White Flowers

White & Pink Dogwoods (Cornus Florida) stand out under the shade of pines.

White flowering plants are usually the most difficult to sell in a retail garden center. The impulse buyer usually picks up the plant that looks best in display. However, knowing how plants work in the landscape or how to display them gives white flowering plants great value for a discerning gardener.

Not all white flowers are equally white. Mixing whites from different flowers often has the effect of making the different shades of white stand out. However, the same whites can be placed around other colors or in shady spots and appear to be brilliant white.

White flowers brighten up a dark spot. Evergreens plants are at their peak of popularity in landscaping. Home owners see them as low maintenance, shapeable, and always looking pleasant in the yard. A few well placed white flowering plants will brighten up an otherwise monochromatic scene. The contrast created in the scene can be startling.

Sometimes white flowers can be just amazing because of their fragrance or texture of their petals. Magnolia grandiflora ‘Edith Bogue’ is known for its extreme lemony fragrance of its extraordinarily large flowers. Lily of the  Valley (Convallaria majalis) is a good woodland perennial with sweet fragrant bell-shaped flowers. Peonies and roses are often grown simply for the delight of cut flowers. Elegance and fragrance is enough to convince us they are worth growing. In addition, a bouquet of white flowers will coordinate with any decorating scheme throughout your home.

Lily of the Valley
Lily of the Valley known for its sweet fragrance

Before you overlook the white flowering plant for another, take a drive around and see what is working in other yards. Try some bouquets of white flowers. Often, you will find combinations and designs that works great with white flowers.

Other flowers to consider for the yard,

  • Aruncus dioicus (Goat’s Beard)
  • Variegated Solomon Seal
  • Zinnia White Wedding (whitest of Zinnias)
  • Viburnum plicatum ‘Summer Snowflake’ (repeat bloomer)
Peony Bouquet
Assorted Peonies brighten up a home
Cornus kousa var. chinensis
Cornus Kousa a late spring bloomer
Magnolia grandiflora 'Edith Bogue'
Magolias are messy, but the large fragrant flowers are amazing.


Things that remind us of our moms

IMG_5562Mothers influence the world greatly even within their small sphere of influence. There are many well-known moms in the public eye that are seen as more than just mothers. Lesser known moms still change the world in no small way. Frequently, being creative outside the routine makes the biggest difference. The actions of beautifying, creating, and improving inspire the young minds that they can change the world for the better. Most of life’s important lessons are caught not taught.

farm in fall
watercolor by Cynthia Ruth Apgar
watercolor by Cynthia Ruth Apgar

We had the privilege of growing up with super creative moms. A prevalent belief in our homes was that if something could be done it could be done well and should be done well. This is why we fill our homes with art, music, colors, flowers and design. We learn and inspire our own children to learn. Our fun is in improving the small things. In time our mother’s influence goes beyond ourselves and children and into our community.

We’re thankful for our awesome moms. Happy Mother’s Day!

Quilt by Gail Beard

Mixed Container Gardening

shade container
Impatiens, Japanese Painted Fern and Heuchera ‘Hercules’ in a mixed container

One of the great ways to dress up an entrance, walk or a yard without the effort of full fledged gardening is the mixed container. We find gardening in containers as rewarding as any of our creative endeavors. When the container looses its appeal, we can easily change the plants in it or move it where it will be less conspicuous.

color coordinated mixed container
Mixed Container with Verbena and Petunias

Annuals, perennials, and woody shrubs all have a place in container gardening. We prefer using foliage perennials over flowering perennials most of the time. Verbena ‘Homestead Purple’ is a flowering perennial that does well in mixed containers.

Mixed Containers give us a great opportunity to express ourselves. They bring rich color to areas that need to be brightened up. They have very little weeds or disease problems. Most plants will do well in partial sun.

The design aspect of container gardening has infinite possibilities. An industry favorite is the Fill, Thrill, and Spill design. In this design, the plants are laid out for height and interest with plants that fall over the edge of the pot. Also there will be at least one plant that really “wows” the viewer. There are plenty of great design possibilities with this approach. However, there is no need to limit ourselves. Any design and color combination is possible, especially if containers are grouped together for an over all landscape layout. If your first ideas look less than exciting, it will be easy to change.

Low Water Container Garden
Succulent Mixed Container with Blue Fescue
Perennial Mixed Container
Mixed Container with Perennials

In our containers we frequently use grasses, heucheras, lamium, pineapple lily, petunias, sweet potato vine, verbenas, impatiens, dichondra, and moneywort. Boxwood, hollies and elderberry are excellent choices as shrubs for pots. We use basic potting soil with a slow release fertilizer. Water is required more frequently than plants in the ground. In the hot summer days, water will be required every day.

Spring is a great time to try something new in the yard that is both easy and fun.

Perennial Mixed Container
Perennial Mixed Container with Pineaplle Lily, Guara, and Heucheras
Mixed Container Gardening
Mixture of Annuals and Perennials