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Garden Photo of the Day

A Mostly White Hospice Garden

Joe Koller from Baltimore Heights, MD is looking for lovely shades of white for this hospice garden! Any suggestions for him?

"Attached are photos of several garden areas taken in early fall of this year.  I am hoping the hydrangea tree Limelight  will be the focal point for  a mostly white Hospice garden.  There are about 90 daffodil bulbs in 3 rows circling the tree. This area was started in September. I am open to suggestions for plants to add when the daffodils go out of bloom. The area get about 6 hours of sunlight .  Good luck to all of you this spring."

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  1. JuleMG 02/24/2016

    Phlox David is a good white variety. If you want a pink/white stripes one, phlox candy cane is nice. Phlox rebloom very well if deadheaded.

    1. user-3565112 02/24/2016

      I should have been a little more specific. I am looking for more horizontal that won't compete with the hydrangea. I have phlox David in the red & white garden & it is a

      1. user-3565112 02/24/2016

        Sorry about the interruption. the phlox David is a great performer in the other garden area. Thank you, Joe.

      2. MCgardener 02/24/2016

        Great job you have done so far! Agree on the Candytuft - Iberis sempervirens. Is an evergreen flat groundcover that blooms early after your daffodils. Geranium clarkei "Kashmir white"- also low and will bloom after the Iberis. You will need something between these 2 to break it up. Maybe some non-flowering lambs ear or Bergenia so you have a bolder leaf next to the fine needle like leaves of the Iberis.

        May I suggest after the daffodils bloom to dig then up and rearrange them into random staggered groups of 7 or so. You can plant a few odd groups in another bed also to tie them together. Bulbs never look good in a row or a ring or singly like soldiers. It looks very unnatural

        1. user-3565112 02/24/2016

          Maryb, Thank you for the suggestion re: replanting the bulbs. I read that you need to leave them alone after blooming until the foliage dies back. I will replant in groups in the fall as you suggested. These bulbs are spaced about 6 in. apart in 3 rings about 10 in. between rings. They range in height from 12 in.at the front to 18 to 20 in nearest the tree. You are right it does sound regimented. Thank you & good luck, Joe

  2. Chefin1950 02/24/2016

    For structure you could intersperse some white-edged (Patriot, Ginko Craig, El Niño, Wolverine) or white-centered (Fire and Ice, Little Jay, Whirlwind) hostas.

    1. user-3565112 02/24/2016

      The hostas you mentioned sound interesting, I have never heard of the others & I don't know if any are available in this area. I am in zone 7 & the summers are hot & humid. Most hostas due well in my garden if they can take the sun. Thank you & good luck, Joe

  3. TheresaMG 02/24/2016

    If you have good moisture in the bed, I would plant a native hardy hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos) in a white flower. It can be in the middle or back of the bed. Otherwise, Huskers red penstemon (Penstemon digitalis) would give you a pretty reddish leaf color and white blooms in the spring. Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens), dianthus or sea thrift (Armeria) would be pretty evergreen ground covers with white spring blooms. White irises would look good too. Sounds like a wonderful idea. God bless!

    1. user-3565112 02/24/2016

      Thank you for all of your suggestions. I am looking for something to take over after the daffodils finish. I am also looking for something to fill an area in the center of the red & white garden & the penstemon sounds like the ideal plant. If I plant ground covers will the daffodils push up thru them next spring ? Thank you for your help & good luck, Joe

      1. TheresaMG 02/24/2016

        I don't think so b/c those plants form a nice thick mat. Another good groundcover with white spring blooms is alyssum. It's a spring annual that should reseed itself for the following year. The bulbs should be able to come up thru the alyssum easily. It can also be cut back after it finishes blooming for a neater appearance. It might even rebloom after a good shearing, but it's not a ground cover for summer/fall since it will die back. A perennial hardy geranium (cranesbill) would also grow low and leave room for bulbs coming up, provide a bloom thru most of the summer and is an attractive ground cover with nice fall color. There are numerous flower colors to choose from at the nurseries or thru mail order. Look at the Fine Gardening geranium trial on their website...great resource!

        1. user-3565112 02/24/2016

          Theresa, I have cranesbill Biergarten in other areas & it stays low & does very well. I am going to see if a white variety is available and add it to the "possibility" list. I have decided that there will be no more than 3 varieties of plants to keep the focus on the Limelight. Anyway that's the theory at this point. Thank you again, Joe

          1. TheresaMG 02/24/2016

            You're most welcome! I'm sure it will be a beautiful tribute.

