The White Garden Revealed

“White covers a multitude of sins.” ~ Jonathan Milne

When I first started my blog, I wrote a post called, Acceptance or The Lesson of the White Garden.  You see I had wanted a white garden ever since I moved to our current home.  And of course every year there is one plant or another that pops up that is not white.  The last couple of years it has been sunflowers that were moved to this garden by someone.  After 6 years, it is something I have accepted to see some color besides white in this garden.  And actually I look forward to the non-white flower showing up.  I even try to guess what it might be.

early stages of white garden

Creating a perfect white garden is not easy.   Of course the garden doesn’t have perfect white blooms.  There are some yellow centers as you can see in the flowers above. White is considered a neutral color in garden design, and is used as a  background for other colors.  So any color besides white shows up right away in my white garden.  You are drawn to it.  But I like the purity, the clean look of a white garden.  It  brightens up a space especially where there is shade.  My white garden is in part shade under a white ash tree.

Then there is the beauty of a white garden at night especially when there is a full moon.  I love watching the dark reaches of the back garden lighten as the moon rises each night towards its fullest phase.  My flowers almost glow in the moonlight.

One of the biggest challenges of a white garden is getting 3 seasons of  blooms.  I have continued to add white spring bulbs and flowers, followed by summer and fall bloomers.  I am still working on perfecting the succession of blooms filling in where there are gaps by adding flowers for that season.  You have to be  creative such as adding heucheras and hostas that flower white, but have different colored or variegated leaves.  It makes for a more interesting white garden when the foliage isn’t just green.

If I consider the snow in winter, then my garden is white for four seasons (of course not so much this year).

spring whites



White is said to be from the Old English hwīt.  Actually white is not a color, but most simply put is the presence of all color. Many consider it to be the color of perfection in perfect balance.






Various Meanings

White stands for wholeness, completion, openness and truth.

White is associated with safety, light, goodness, innocence, purity, beginnings and peace.

White is said to help clear clutter and obstacles away, and brings about mental clarity.



In English heraldry, white or silver signified brightness, purity, virtue, and innocence.

Medieval European queens wore white for mourning.

A white flag is recognized as a symbol of truce throughout the world.

The ancient Greeks wore white to bed to make sure they had pleasant dreams.


summer whites

Fun Facts

*The white ribbon is worn to denounce violence against women.

*In advertising, white is associated with coolness and cleanliness.

*White daisies are a symbol of loyal love.

*A white picket fence is said to surround a safe and happy home. (so glad I have one)

*White is the traditional color worn by brides in both the western world and Japan.

*White is a color of mourning in China and parts of Africa.

*You are said to be fastidious if you drive a white car.  That might explain why I only had a white car once.

*In general, white and pale flowers are more strongly scented than their darker counterparts.

*White teas are the most delicate of all teas because they use the youngest tea.

fall/winter whites



Commercially more shades of white are available than any other color.

White is used with pastel tones to make the pastel colors come alive.

When looking for a shade of white you will find some of these words used to describe the color white:  snow, pearl, antique white, ivory, chalk, milk, old lace, cream, linen, ghost, alabaster, whitewash.

Black by contrast is associated with power, elegance, formality and death.  Black can symbolize fear and the unknown, and has a negative connotation.


“The first of all single colors is white … We shall set down white for the representative of light, without which no color can be seen; yellow for the earth; green for water; blue for air; red for fire; and black for total darkness.”  ~ Leonardo Da Vinci


I hope you enjoyed exploring white.  I am linking in to Garden Bloggers Bloom Day@ May Dreams Garden and Seepferds Garten this Wednesday.  I want to remind all in Canada and the US that the  Great Backyard Bird Count is coming up this week.  If you can, join in anytime between February 17th and the 20th.



Winner of Seed Contest:

Thanks to those who entered the seed contest.  The winner of the veggie seeds is:

Holley at Roses and Other Gardening Joys

The runners up who will all be getting tomato seeds are:  Darla, Deb, Karin, Elaine, Jenna.  You can check out all their blogs by clicking on their names.  I will also be growing some of the same seed.  It might be fun for all of us to compare how the seeds do this summer.


News:  I have been asked to consider blogging weekly for Beautiful Wildlife Gardens.  To say it is a privilege is an understatement.  My first thoughts were where will I find the time.  Followed by I want to do this, but again where will I find the time.  Soon I will be back to blogging once a week on my blog once the garden starts. I REALLY want to do this so I have decided to give it a go for as long as I can.  I hope you will join me weekly as I share many of my native plants and critters every Tuesday.  My post is going live today instead of tomorrow.  Join me as I show you some of my favorite spring wildflowers.


Next Up on the Blog:   Next Monday I will be sharing a garden book as I join Holley for her Garden Book Review.  And Wednesday is Wildflower Wednesday.  I will be sharing my favorite purple native flowers.  Of course I will be joining Tootsie Time’s Fertilizer Friday.  So drop by to check out all the blooms this Friday.

Please remember, to comment click on the title of the post and the page will reload with the comments section.

All content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.





