While hot pinks, yellows and bright reds are theusual colour suspects for a vibrant garden, whiteplants can create just as much impact as coloured varieties.
Wild About Gardens landscape designer Sue Torlach said flowers of the lighter variety were particularly useful for brightening up shady areas.
“White and silver gardens are an attractive combination, particularly at night where the white flowers can appear to
glow, ” she said.
George Lullfitz, founder of Lullfitz Nursery in Wanneroo, said white flowers also blended easily with any garden colour scheme and would enhance the colour of other flowers.
“The reds will seem redder and the pinks pinker, ” he said.
Try these species for a cool floral display this summer.
HEMIANDRA PUNGENS ALBA
Mr Lullfitz said the showiest of white groundcovers was theHemiandra pungens alba, also known as the white flowering snake bush.
This slightly prickly, flat and low-growing plant flowered throughout summer and would flourish in either full sun or part shade.
“It likes all soils, from the Hills to seaside, including all sand types, even the high pH of coastal sand, ” he said.
RICINOCARPUS PENCIL WEDDING BUSH
Adorned in mounds of beautiful white flowers in spring, the wedding bush thrives in full sun and grows in sandy, coastal and Hills soil types.
Reaching to 3m high by 1m wide with a column-like habit, the versatility of the wedding bush means it can be used as a hedge, screen or just another shrub in the garden.
The native is a favourite for Colin Groom, of Domus Nursery in Hackett’s Gully, who said that, once established, the wedding bush required little water.
Producing masses of fragrant white flowers in later spring and summer, the star jasmine can be grown as either a climber or a groundcover.
While it flourished in full sun or part shade locations, Mr Groom said a controlled-release fertiliser should be used in autumn and spring to ensure maximum growth.
He also suggested trimming the plant to the required shape and, for those who opted to use it as a climbing feature, providing a sufficient climbing structure.
Commonly known as the Hong Kong orchid tree, this attractive small evergreen has stunning orchid-like blooms in spring and beautiful butterfly-shaped leaves.
According to landscape designers Lorna Barnett and Cathy Cocks, of Haughty Culture, while the flowers provide an attractive focal point in the garden, the bauhinia is popular in Perth because of its relatively easy-care compact size that can be easily pruned to shape.
“This is a warm climate plant that will grow in any fertile, well-drained soil type and prefers full sun, ” Ms Barnett said.
“It has few pests or diseases and the best defence is healthy growth, so add a little slowrelease fertiliser and mulch well, keeping the mulch away from the trunk.”
The Bauhinia also required protection from frost and cold winds.
MAGNOLIA GRANDIFLORA LITTLE GEM
The magnolia Little Gem adds a luxurious look to any space and produces one of the most beautiful flowers available to garden designers, according to Ms Cocks and Ms Barnett. “It can be used as a specimen tree or with repeat planting in a row or mixed throughout the garden, ” Ms Cocks said.
Growing to 4m high by 2m wide, the Little Gem’s fragrant, waxy white flowers bloom in late spring through summer.
“They should be mulched well over summer and it is possible to remove the seed heads after flowering to help promote new growth and more flowers.”
Stumped on where to place white-flowering plants or looking to contrast them? Cathy Cocks and Lorna Barnett, from Haughty Culture, suggest the following plants:
•Dianella tasmanica Variegata produces mauve flowers and strong white bands along the strappy foliage. It is drought and frost-resistant.
•Liriope muscari Monroe White is another great small shrub. Known as giant mondo, its fine strappy foliage provides a great contrast of form.
•Sansevieria variegata is a strappy succulent that will add striking texture to any garden. It provides a great foliage contrast.
LET NATIVES BE THE STARS
Native flowers can be just as spectacular in the garden and are known to flourish in Australia’s dry, hot conditions. Sue Torlach, from Wild About Gardens, recommends the following white-flowering natives:
• Philotheca myoporoides or native Daphne has starry white flowers in spring and is ideal for cottage gardens or can be mass planted for a formal effect.
• Thomasia solanaceae has white bell-like flowers on pretty limey green foliage.
• Chamelaucium uncinatum Alba white Geraldton wax and other hybrid varieties like White Surprise are very rewarding in spring with masses of white flowers.
• Kunzea ambigua prostrate makes a nice backdrop with its fine, dense, deep green foliage and is covered with masses of fluffy white flowers in spring.
• Correa Alba is an attractive small shrub with starry white flowers against blue grey felt-y foliage that is a useful coastal plant as it can tolerate sea spray.
© The West Australian
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