Nature abhors a monoculture, but not necessarily a monochrome culture. Against a leafy green backdrop, a single color stands out dramatically—particularly when that hue is white. Here are 15 of our favorite white-on-white plant palettes for a garden bed:
Above: The white garden at Aatt Sissinghurst Castle, where Vita Sackville-West created her breathtaking gardens in Kent, England. Photograph by Clare Coulson for Gardenista, from Sleeping at Sissinghurst: An Overnight Stay at England’s Most Famous Garden. Above: Garden designer Sheila Jack’s own garden in London features a white and green palette. Photograph by Britt Willoughby Dyer for Gardenista, from Designer Visit: Sheila Jack’s White Garden in West London. Above: See Sheila’s front garden with ‘Iceberg’ roses and a variegated holly in Landscaping: 9 Ideas for Curb Appeal in a City Garden. Photograph by Britt Willoughby Dyer for Gardenista. Above: This white and green garden by Sawyer | Berson includes hostas with variegated leaves, clipped boxwood shrubs, ivies, ferns, clematis vines, and annuals to add seasonal color. Photograph courtesy of Sawyer | Berson, from Landscape Architect Visit: “Sex and the City” Meets Edith Wharton in Manhattan. Above: A white garden, with perennial beds of lilies, catmint, irises, and phlox. Photography courtesy of Quincy Hammond Landscape Architect, from Grandeur in the Hamptons: A Sprawling Estate, Sunken Rose Garden Included. Above: Our own Michelle Slatalla transformed her garden on a tiny budget thanks to white roses. Photograph by Mimi Giboin for Gardenista, from Landscape on a Budget: The $250 Instant Rose Garden. Above: Photograph by Sara Barrett for Gardenista. Nicotiana and echinacea mix well in a border at White Flower Farm. See more of this garden in Spring Ahead: 10 Tips to Get Your Garden Ready. Above: Photograph courtesy of Scott Lewis Landscape Architecture. Around the perimeter of a San Francisco artist’s studio, landscape architect Scott Lewis covered a metal trellis with English ivy and planted white dwarf deutzia ( Deutzia gracilus ‘Nikko’) at the base. “It’s typically an old-fashioned plant, a deciduous shrub that blooms in late spring and early summer,” says Lewis. For more of this garden, see Landscape Architect Visit: A Green and White Oasis in San Francisco. Above: Photograph by Kendra Wilson. Irises and foxgloves are planted against a velvety green backdrop of boxwood topiaries at the Chelsea Flower Show. To get a similar look, says Kendra, “try also foxtail lily (eremurus), white hollyhock, Nicotiana sylvestris, and Madonna lily (the latter two for scent).” Above: Photograph by Jim Powell. Kendra visits Lady Cholmeley’s modern white garden and discovers a maze: “ Cerastium tomentosum (‘Snow-in-summer’) makes a swirl with dwarf box.” For more, see Garden Visit: Lady Cholmeley’s Modern White Landscape in Lincolnshire. Above: A bleeding heart vine pokes out between two walls–and unites them visually–in Charleston, South Carolina during A Walk in the Neighborhood in Charleston. Photograph by Olivia Rae James for Gardenista. Above: Justine visited Garden in the Woods near Boston, where she found a wetlands where “a snowy spray of Bishop’s Cap ( Mitella diphylla) stands tall among the ferns and skunk cabbages.” For more, see Walk on the Wild Side: A New England Woodlands Garden. Above: Photograph by Kendra Wilson. Spilling from a planter are a white petunia, the small euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’, and Muehlenbeckia axillaris. See more in 10 White Garden Ideas from Petersham Nurseries. Above: Photograph by Marie Viljoen. In a Cape Town garden against a backdrop of rejuvenating green, “pale petunias, Cape fuchsia, and lilies come alive as dusk falls,” says Marie. For more of this garden, see Garden Visit: Julie’s Soothing Green-and-White Palette in Cape Town. Above: Photograph by Kendra Wilson. White campion and nettles look unstudied and natural in a Chelsea Flower Show garden. For more of this garden, see Gold Medals Awarded at the Chelsea Flower Show.
For more monochromatic(ish) gardens, see: