White is the colour of purity. It can represent a renewal phase to a person and to the garden. The snow covered winters of Europe give way to the refreshing sights and colours of spring, the year has recommenced with plants and animals geared towards procreation.
In our very different seasons, the colour white used in the garden is cheery and carefree. Under the bright Australian sun, massed white flowers can become too brilliant for comfort forcing people to retreat away from the gardens. One must also be careful when designing a garden so that white flowers and white paver combinations do not dominate, and that white gardens are balanced with more subtle tones of greens and blue. Careful use of pure white flowers is therefore important to be effective and stylish.
In partial shaded areas, white flowers (or silver foliage) act a reflectors of light therefore assist the eye to see where these plants are. If placed beside the pathway they create a guide to walk along.
When used in a landscape, a path edged by white flowering hedges will keep people on the route of their travel. White hedges seem to encourage people to maintain a steady pace when walking yet discourages conversation along the route. Although this human reaction is not fully understood, it is perhaps a reminder of hospital walls or work offices and the corresponding action a person adopts when in a hospital/office.
Alternatively a garden bed amassed with a range of flower colours will benefit from splashes of white to equalise the energy and disorder. White becomes a unifying element to the flower bed.
One of the most pleasurable uses of white is as short term indoor plants and balcony plants. An attractive pot brimming with flowering white spring bulbs or annuals can bring charm and a touch of class to any home dinner celebration. Even with a small unit a potted annual can cheer up the unit with its brilliant pearl white petals.
Some of the most hardy of white flowering shrub plants are:-
Azalea indica ‘Alba’
Snow flake (Euphorbia leucocephala)
Natal plum (Carissa macrocarpa)
Poinsettia white (Euphorbia pulcherrima ‘Alba’)
Gardenia cultivars and species
Orange Jessamine (Murraya paniculata)
Bangkok rose (Mussaenda cultivars)
Oleander (Nerium oleander – be aware of poisonous foliage and flowers)
Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata ‘Alba’)
False Gardenia (Tabernaemontana spp.)
Trees with white flowers include:-
White orchid tree (Bauhinia variegata)
Ivory Curl Flower (Buckinghamia celsissima)
Plunkett mallee (Eucalyptus/Corymbia curtisii)
White Christmas Jacaranda (Jacaranda ‘White Christmas’)
Bull Bay (Magnolia grandiflora)
Weeping paperbark (Melaleuca leucadendra)
Evergreen Frangipani (Plumeria obtusa)
Easy to grow white climbers worth trying:-
Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)
Bougainvillea - white forms
Frangipani vine (Chonemorpha fragrans)
Bleeding heart (Clerodendrum thomsoniae)
Madagascan Jasmine (Stephanotis floribunda)