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A White Garden Shines Day and Night

Fine Gardening - Issue 115

Christian Harper, a horticulturist at Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin, designed this luminous bed of annuals, which is part of a four-corner intersection of similar beds. The selection of spectacular, bright white blooms gleams among shimmering silver foliage in a rich tapestry of contrasting textures. This bed not only shines in sunlight but also glows in the moonlight. Add to that the intoxicating fragrance of the flowering tobacco, and you’ve got a wonderfully romantic combination. “As they say, white goes with everything, and since one of the paths in this garden leads toward our Wedding Garden, it’s especially appropriate for this setting,” Christian says. This section of the full-sun bed is 12 feet long and 5 feet deep, and it is planted in an average garden loam enhanced by yearly applications of leaf mold.


  1.   Flowering tobacco (Nicotiana sylvestris, annual)
  2.   ‘Sparkler White’ spider flower (Cleome hassleriana ‘Sparkler White’,
  3.   ‘Sonata White’ cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Sonata White’, annual)
  4.   ‘Powis Castle’ artemisia (Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’, USDA Hardiness Zones 7–9)
  5.   ‘Silver Queen’ dusty miller (Senecio cineraria ‘Silver Queen’, annual)
  6.   ‘Avalanche White’ petunia (Petunia ‘Avalanche White’, annual)
  7.   ‘Lulu’ marigold (Tagetes tenuifolia ‘Lulu’, annual)
  8.   ‘Ribbon Yellow’ snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus ‘Ribbon Yellow’, annual)
  9.   ‘Primrose Gem’ chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum coronarium ‘Primrose Gem’, annual)
View Comments


  1. User avater
    CynthiaDow 07/09/2019


  2. nwphillygardener 07/12/2019

    I've recently seen some lovely "moonlight" gardens for partial shade. Those included some perennials like white variegated Carex "Silver Sceptre', Pulmonaria 'Majeste', 'Casablanca' Lilies, and annuals like Euphorbia Diamond Frost, white caladium, white New Guinea impatiens and a white variegated and flowering Pelargonium.

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