and very hardy. White veronica would also be spire shaped.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 2:43PM
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Oh whee, glad you started this thread. I have several white potentillas in a bed that do quite well

And how about the tall white sweet william?


Here is a link that might be useful: White Potentilla

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 3:07PM
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conace55(z5 CO)

As far as roses, I don't think you can go wrong with floribunda "Iceberg". I'm not a rose grower by any means, but I have several of these and they flourish. I hack them down in the spring and they come back lush, beautiful, and full of flowers. They are a bright spot in my yard.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 3:20PM
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robinco(z5 CO)

White veronica, phlox, veronicastrum (new to me and FABULOUS), sweet williams, potentilla, iceberg roses, snowmoud spirea, oh my! So many great ideas... perhaps something else can skip to the bottom of the priority list and I can get started sooner!! (evil laughter...)

Aside from white-flowered crabapple trees what white-flowered trees and shrubs have you successfully grown?

Oooooh... I just remembered bulbs... EXCITING!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 5:22PM
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david52 Zone 6

I can't help much here. I have a white house, white garage, white fences, white gate, and so on.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 9:09PM
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sounds like you're going to have a great border! here are some more rambling ideas:
the regal lilies(trumpet) have started blooming. they're excellent! for me, the trumpet lilies have done much better than orientals.

hydrangea 'annabelle' is also blooming. does needs afternoon shade and a big cool drink to be happy here.

for another shrub, check out daphne burkwoodii 'carol mackie'. it's gorgeous! variegated, fragrant, first to bloom in spring....and grows uncomplainingly for me.

i totally second the recommendation of jap.anemone'honorine jobert'. had it for years here...love it! not sure it can take the hot sun though(mine are in shade). also to note, i've never had any success planting it in fall.

how about peonies? okay, so they do die back in the winter and leave a big gap in the border, but during the summer they make a decent 3foot shrub. with their big flower poofs, it's a classic!

i wish i could find some pics to post. but right now, i can't even find the camera!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 1:44PM
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robinco(z5 CO)

david52 - your place sounds beautiful! My house is dark blue-gray with an obnoxious (and much loved) green door so the relative "quiet" of a white border should be welcomed by many...

Trumpet lilies, Daphne, Annabelle hydrangea, and peonies!! How could I forget about peonies!!?? I have a bunch of (very young) pink peonies out front!

I've struggled with Carol Mackie in the past but I think it was just too darn hot and dry out front - perhaps in the semi-shade out back it will work better.

Here are some pics of the future home of the Gardenweb RMgardeners white border...

Looking toward the sour cherry tree:

Around the crabapple, black walnut, and willow trees:

Sizzling hot and dry east side of the yard:

and I can't resist one more photo of the progress of my windowboxes... they're blowing my mind this year!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 2:18PM
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