A Stuck Foot in the White Garden

DSCN3397 “Sometimes something can look beautiful just because it’s different in some way from the other things around it. One red petunia in a window box will look very beautiful if all the rest of them are white, and vice-versa.”
– Andy Warhol



The garden has been heating up, literally, from an unusual streak of summer weather.  We have been having daytime highs into the high 80s and even reaching 90, with low humidity and no rain at all sparking brush fires.  Hard to believe but we are in a fire watch situation.  The rain has just returned with the humidity, and the temps are expected to plummet 20 degrees to daytime highs in the high 50s and 60s.  So the crazy DSCN3382variable weather continues.

But the garden goes on although the veg garden and my poor pansies are confused and not performing well in this heat.  I thought for this Stuck Foot post, I would take you to the White Garden.  

What is a Stuck Foot post you ask?  [email protected] and Leafy hosts this meme around the 21st of every other month.  Here’s how Lucy explains a Stuck Foot post:

A stuck foot post is where you plant your foot firmly in a roughly random place and see what you can see without moving. Best is when you plant both feet but sometimes, as in this post, where you are on a slope or some other kind of difficult ground you may need to move the other around for the sake of balance. But you mustn’t move the ‘stuck’ foot. You can bend your body this way and that. You can lean forward and twist at the waist – but you mustn’t swivel that stuck-foot.


I love taking a closer look at different gardens using this method.  I often gain a better perspective of the garden, and what is growing there.  And for this post, as we are close to the 15th, I am also linking in with [email protected]May Dreams Gardens who hosts Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day the 15th of each month. 



Now before I start you might ask, what has the picture of the forget-me-nots at the top of the post have to do with a White Garden.  Well, these are the first non-white flowers to bloom in the White Garden this year.  I have learned that when you plant a white garden, you have to work hard to keep it white.  Dandelions, lupines and goldenrod from the meadow try their best to change the color scheme in mine.  But I have long ago accepted that I will never be able to keep it totally white.

It’s mid-spring and the bulbs were starting to fade, so I thought now would be a good time to look at what’s bloomingthere….especially since I plan to redesign this garden hopefully in fall.  So knowing what bulbs are where is most important to me as I hate to move bulbs.  Perennials and shrubs no problem, but I do not want to move bulbs if I can help….I’ll be moving enough in other areas as it is.

So let’s look at the White Garden…..


As I look from the stairs just outside the kitchen French door, I can see the white flowers blooming up against the back fence to the left of the gazebo.




DSCN3350So we are off across the patio to the Pond Path.





As we get to the end of the Pond Path,  you can see the damaged lawn thanks to the voles this winter.  And we have a bumper crop of dandelions.  You can see the Center Garden, to the left, that I profiled in November with a Stuck Foot post.  It is blooming right now with loads of daffodils.  Can you see the White Garden just ahead?





Here is the White Garden.  Originally planted over a couple of years, it has changed a great deal, and I am forever tweaking it.  Let’s step inside the garden and plant a foot.  I think near the tree is a good spot, just about in the middle.  The White Garden starts at the gazebo and stretches to the pergola.





It’s somewhere between 10:30 and 11:00 AM, and the sun is shining brightly as the trees are just beginning to leaf out.  We are facing east toward the gazebo and standing right behind the pyramid-shaped plant support.  It originally held a white clematis, but since this area was originally very shady when all the ash trees were still growing around this area, the clematis has faded.  Currently I have nothing planted in the structure.  I use it just as a garden accent.




gazebo side

Growing in this area are one surviving white hellebore that turns pink as it fades.  I should add more white hellebores.  There are several white daffodils growing here as well.  The Pulmonaria officinalis is not ‘Sissinghurst White’ as it was not available when I was planting this garden.  But as you can see the white blossoms have tinges of pink and purple perhaps due to cross-pollination with non-white varieties.  I have lost this evergreen’s label and thought it was a pine.  It is very slow growing here and may need a sunnier spot.  Bottom right is a white Siberian Iris or Iris sibirica.

The foliage of bearded iris ‘Immortality’ is glowing in the sunlight, top right.  You can see the gazebo keeps this area quite shady in the morning so these irises may need to be moved around.





As we move northeast (turning counter clockwise to the left), we are now viewing the fence.  I have tried to grow various white flowering viburnum against the fence, but the clay soil and shade has either killed them, or they are growing at a snail’s pace.  So I removed them to pots to give them more of a head start, and replaced them with reliable red-twig dogwoods that bloom white and have berries for birds.  These bushes grow wild all over the meadow and garden from the few shrubs I have elsewhere in the garden.  




back tree

Here are more Pulmonaria.  And one of the new red-twig dogwoods and more daffs.  I love how the sun lights up the daffs.  Lots of weeds and wildflowers growing in this area due to the meadow behind the fence.