  4. ruthlongfield 02/24/2016

    White Feather Hosta

    1. user-3565112 02/24/2016

      I checked out the hosta & it would be a good choice but the catalog said full shade & this is a sunny site. Thank you, I like that plant a lot,Joe

  5. User avater
    meander1 (Michaele ) 02/24/2016

    Hi, Joe, I would love to see a nice sized boulder in your bed that you could do a little mounding around it and then some of your low growing plants could look like they were tumbling down and around. I love the idea of the white alyssum (good thinking, Theresa) which, as an annual, would give you steady blooms throughout the growing season. Your idea of dedicating this garden spot to the concept of hospice is lovely.

    1. user-3565112 02/24/2016

      The boulder is a good idea & I have & tan & off white one I have been moving around my yard for 30 yrs. or so. This boulder is about 12 in. in diameter.Is that about right for this concept? I like the alyssum idea a lot & perhaps replace them with pansies in the fall.
      Thank you & good luck to you, Joe

  6. wGardens 02/24/2016

    A beautiful idea. I echo meander1's suggestion of the white alyssum. I'll also suggest a nice shrub~ Miniature Snowflake Mock Orange, which grows to 2-3 feet high and 1-2 feet wide. Lovely fragrance to boot!

    1. user-3565112 02/24/2016

      Margaret, I like the mock orange suggestion but the nursery where I bought the tree recommended I try to keep surrounding plants low & the Limelight as the focal point in this garden that is 10 ft. in diameter. The lobelia in the background to the right is a volunteer & I might put the Mock Orange there . Thank you, & good luck

  7. galealdred 02/24/2016

    beautiful garden so far. white hellebores are lovely, bloom winter thru spring (zone 7). No deer problems. Part shade is best. Good foliage all winter. The monarch butterfly in flight in one of your pictures is just perfect. Good luck with your wonderful project.

    1. user-3565112 02/24/2016

      Gale, I have had no luck with hellebores & this location gets sunlight during the hottest part of the day. I got lucky with the butterfly photo & followed him for half an hr. to get that shot. Thank you, Joe

  8. Annek 02/24/2016

    I love the idea of a hospice garden. You've received excellent ideas and now we'll need to see photos of the implementation. Great project!

    1. user-3565112 02/24/2016

      Annek, I will take photos as the season progresses & send them in this fall. You are right about the ideas being excellent & now I have a lot to chose from. Thank you & good luck Joe

      1. Annek 02/24/2016

        Your tribute is beautiful and I'm sure everyone will look forward to seeing how your garden grows. The very best to you

  9. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/24/2016

    Nice garden, Joe. I love the buddha, as well as the shape and placement of the stones. I'm a little confused about the hospice garden. This looks like your home, but when I read the word 'hospice', I assumed this was a garden at a cancer hospice care center.
    I do love the idea of silver-leaved plants in an all-white garden. I enjoy the shorter/dwarf, white cultivars of balloon flower (Platycodon) for sunny or partly sunny sites.

    1. user-3565112 02/24/2016

      Tim , That is our house & this garden is to honor the Hospice nurses who were so kind & helpful the last weeks of my wife's illness. I am glad to hear you like the Buddha & stones. I coated the Buddha with buttermilk & yogurt & that got the lichens off to a running start about 3 yrs. ago. I like the balloon flower idea & have had good luck with blue ones j3 ft. to to the right of this area. Thank you and good luck with your garden this spring, Joe

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/24/2016

        Oh, Joe! I'm deeply moved. A wonderful idea. I know that the hospice nurses that came to care for my mother-in-law in our home were some of the most wonderful, compassionate and caring people I have ever met. My condolences for your loss and my best wishes for a wonderful tribute.

        1. user-3565112 02/24/2016

          Thank you Tim

      2. eddireid 02/24/2016

        Joe, when you take the time and effort to honor someone by making a garden, I can vouch for a sense. Of Peace every time you enter. The very best of good wishes to you.

        1. user-3565112 02/24/2016

          Eddi, Thank you for your advice & encouragement. I hope you have a productive spring, Joe

  10. eddireid 02/24/2016

    Hello Joe, This garden is a lovely idea - good for you to ask the GPODers!
    May I suggest Sweet Woodruff over the daffodils? I use this constantly in different locations where it's pretty foliage and delicate flowers peep out at only a few inches in height.
    The sight of it never disappoints. The plant is completely trouble free and a pretty, carpeting ground cover which smothers any weeds. I have some near a green and white zebra grass, too.

