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Winter White Garden Urns

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Winter White Center Garden Urn The Prudent Homemaker

I've been trying a mixture of annuals and perennials in my urns in the white garden, but it seems the only way to have something growing in them year-round is to do annuals, as even my perennials have died. The pots by the front door are particularly challenging; they are in full shade all day long. The garden itself is in shade all winter, and come summer it is mostly in our brutal sun, but for much of the year, it is half in sun and half in shade.

I have been staring at beautiful urns on Pinterest (I even have a board for it) trying to decide what to do this winter that will last into spring. I know what plants do well here winter through spring, and all of them are on sale right now (and I had an additional $5 off coupon on top of that to use). I knew I wanted to use some free evergreen branches, and the nursery, which sells Christmas trees, was the place to get those too. I just hadn't decided exactly what to do.

Winter White Garden in December The Prudent Homemaker

At the nursery there was a birdbath, and it was filled with flowers that looked so beautiful--and then I knew. There was a silvery small-leafed plant in the center, surrounded by a dark pinkish red cyclamen, surrounded by white ornamental cabbages. It was so pretty I seriously considered planting some red cyclamen in the garden for Christmas.

However, it's a white garden, and I wanted something that would last until April (winter annuals here are good October through April). I loved the cyclamen, but I know they do better in the shade here (they'll last longer in the shade when the heat comes, which is early here). I debated a change in the middle--stock or snapdragons? Both will do well; stock (what I ultimately chose for the center urn) flowers for a shorter period, but has an intense fragrance which I enjoy; snapdragons get larger and would be a less expensive option; I could just choose one or two plants if I wanted.

Winter Urn Detail The Prudent Homemaker

In the end, I went with sage in the middle (not noticeable at all, but a silvery-grey color that I think may work for a similar design come summer, by which time it will be larger; on sale for $0.98), surrounded by 4 stock flowers (on sale for $0.78 each), surrounded by 9 ornamental cabbage (on sale for $0.78 each). Should the cabbage grow too large before they bolt, I'll transplant them to another spot in the garden.

I added some pinecones that we had gathered in between the stock and cabbages. I used clippers to cut the free Christmas tree branches into smaller pieces and then stuck them into the arrangement. The ends are in the moist soil, so they'll stay good for a while (and longer if I mist them).

Winter White Black Urns The Prudent Homemaker

I had planned on getting some cyclamen too (on sale for $2.88 each), so I added some into the black pots by our entrance, along with more ornamental cabbage and a primrose ($1.98 each) . As I was in line at the nursery, I noticed that they had repeated the same arrangement indoors I had admired outdoors, but with purple cabbage and white cyclamen. 

 Winter White Urn by Door The Prudent Homemaker

In the urns at the front door, I had added some wire vine earlier this summer. I dug in the spaces around it and put a cyclamen plant in each, along with two primroses. These won't mind the full shade of this spot. 

Winter Urn on Wall The Prudent Homemaker

Earlier this year I added an urn (that I got for free) at the end of the low wall that I built. I dug up some oregano that had grown from seed in the garden and moved it into that urn. I added 2 viola plants that had been growing in the center urn. I then added some Christmas tree branches and some pinecones. Should the ornamental cabbage get too large for the center urn in the months to come, I may move them to this urn.

We still haven't had a frost here, but all of these plants will do just fine with a frost. Other good choices for our mild winters that are also on sale are snapdragons, pansies, and violas. 

Snow is extremely rare here, and frosts are short-lived: Our official first frost date is November 15th (but I usually don't see a frost until mid-December) and our last frost date is February 15th, though I have rarely seen a frost past the third week of January. These plants should last until sometime in April.

My next plan in the white garden is to plant the daffodil bulbs that I've been chilling in the refrigerator for weeks. In our mild climate, prechilling helps to get the bulbs the chilling hours they require in order to flower. I won't dig them up in years to come, however.

After Christmas, I'll be pruning the roses and stripping any remaining leaves to force them into a short dormancy, which will make them stronger and healthier in the year to come.  The white garden will then be empty of flowers except for the flowers in the urns until the bulbs start flowering and the roses flower again, sometime in late February at the earliest (and possibly not until mid-March).