As we continue moving counter-clockwise, we are now facing north.  This is one of the few white ash trees we have left.  It is now the largest in the garden.





This tree stretches upward to over 100 feet high.  You can just see the leaves starting to emerge.  And that house is actually a unoccupied bat house.  




tree area

The picture on the left is actually showing more than more daffs.  In the foreground you can just make out a small bush.  It is a young, native, white Clethra alnifolia or Summersweet.  It seems to like it here so far, and I hope it puts on more growth.  Throughout the garden, the white violets (top right) have spread making a wonderful ground cover that I hope will keep the weeds down.  In front of the tree I also have sweet woodruff  or Galium odoratum growing.  And I recently added our native white trillium (bottom right) or Trillium grandiflorum. 





As we rotate past the tree we are now facing northwest looking at the pergola and gate.  I just moved a Climbing Hydrangea that was not growing well, and replaced it with native Clematis virginiana.  I am looking forward to this native clematis covering the pergola.  It seems to be happy already and is growing well.  Along the fence is another red-twig dogwood.





On the right is the Clematis virginiana.  And bottom left is a lovely white Primula vulgaris.  I hope to divide it move it around this garden.  There is also a nice clump of Leucojum aestivum or Summer Snowflake, and one of a few clumps of white hyacinths in this area.  




other views

We can swing around from the pergola and see the Bog Garden, top left.  Since we have taken the trees down in this area, it has given more sunlight to the White Garden too.  The bottom left, is the Center Garden Again, and when we continue around, we face the path we traveled to the White Garden from the patio.





Our last view is the edge of the White Garden looking towards the veg gardens.





There are white flowering hosta throughout the garden (bottom left), and white forget-me-nots, white Checkered lilies or Frillaria meleagris Alba, and lastly the early foliage of Fall crocus or Colchicum autumnale Alboplenum which comes up now.  The white flowers follow in autumn.  Of course there are loads more small shrubs and perennials in this garden like the small Carex grass shown at the top of the post.  And I will be documenting all that is growing here as the season grows on.  

The big design change I have in mind, for the White Garden, is to put in 2 pathways that already seem to naturally occur in this garden and move plants along the pathways.  I will also edge this garden and extend it out a bit more.  The clay soil here also needs to be amended a bit so we can plant some white early spring wildflowers like Bloodroot, Mayapple, Twinleaf, to name a few.   It’s a great little garden that has maintained many of its white plants, but it needs a bit more of a design that is more interesting and thought out.



Have you ever stuck your foot in your garden or any space and looked closely to see what is there?  Give it a try.   



In A Vase On Monday 


As I was highlighting the White Garden this week, I thought how wonderful it would be to make a vase out of the white flowers growing here.



The first vase is a wonderful bunch white daffodils growing in the White Garden.  And I pulled the blue forget-me-nots (they can’t stay in the White Garden), and put them in my little white jug.



white vase 1

The actual container is a lidded jar that was a gift.  I love its light turquoise color.  And you can catch a glimpse of the lid, top right.  I put a smaller glass in the jar so the blooms could fill it easier.  And I again used a rubber band to tie the daffs together so they would stand upright.  Also in this vase are white primrose, hyacinth and Leucojum aestivum.

As there were loads of other smaller white blooms in the White Garden, I decided to make another smaller vase.




It is in a dark green glass votive candle holder.  I love how it looks on the bench with the books.




white vase 2

In this vase are more white blooms from the White Garden:  daffs, primrose, Leucojum aestivum, Checkered lily, Pulmonaria, violets, forget-me-nots, a surprise epimedium and the blooms from the Carex grass.  I loved the collection of the flowers as it shows all that is blooming in the White Garden.  Almost like a garden in a vase.

I am joining in with a few memes this week as I prepare this vase:  [email protected]Rambling in the Garden for her wonderful meme, In a Vase on Monday, Today’s Flowers hosted by [email protected]An English Girl Rambles and [email protected]Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday.



Next up on the blog:  

Next Monday, I will have an early Simply The Best Native post profiling the tree I am following, my young American Linden.  

I am linking in with Michelle for her Nature Notes meme at her new blog just for Nature Notes.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Tuesday. 



I am also joining in I Heart Macro with [email protected]Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2015.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only. 

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