    1. user-3565112 02/24/2016

      Eddi, That sounds like a plant that will work. I am going to find out more about it & I like the carpet concept but am concerned about the daffoldils being able to punch thru next year. If it's an annual than that is a moot point. Thank you & good luck,

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/24/2016

        Just wanted to note that daffodils have been know to push up asphalt. I've accidentally covered mine with rocks or stepping stones, and they just push their leaves out horizontally to let me know my big mistake. I think that only the densest, thickest ground covers would inhibit them.
        It's probably more important that whatever grows around them does not cast deep shade on the foliage as it puts energy into the bulb for next year's flowers and to multiply its bulb. Ripening foliage can be kind of ugly, but it's critical to the bulb's success. Cheers.

        1. user-3565112 02/24/2016

          Tim, I will heed your advice & try to keep everything in this garden low. It sounds like daffodils areImade of iron Thank you, Joe

  11. eddireid 02/24/2016

    Sorry, forgot to say that the daffodils will poke their way through and may increase so that the ringed effect looks more random and natural. Another bulb, say Wood Hyacinth, planted randomly in this bed will give a very beautiful naturalized look. Don't disturb them and they will reward you most beautifully.

    1. user-3565112 02/24/2016

      Hello Eddi, Your reply popped up shortly after I sent mine. I am also going to check out the wood hyacinth. Thank you, Joe

  12. eddireid 02/24/2016

    Sweet woodruff is a perennial so not a problem. The tendrils and roots are very fine and I find that they are super easy to keep tidy. Daffodils will pretty much force their way through just about anything!

  13. wanderinggardener 02/24/2016

    I agree with Julie about the Phlox "David." You should keep it to 3 or so stems by cutting the others to the ground. In your hot and humid location this keeps the fungus down. Lilium "Casa Blaca" is beautiful and fragrant and will give some height if you plant them in groups here and there. And one of my all-time favorites in the pure white Anemone "Honorine Jobert" which blooms in late summer till fall. After the alyssum fades, you could plant some white petunias which will bloom all summer and give more impact than the alyssum. Also you might want to try some of the ground cover white roses. There is also a white salvia and a white nepeta which are both carefree and low-growing. The Iberis also comes in a variety that blooms spring and fall-"Autumnallis" I think is the variety. Some of these plants you need to order from online nurseries like Bluestone Paerennials. Good prices for admittedly small plants but they grow as big as a gallon size in a year. Good luck on what promises to be a very peaceful garden with a worthy provenance!

    1. user-3565112 02/24/2016

      Jody, The white Anemone & the white salvia sound like good possibilities & I have had good luck with salvia from from direct seeding. I have Nepata Purrsian in other areas & the neighbors cats damage it. Other folks have suggested Iberis & I am going to check that out also. It's supposed to rain here all week & you all have given me my homework. Thank you & good luck, Joe

  14. MeandMyHoe 02/24/2016

    What a great idea to make a hospice garden. Some suggestions would be, white coneflowers, Shasta Daisy, White garden phox, White asiatic lilies such as casa blanca, white elegance, the alyssum would be great for a border and you might want to try some silver as a border accent such as dusty miller and lambs ears. Even a white miniature or knock-out rose would be nice too.Also maybe a short white bird bath for interest. The mock orange that was mentioned sounds wonderful, i had no idea there was a dwarf. Good luck with your plantings! I can't wait to see the finished garden.

    1. user-3565112 02/24/2016

      Julie, I like the dusty miller suggestion but the lambs ear goes crazy in my gardens. I have the other plants you mention in a red & white garden & they have worked well for me as have several white Guara's. Thank you & good luck, Joe

      1. MeandMyHoe 02/24/2016

        Joe, I totally understand about the lambs ear... thinking about the stonecrop I found one that is 8" tall, called "Thundercloud" that blooms white and also saw a snapdragon that might be hardy to your area only 8" tall called "white hot" (found on plants delights nursery), i just love snapdragons. Also white Verbena "Snow flurry" might be hardy to your area too. For those of you that are in Zone 5 (like me) I have grown dusty miller and it has over-wintered for me, i just trim it back in early spring to the ground and I get new growth. It's sold as an annual here but if the winters are too cold, you will lose some. Have fun planting!

