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Think White For Brilliance

  23/04/2014 at 13:02 pm

The most famous of these in Ireland are Woodstock Gardens in Co. Kilkenny. This is, in effect, a white and green garden and the combination of these two colours is both soothing and refreshing.

A dash of white amongst blue flowers can transform them, the blue tones tend to merge into, overall, quite a boring display, add white and see the difference. The colour white can make red and purple shades appear brighter and clearer. White can make a clear break between different colours. In shady places white can impart interest and bring life into a dull corner.

Buy paint and you learn there are many different shades of white. Clear, pure white flowers are comparatively rare. Most white flowers are cream-coloured, and may even be, in reality, soft yellow, so take care when making your choice. Foliage also contributes white shades (combined with green). In this case the young, generally spring growth is often yellowed, but whitens up with maturity.

For a clear clean white, the annual Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Sonata White' takes some beating and flowers for months. If you like roses, the old favourite Rosa ‘Madame Alfred Carriere’ flowers in midsummer, the flowers are creamy at first, but whiten up to a wonderful clarity of colour. In shady corners, the cool spires of the white foxglove Digitalis purpurea f. albiflora are just beautiful. For containers the violas, particularly the bi-coloured forms, are a lesson in the brilliance of white when combined with other colours.

In the realm of shrubs the foliage of the grey leaf, white edged lavender ‘Lavandula x intermedia Walberton’s Silver Edge’ provides a light counterpoint to pinks and blues. The compact Euonymus fortune ‘Silver Queen’ tolerates shade, can climb up the shady wall of a house, and provides reliable brightness during winter. Finally, the dogwoods, as well as having red stems in winter, can contribute luxuriant, cool-looking, green and white during summer. An example of is the shrub Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’.

By Arboretum