  1. Donna says:

    I love all white and silver gardens. I have designed quite a few, the largest being for an outdoor wedding. You are right about white being abundant, it only takes looking at a paint deck to see the number of shades available. I enjoyed all your fun facts too, learning a few things interesting about white. I liked how you slipped in the snow image into the mosaic, I bet you are getting your share right about now. We are!

    • Donna says:

      So glad you enjoyed the white images including the snow…we have been having some on and off all week…especially this weekend again although it is only inches not feet…I bet the white gardens you designed were stunning for those weddings!

  2. Christina says:

    I love white gardens, the one at Sissinghurst is rightly famous and is certainly inspirational. As you say white is especially lovely in the evening and I would really like to have more white flowers close to where we sit outside to eat on the summer evenings. I might even consider some white-filled containers, lillies would be good. Great post, Christina

    • Donna says:

      Thx Christina. I had not thought of some white containers on the patio but I think I might give it a try..I will check out some pictures of Sissinghurst’s white garden.

    • Donna says:

      Christine, I thought of you as I was putting this post together knowing just how much you love white glad you enjoyed the white garden. I will try to capture more pics of it in bloom this year.

  3. tina says:

    I’ve driven a white vehicle only once too. Now I drive a black one-shows less dirt. White gardens are so beautiful after dark. I once had a bridal wreath that literally glowed after dark. I thought that was the coolest.

  4. Stacy says:

    Donna, just from having a few white plants by the patio and knowing how beautifully they glow at dusk, I can imagine how lovely your white garden must be! What a beautiful range of blooms you have. I find it a challenge to keep “regular” garden beds interesting and full for three (or four) seasons, let alone one that’s monochrome.

    I like the slalom-course pawprints in the snow–they’re part of the pattern of the garden, too…

    • Donna says:

      Stacy it is definitely a labor of love to keep the white garden blooming. Those paw prints remind me of a fox. Could be our friendly fox was in the garden after all.

  5. Alistair says:

    Donna, so many gorgeous white flowering plants in your garden. I never did buy a white car probably the constant washing of it put me off. Congratulations and hope you find the time to right for Beautiful Wildlife Gardens, don’t push yourself to hard.

    • Donna says:

      Thx Alistair I have an agreement with myself that if it becomes too much I will stop writing weekly at BWG. I had a white car in Arizona so I did not have to wash it much, but once I moved back here with it, it was a mess…it was soon traded in. I am not one of those who will wash a car. I let the rain do that for me. We have plenty.

  6. Curbstone Valley Farm says:

    Well, that explains why I’ve never owned a white car! 😉 I did try planting a moon garden once, but I caved, and mixed in some pale pinks with the whites. I had the trouble with too much shade, and a damp coastal climate, with the petals on some of the white blooming plants turning brown before they were done. The pinks seemed to hold up better, but didn’t quite achieve the same effect. Your blooms look unblemished though. I’ll be sure to watch for you on Beautiful Wildlife Gardens.

  7. HolleyGarden says:

    i love the idea of a white garden, they seem so elegant to me. I actually tried to start a white garden, but always seemed to forget when I saw a bright bloom at the garden center! So, my white garden is not. I love all your white blooms, and a white garden under the shade of trees would be perfect – the whites would really pop then! I’m so excited to have won the veggie seeds!

    • Donna says:

      So glad you are excited to have won Holley…can’t wait to see some of the veggies in your garden…you are correct that white under a shady tree is wonderful…it does pop during the day and again at night…

  8. andrea says:

    When fully blooming with whites, it will be very amazing and perfectly elegant. How i wish they will bloom at the same time. How about getting those with leaf variegations, so even the leaves have whitish hue in them. There is a Mussaenda with big white bracts in big clumps, although i don’t know if they can grow there.

  9. PlantPostings says:

    That is so funny. Most of the blooms in my garden were white when I first moved here, and I’ve tried to introduce more color over the years–kind of the opposite of your approach. I love the white blooms, though. They’re so calming and fresh,

    • Donna says:

      Beth, I think I wouldn’t be able to have only a white garden either…since this is one area it was fun to do, but I also love color as you know…I will be in touch this week regarding the new meme.

  10. Indie says:

    So pretty! I love the white picket fence look. Some of my favorite flowers are white, like daisies and white bleeding hearts. I’ve only seen a white garden in magazines and online, but they exude such a relaxed, serene feeling.

    • Donna says:

      Indie thank you…I love my white picket fence too…there is such a relaxing feeling about a part shade white garden…so glad you enjoyed it!

  11. Elaine says:

    White gardens always make me feel good. Since white is a combination of all colors, a white garden is complete, right? Congratulations on joining Beautiful Wildlife Gardens Blog…that is awesome! They are lucky to have you.

  12. Kay G. says:

    Do you have a moonflower in your white garden?
    Oh, and I ONLY want white cars. I have figured out that they are COOLER and in Georgia heat, that is most important!

    • Donna says:

      I had a white car when I lived in AZ…it was a must in the heat you are so right…I do not have a moonflower but I do need to get one don’t I?

  13. Debbie/GardenofPossibilities says:

    Donna, There is something so serene about a white garden, isn’t there? I don’t think white flowers get the acclaim they deserve from most gardners, probably because it’s hard to resist the bright yellow or pink cultivar sitting next to the pain, old white one.