        1. user-3565112 02/25/2016

          Julie,Thank you for the information & time you have spent on this research. I am going to add the stonecrop & snapdragons to the list & also plants delight nursery. I stumbled on a small aster Stokesia Laevis Divinity.that looks good. Once again thank you, Joe

  15. CJgardens 02/24/2016

    Joe, the hospice garden is very nice idea. I have a mainly white bed and I enjoy how calm it is. I also have a red/orange/yellow bed and it is very "noisy." I have a ground cover sedum with green & white leaves and white blossoms. Also an upright sedum 'Frosty Morn' that grows to 12 - 18"; it has variegated leaves and white flowers heads in the fall. (Great bee attractor too.) I would also suggest a carex grass with green & white leaves; might work better than a hosta in the heat and sun but has a very similar form. Some white calla lilies would be beautiful. I'm not sure if they would be perennial in your area. I have to dig mine out each fall. I added some purple leaved plants to my bed for contrast. I have enough partial shade to have a couple heucheras. Looking forward to the photos of the progress of the bed. Carol Jean

    1. user-3565112 02/24/2016

      Carol Jean, The ground cover sedum sounds interesting & I have had a lot of luck with Angelina in the 3rd. photo. I like it because it's maintenance free with year round color. As you can see I have a lot of options to explore, Thank you & good luck, Joe

  16. User avater
    Linda on Whidbey 02/24/2016

    Hi Joe, I just recently heard Tom Fischer speak and his pick for the best perrenial is, Calamintha 'Montrose White'. It's a bit hard to find but I ordered it from Digging Dog and since this will be it's first season, the only recommendation that I can give was that it was beautiful and airy looking in Tom's photos. What a great service you are providing and performing very well from your photos.

    1. user-3565112 02/24/2016

      Linda, Thank you for the info. about Calamintha. I am going to go to the Digging Dog website to check that plant out. Good luck with that plant this spring, Joe

  17. user-6536305 02/24/2016

    White roses should be nice for your area. Try Knock Out roses and Flower Carpet roses. They are very easy to take care, lush with foliage and abutment blooms from early spring to frost. Summer bloom white heather - bloom last for a long time. You should indicate you zone so it would make easy for people to give suggestions. Your hospice garden looked really beautiful! Onion flowers are very pretty, a white ball last for a long while.

    1. user-3565112 02/24/2016

      Thank you for the suggestions. There are white roses directly behind this garden & the smallest I could find in carpet roses are 24-30 in. tall . I will check the white heather though. I am in zone 7 . Thank you & good luck , Joe

  18. user-6536305 02/24/2016

    Try white peonies which are very cold hardy. As their foliage emerge, just in time to hide the daffodil foliage.

  19. user-3565112 02/24/2016

    I want to thank everyone for all the suggestions & help. I have my work cut out for me researching all of your suggestions . Good luck to all of you & I hope everyone has a productive spring in their gardens. Joe

  20. huskerpower 02/24/2016

    Beautiful landscaping and such a wonderful idea for honor garden. I would recommend Lobularia 'Snow Princess' for annual ground cover with great fragrance, or Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost'. I've had better luck with Lobularia here in Great Plains of NEBRASKA with relentless 'breezes'. To tie in with the color of your butterfly bush foliage to the left of your Hospice garden, Heuchera Dolce Blackcurrant will be nice, or annual Ipomoea Illusion Midnight Lace, again used as ground cover. Supertunia 'Vista Silverberry' will fill in nicely as well. You have a magic touch in your landscapes, a good eye for placements and God's blessings for continued success!

    1. user-3565112 02/24/2016

      Patsy, The euphorbia does well in this area & I am also going to check out the Supertunia . Our climate is hot & humid in the summer & I am not sure how plants from the Great Plains will work here. Thank you & good luck, Joe

  21. PerenniallyCrazy 02/24/2016

    Such a heartwarming garden post. You have a heart of gold Joe! Since everyone already made noteworthy suggestions. I look forward to your future photos as the garden evolves.

    1. user-3565112 02/25/2016

      Thank you , I hope everyone likes this project when it's completed. If not, it won't be due to a a lack of effort & great ideas on everyone's part. Thank you & good luck this spring with your magnificent garden, Joe

  22. JaneEliz 02/25/2016

    Wonderful idea, Joe, and the garden looks lovely already! Although my garden has more shade and clay soil, here are some ideas that might work for you in your sunnier, drier garden: early spring bulbs incl. snowdrops under shrubs, white crocus, leucojum and alliums short to tall; moss phlox and cerasium (Snow in summer) are both good ground covers. Summer bloomers-wh. iris( bearded and siberian) ,day lilies, shasta daisies and fall montauk daisy), liatris, scabiosa ; sweet autumn clematis fall crocus and colchicum are special fall bloomers. There are so many to try...good luck in your endeavor!

