Garden Photo of the Day

Not Your Ordinary White Flowers

Some favorite blooms

close up of a small tree with white flowers

Today’s photos are from Lynette Rodriguez.

My husband and I garden professionally in northern Illinois, Zone 5b. Together we have more than 60 years of gardening experience ranging from general maintenance to private estate management. The photos I am submitting today were all taken at one of the properties we maintain. Generally, the perennial gardens are our realm; however, this property is a mini botanical garden, so I spend a decent amount of time photographing the shrubbery and ornamentals on the property. Working for a plant lover who amassed a unique collection of plants has been a marvelous experience for us. We will continue to nurture the collection and groom the gardens for as long as we can.

As I was writing the captions for these photos, I noticed that I had selected many plants with sweet fragrances; maybe that is one reason I love these plants so much.

white clematis growing up a fenceClematis ‘Huldine’ (Zones 4–10) has proven to be one of the most reliable and floriferous Clematis we grow on a tall chainlink fence that surrounds a tennis court. The vine needs assistance, as it is not the best twining Clematis, but it can grow 10 feet in one season and blooms for several weeks.

small Magnolia covered in white flowersMagnolia stellata (Zones 4–9) is a harbinger of spring and a fragrance punch. There are three plants in this grouping that are all pruned to maintain their size and shape.

large Deutzia plant with white flowersI’m a big fan of Deutzia gracilis (slender deutzia, Zones 5–8). Although in a fair amount of full shade, the plant has always provided an ample display of flowers in the difficult setting it has been placed in.

close up of a small tree with white flowersHalesia carolina (Zones 4–8) might be the most underutilized ornamental in the Chicagoland area. The small tree is easy to grow and is very showy when in flower.

close up of shrub with large white flowersExchorda, or pearlbush, is another unique plant that doesn’t get much attention. I believe the one located on this property is an Exchorda macrantha (Zones 5–9) type, but I am not positive on that. The plant itself can look a bit gangly, but the flowers override the awkwardness of this shrub.

large shrub with white flowers behind variegated hostasViburnum plicatum f. tomentosum Shasta’ (Zones 5–8) is a shrub that I want in all my landscapes because it’s such a giver! Shape, flowers, fruits, fall color—who could ask a plant for more? It is a sight to behold when it is in full flower, especially when paired, as in this photo, with Hosta ‘Mediovariegata’ (Zones 3–9).

close up of large white liliesA few years ago I was tasked with adding double white lilies to the perennial border. Lilium ‘Aisha’ (Zones 3–9) is a crowd pleaser. She is fragrant, the perfect height (3 to 3.5 feet), blooms for an extraordinary amount of time, and possess a clarity that is hard to miss. ‘Aisha’ is a fabulous double oriental roselily.

close up of white hosta flowersHosta plantaginea (Zones 3–9) seems like a nonchalant plant most of the summer; it fills space with glossy green foliage from spring to late summer until August, when it sends up scapes of pure white flowers that perfume the air. I tend to find ways to work near the hosta bed when these beauties are in flower.

close up of white coneflowerEchinacea purpurea ‘PowWow White’ (Zones 4–9) is proving to be an excellent white coneflower in our gardens. We love the smaller stature and the reliability. The pollinators like it too.

close up of white flower in front of pink dahliasGladiolus murielae (Abyssinian gladiolus, Zones 6–9) has been a favorite tender bulb of mine for many years. I don’t mind digging the bulbs and storing them each year. The swordlike foliage and the unique flowers, along with the stunning fragrance, make this bulb a keeper in the garden.


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View Comments


  1. fromvirginia 02/10/2023

    Lovely specimens! I agree that Halesia is so underutilized. I love mine when it blooms each Spring. Thanks for sharing.

  2. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 02/10/2023

    Wonderful plants, and thanks so much for sharing!

  3. User avater
    simplesue 02/10/2023

    Great photos and I love that you noticed that you chose so many fragrant plants!
    What pleasant job it would be to go to "the garden" instead of "the office".
    You seem to really have a love for the gardens you tend, as they are thriving because of your nurturing!
    Those lilies are amazing1

  4. User avater
    treasuresmom 02/10/2023

    That clematis is out of this world!

  5. User avater
    phanya 02/10/2023

    What beautiful flowers! I like to have all of them in my yard! Is Viburnum plicatum fruit edible ?
    Thank you for sharing.

  6. btucker9675 02/10/2023


  7. blondie3 02/11/2023

    What a rewarding job to have, I’m also in Illinois….there is something about white flowers that are so restful…thank you for sharing.

  8. User avater
    cynthia2020 02/14/2023

    Lynette - you included such useful information and lovely photos - thank you!

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