Winter Garden Urns The Prudent Homemaker



Tagged in: White Garden
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The White Garden in March

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White Garden in March Strawberry Blossom The Prudent Homemaker


Delphiniums The Prudent Homemaker

 My white garden is in bloom.

I recently decided to change the flowers out in the urn. I had paperwhites planted there, but once they are done, the leaves are not as interesting as a focal point. I decided to dig them all out after they were done blooming, and move them to a few places in the backyard. In their place, I added some dwarf delphiniums from the nursery. I also added back in the stock that I had planted in the fall, which is about done for the season (it blooms as a winter/early spring annual in our climate). I also replanted the bacopa. I added in a few seedlings that were coming up in the garden as well (chamomile and larkspur). While the delphinium is a perennial, it acts more like an annual in our hot climate. I've decided that I'd prefer to buy a few annuals for the main focal points in each garden (the urn in the white garden and the center circle around the sundial in back) in order to enjoy some flowers there all year long, rather than waiting for seedlings that only flower for short times of the year. Come summer, I will be putting vincas in this urn, which are one of the few flowers that thrive in our hot desert summer sun.

 White Garden in March The Prudent Homemaker

Tulips in The White Garden 1 The Prudent Homemaker

The tulips have returned to the garden this year. Tulips are usually a one-time deal in hot climates. You pre-chill them for 10 weeks in the refrigerator in the fall to simulate a winter chill, and then you plant them. I did that with these the first year, and they bloomed for us in 2014. Last year I saw a few leaves, but no flowers, and I figured they were done.  (You can dig them and rechill them if you want, however). This year they surprised me, howvever, with most of them blooming again, and several of them sending forth a couple of flowers per bulb. The tulips are smaller than they were the first year, which is to be expected. I am happy that they are multiplying in the garden; I certainly never expected them to return.  The garden is in full shade all winter, and even now is still about 1/3 in shade.

Tulips 2 The Prudent Homemaker

Another flower to bloom again that also bloomed in 2014 but that didn't bloom last year are my iris. The leaves came up in November, but they just started to show buds a week ago, and many are now open.

Iris The Prudent Homemaker

Iris 2 The Prudent Homemaker

My iceberg roses haven't bloomed quite yet, but they are all budded, so it won't be long before they are covered with flowers. This will be their first bloom of the year. Since they are a floribunda rose, they rebloom every 5-6 weeks, until I prune them back in December or January. Once it starts getting really hot, the flowers will open smaller, around the size of miniature roses.

Strawberry Blossoms The Prudent Homemaker

My alpine strawberries are blooming again. These prefer the shade (and will actually burn and die in the hot summer sun in my garden). They are all grown from seed. The strawberries are tiny white ones that are the size of my pinky nail when ripe. They have an intense flavor. In mild climates these can bloom and ripen all summer. Here, they are ripe in late spring for a few months, and again in late fall until our first frost.

Meyer Lemon Blossoms The Prudent Homemaker 

The Meyer lemon trees are also in bloom again. I love the perfume from these blossoms. Eventually, these three small trees will grow as an evergreen hedge to cover the cinderblock wall (which is my neighbor's back wall) and should provide us with lots of lemons for lemonade.

White Garden in March 2 The Prudent Homemaker

Three years ago this garden was just a dream on a piece of paper. Now it is full of flowers, fruit, herbs, and lettuce.

To see past pictures of my white garden, click here.


Tagged in: White Garden
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Winter White Garden and Our Front Entry

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The white in our white garden in winter is from the flowers, and not from snow. 

Winter White Garden The Prudent Homemaker

This week I added a few things to the garden; namely, some beautiful Noble fir and Douglas fir branches that I got for free from the nursery, that were cut from the bottom of fresh Christmas trees. I added these to our center urn, along with two other urns by the front door that I'll show you further down the page.

Winter White Garden Roses The Prudent Homemaker

Winter White Garden Roses 2 The Prudent Homemaker

The Iceberg roses are still blooming. They have a tinge of pink to them as it got just to freezing and then warmed back up, but the rest of the year they are just white, blooming every six weeks. I'll prune them at the end of the month and strip the leaves to force them into a short dormancy, which will make them healthier for next year. 