    1. user-3565112 02/25/2016

      Jane , Thank you your suggestions. I am going to add the colchlcum & snow in summer to the list I have areas adjacent to this one that have some of the others. Thank you & good luck

  23. Meelianthus 02/26/2016

    Joe, I am happy to see that you received so many wonderful suggestions so I guess I don't really have any more to add, but did want to say what lovely gardens you have now. Looks like you have worked very hard through your gardening years, your love of gardening really shines thru and with your beautiful idea for a 'white garden' is very meaningful in life. Enjoy a new Spring and I am so sorry for your wifes passing.

    1. user-3565112 02/28/2016

      Meelianthus, Thank you for your kindness & the compliments regarding the other garden areas. I hope to keep this one a more open then some of the other areas. To date I have purchased 3 varieties of plants and am looking for mid to late summer bloomers. So many great suggestions have come in & I am fighting the temptation to overdo it. Sorry for the tardy response & good luck in your garden this spring. Joe

  24. kimberlyweigner 02/27/2016

    Oh my gosh, what pretty gardens you have. And hello from over in Montgomery CO, MD. I love white in the garden and there are endless choices. I have a little spot that's so pretty in the spring. White bleeding heart, white trillium, hosta with white variegation, and sweet woodruff. Later in the summer white clethra, cimicifuga, and white turtlehead (chelone) would be nice. Plus the turtlehead might entice some of our rare Baltimore Checkerspot butterflies to visit. Oh, man, you could probably get away with a camilla too. I think you're warmer than me. And I love white helebor and snowdrops. Somebody, please stop me!

    1. user-3565112 02/28/2016

      the white Kimberly, Thank you for the suggestions.I have started purchasing plants. Cerastrium Snow in Summer, Sedum Frosty Morn &Anemone Windflower so far. I like a lot of the suggestions but they are proving very difficult to find. I am thinking of allysum around the perimeter, some dusty miller as annuals. I am still looking for some of the other suggestions & will check out some of yours. Sweet woodruff & mock orange are proving to be very elusive. Thank you & good luck, Joe

      1. kimberlyweigner 02/28/2016

        Hi Joe, me again. I'm not sure where Baltimore Heights is but I know of some good nurseries. I work at one near Gaithersburg & we'll have a lot of the things folks are talking about. And I know we have a dwarf mock orange, just as soon as it breaks dormancy. I'm sorry about your wife. I too have planted many things in honor of my son who passed away from cancer. He was very fond of funky conifers.

        1. user-3565112 02/28/2016

          Hi Kimberly, I am sorry to hear of the loss of your son. Planting conifers for him is a nice tribute to him. The garden with the fountain is a memorial garden to my wife that we put in shortly after her death in 2013. If you would give me the name of the plant nursery I'd appreciate it. I The clethra ,cimicifuga,chelone sound interesting for late summer. That's the time frame I was going to research next. I want to keep the plants small& the mock orange is going to be just outside the Hospice garden. I have 3 camellias & had to move them from this side of the house (sun scald) to the N.W. corner of my yard & they've thrived. Thank you for the interest in this project & the helpful suggestions. Good luck, Joe

          1. kimberlyweigner 02/29/2016

            Good evening Joe. I thought of a few nurseries, but I know there's a lot more. Behnke Nursery in College Park should have everything, Greenstreet near Lothian is awesome, and Homestead in Davidsonville is cool too. If you want to visit I'm at Potomac Garden Center.

          2. user-3565112 02/29/2016

            Kimberly, Thank you for the information. If the Potomac Garden center is the one on River Rd. I've been there  years ago  (25) when I had a  project in the area.  I go to Homestead & I bought the white boulders in my wife's memorial garden there.  I checked the celone & clethra out & they are too tall for this area but I am going to buy them for a separate shade area.  I appreciate the time you spent helping me with this project. Good luck this spring, Joe

  25. thevioletfern 03/01/2016

    So tranquil! LOVE. Some stunning white bloomers with great foliage as well are natives: Goat's Beard Aruncus Dioicus, Cimicifuga Racemosa, and Culver's Root Veronicastrum virginicum. I love natives.

    1. user-3565112 03/04/2016

      Kathy, Thank you for your suggestions. So far besides the Daffodils I've bought Sedum Frosty Morn, Anemone Windflower, Cerastrium Silver Carpet. & Platycodon Snow Fairy. I've broken my 3 different varieties rule already & may as well keep going. I am going to look at your suggestions because there are holes in the bloom periods. Still under consideration are allysum & dusty miller, silver mound. This area is only 90 s.f. and these plants will be battling out below & above ground. The weaker ones will be moved to another area. Sorry about the tardy response & I really appreciate your help, Joe

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