  14. margaret says:

    Your white garden is gorgeous. I am also really partial to white..especially flowers. I planted all white out front of my house (including white bleeding hearts) and all the plants bloom in unison (a complete coincidence) in the spring…and of course the bed out front is now my favorite.

    Thanks for all the white references!! Great details—!

  15. Foxglove Lane says:

    White is so pure and perfect for the eye with all those greens. I am so amazed by your ambition and skill in growing! I think it is the purest whitest of images to have in mind, I want a white garden too. Greetings from Ireland:~)

    • Donna says:

      So glad for your visit from Ireland…I can see a beautiful white garden against the greens from the Emerald Isle…it would be stunning…

  16. Bumblelush says:

    I love the color features you’ve been doing on your blog. As much as I love garden color, white flowers have a soothing effect. Your garden blooms are beautiful. Happy GBBD!

    • Donna says:

      So glad you are enjoying the color posts…they are a lot of work but I am finally getting them down to a science…I do enjoy researching and writing them and I especially love going through my photos to find the right pics…the memories have been fun!!

  17. igardendaily says:

    Hi Donna! First off, congrats on your new writing opportunity. That sounds fun and rewarding although you are already so busy. Secondly, I love the collages of all of your white flora. It has given me some ideas of some new “whites” to try. I don’t have a white garden yet but maybe someday…:)

    • Donna says:

      So glad you got some ideas from the post…I am always on the look out for new cultivars of plants that bloom in white…so I do have lots of variety…thx for your sweet words!!

    • Donna says:

      You are too funny…but I am avoiding black…next up purple, then yellow and green just in time for spring…I am forever tweaking the white garden and this year will be no exception…I would love to see yours in person…hopefully this spring or summer I can make the trip finally.

  18. Jess says:

    Hi Donna! Yeah, I haven’t been on blotanical at all. The highschoolness of it all finally got to me, even though it is fabulous for finding new good bloggers. I leave that up to Jean now 🙂

    I recently posted about White Gardens, how I love the way they look but I can’t possibly maintain them. If I ever move into my dream house, which is somehow in the heart of the city but has an acre of land surrounding it, I think I will try it though. This year, I’m growing moonvine on my upstairs porch for the smell…Maybe thats the start!?

    • Donna says:

      Jess I will check out your white garden post….I have not tried moonvine, but perhaps it would fun to grow it as an annual in the garden…I too leave it to Jean to find new blogs, but I also participate in a few memes and have found some wonderful blogs around the world that way too…

  19. Janet/Plantaliscious says:

    I’m not sure I would ever have the patience to stick to an all white scheme, but you make yours sound so magical it is almost tempting… Maybe a white area…

    Congratulations and good luck with the beautiful Wildlife Gardens blog!

    • Donna says:

      Thx Janet…This garden is to the left of my gazebo and is a nice size area…I think of it as more of a challenge to my creative side… you might like to create a white area where the white would shine in a bit of shade or moonlight…

  20. Loret says:

    What an outstanding article! Fabulous combination pictures to show the true beauty as well. Whenever I think of white in the garden, a moon garden comes immediately to mind. Thanks for providing this creativity!

    • Donna says:

      Oh Loret how nice of you to say so….I do love to be creative in the garden and this garden certainly tests my creative boundaries!

  21. Grace says:

    I tried a white border a few years ago. There are several foliage plants that bear white variegation in their leaves. They remain but the flowers are no more. Just couldn’t do it. Still it’s always fun to experiment.

    • Donna says:

      Mother Nature has her own ideas that is for sure Grace…every year it is something new…whites that are now pink, a flower that shows up out of no where…still it is fun!!

  22. Darla says:

    WOW! An all white garden is hard but thinking of having white blooms year round sounds almost impossible. White is so beautiful in the gardens though. Looking forward to the seeds!! Thanks!!!!

    • Donna says:

      Darla it is quite a challenge to having white blooms year round although for me it is quite impossible except for the snow in winter…I can count that right? 🙂

  23. Beth says:

    Love your whites, Donna! I have a small area that I call my moon garden. You have such variety in your whites! Beautiful mosaics too.
    Hugs, Beth

  24. Aimee says:

    How great it must be to see how your white garden changes each year and to consider what things you might add to it. I love white flowering plants too, and have thought about adding a moonflower / datura plant or vine to my yard for some white at night.

    Congrats on being asked to blog over at BWG! I look forward to checking it out!

  25. Liz says:

    Hi Donna,

    I also had visions of having a white border in the front garden with the aim of brighening up the shady area…
    It has’t worked out quite that way 😀

    I do need to introduce more white into the garden though, and it is such a nice colour to work with.

  26. Tootsie says:

    In spite of all the drama and all the demands on my time as of late, I always look forward to finding time to host and share for Fertilizer Friday. I am so lucky to have such a great group of gardeners to share with…thank you so much for linking into my little party today…I look forward to many more posts as wonderful as this from you! (and to having the time to see every one of them!)
    I hope your week/weekend is just what you hoped it would be!!!
    ¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•.

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