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Plants for a classic white garden

A classic white garden is perfect if your clients want you to create solace in the space. Horticulture expert Rebecca Hughes details several excellent options you can pick from for the next white garden you’re asked to plant

For a patio, a corner of the garden, a border, or an overall planting scheme, white can create a peaceful visual harmony through the use of flowers, bloom times, foliage, size, shape and textures. Planting for contrasting light and dark, pattern and repetition, a white garden is a classic form of landscaping that conveys elegance and tranquillity. Here are a selection of classic white plantings you can use. 

Roses - Rosa Crystal Fairy

White roses are a quintessential choice in a classic white garden. Glossy green

foliage and clusters of dainty white

blooms that are slightly frilled and

ruffled. Lightly scented.

Spreading growth. H: 80cm.

Rhododendron decorum Best White

G B Rhododendrons is another

quintessential planting in the white

garden providing structure and form.

Very Fragrant, large shrub. White

Flowers. See for a selection

of white rhododendrons.

Rhododendron Cunningham's White

Buds of flush pink open to masses

of smaller flowers of white with a

pale-yellow centre. Late Oct flowering.

Evergreen. H: 2m

Eucryphia cordifolia

White flowers in summer. Hardy small tree or shrub for the open woodland.

H: 3m. Evergreen.e

Hebe macrantha

Hardy bush with large white flowers

in early summer. Hardy native. H: 1m.


Francoa app Flower Girl

New dwarf selection with very pale

white/pink flowers suitable for a cool

front border. H: 50cm

Paeony Bowl of Cream

Incredibly pretty, features very large,

rich creamy white full blossoms that

grow very large. Flowers are packed

with delicately ruffled inner petals.

Hydrangea arborescens Annabell

Stunning white heads of flowers in

late summer to autumn. Best in some

shade. H:1.5m. Deciduous.

Azalea Pavlova

Scented double white flowers on

a strong upright bush in November.

Hardy. Raised by Denis Hughes

at Blue Mountain Nurseries.

Mildew resistant. H: 1.5m. Deciduous.

Clematis x cartmanii Sweet Hart

Beautiful white flowers in spring on

a small climbing or weeping native

Clematis. The deep green parsley like

leaves complete a picture of beauty.

Evergreen. H: 1m.

Cornus Greenvale

A vigorous tree with large creamy

white flowers in early summer. In our

trials of hardy dogwoods, this tree

has outperformed all others. Raised

in Greenvale by Mrs L Paterson.

Evergreen with some autumn colour

as well. PVR

Viburnum plicatum

Very hardy spreading shrub with white

pompom flowers in spring. Good

autumn colour. H: 1.5m. Deciduous.

Viburnum plicatum

tomentosum Mariesii

(Lacecap Viburnum). Creamy white flowers produced abundantly in early

summer along the upper sides of

the branches giving a snow-covered

appearance. H: 2m. Deciduous.

Magnolia stellata Royal Star

Compact rounded bush with

magnificent white flowers in late

spring. H: 2m. Deciduous.

Pieris japonica Purity

Large glistening pure white flowers in

spring smother this compact rounded

bush. For best effect plant in sheltered

semi shaded garden. H: 1m. Evergreen.

Rhododendron Chionoides y

White flowers with a lemon-yellow

blotch in Oct. H: 1.5m. Evergreen.

Rhododendron County of York

Scented creamy- white flowers in

October. Vigorous hardy plant.

H: 2m. Evergreen.

Meconopsis betonicifolia Alba

White flowers in spring. Plant in a cool shaded garden away from wind.

H: 1m. Deciduous

Parahebe catarractae Snow Cap

White flowers in summer on a hardy

native for a moist garden.

Flat growing. Evergreen.

Deutzia gracilis

A hardy compact bush covered in

white flowers in early summer.

H: 1m. Deciduous.

Pieris yakushimensis Sarabande

A very free flowering small shrub for the woodland border. White flowers on a compact bush. Makes a great container plant or edging in formal gardens.

H: 75cm. Evergreen. Award of Garden Merit.

Rebecca Hughes is a horticulturalist from Blue Mountain Nurseries, which is based in Tapanui, West Otago, and known for its rare and unusual plants. 

Today the nursery has 10 hectares in production and produces over 4,000 varieties of plants for national distribution to other nurseries, parks, landscapers, garden centres and gardeners throughout New Zealand. The nursery specialises in the propagation and growing on of hardy trees and shrubs, rhododendrons, azaleas, conifers, climbers, natives, perennials and pleione orchids. Visit for more information


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