Winter White Garden Cabbages The Prudent Homemaker

Below the roses in the 4 planter sections, behind the short hedges, I've planted white flowering cabbage. These will be beautiful all winter.

Winter White Garden 2 The Prudent Homemaker 

The Meyer lemon trees are ripe with lemons right now. These are just a couple of years old (we put in this garden 2 1/2 years ago) but as they get bigger I will prune them more like a hedge that will cover the wall. They're a bit of yellow in the garden for a short time, but the rest of the year they are just green (with white flowers when they flower and a heavenly perfume.) I planted these in addition to the two I have in back to make sure that we have enough lemons for lemonade, in addition to all of the other ways we like to use lemons.

Winter White Garden 4 The Prudent Homemaker

Below the lemons are several herbs, including garlic chives, oregano, and tarragon, along with green onions near the wall and white alpine strawberries at the front of the planter.  The black bench is one we redid from three old benches.

Winter White Garden 3 The Prudent Homemaker

Looking the other direction back towards the urn, you can again see the snowy-white Dusty Miller than I cut for flower arrangments in the foreground. At the base of the plinth below the urn you can see more of the white-fruited alpine strawberries that I grow from seed. A mild winter is predicted this year, so I may get to pick these dime-sized berries throughout the winter this year. I picked a few this week.

Winter White Garden Paperwhites The Prudent Homemaker

At the front of the garden, below the wall that I built, is a row of paperwhites. These bloom outdoors here in winter, starting in November. 

Winter White Garden Paperwhite and Roses The Prudent Homemakerjpg

Winter White Garden Paperwhites detail The Prudent Homemaker

Christmas Front Door The Prudent Homemaker

Christmas Wreath The Prudent Homemaker

On our front doors, I've hung the faux wreaths I put together a couple of years ago, using purchased wreaths, bells, faux berries with star picks, and gathered pinecones.

Christmas Urn The Prudent Homemaker

In the urns, I have white-flowering cyclamen. These like the shade here (and this area is in full shade year-round). I added a white double-flowering stock flower to each pot (a winter flower here), and despite the freeze, I still have a bit of red-leafed sweet potato vine growing in the pots from fall. I added some more Noble fir branches to these pots and some pinecones.

Christmas Front Door Urn Detail The Prudent Homemaker

If you're looking to grow paperwhite indoors this winter, I highly recommend Van Engelen Bulbs, which is where I purchased all of my paperwhites. For cyclamen, check your local nursery; ours (Star Nursery for locals) has them on sale for $1.99 through today, whereas they are $9.99 each in the grocery store ad that I saw this week. They also carry red and pink, if you're looking for a little more color. These are an indoor plant in most climates, but can handle the winter outdoors here if kept in the shade.

Lastly, ask about free branches at any place that sells Christmas trees near you!  Just ask out where they are trimming trees if you can have the branches that they cut. I'll admit I was a bit hesitant, but when I asked, the response was, "You can have them if you want!"

Tagged in: White Garden
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Green in the White Garden

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 Green in White Garden1 The Prudent Homemaker

The white garden is very green right now. In a few days it will be full of flowers;  even as I write this, several tulips have opened, and there are roses that will open within the week.

Here are some scenes from the garden from a couple of days ago:

Green in the White Garden 2 The Prudent Homemaker

The Katy apricot tree has doubled in size since last year.

Katy Apricot The Prudent Homemaker

Green in the White Garden 3 The Prudent Homemaker

Thyme cascades from the urn. Underneath it, parsley grows. To the right of that is dusty miller under the peach tree, and the large plant is an artichoke, planted from seed last year (to harvest this year).  A carpet rose is in a pot near the wall, and jasmine grows from a pot on the trellis (which is 6 inch concrete mesh, hung on the diagonal). This corner could have had nothing at all, between the concrete footings for the wall and the house, and the two irrigation boxes. I used pots on top of these things to make the most of the space; the urn sits on one of the irrigation boxes.

Cyclamen The Prudent Homemaker

 I experimented with cyclamen in the corner, which is usually in the shade. It flowers in the winter, and I have heard it can grow all year outdoors here if kept in the shade. I have snapdragons behind it, and a mulberry seedling as well, grown from seeds from my neighbor's tree.

White Alpine Strawberries The Prudent Homemaker

I'm growing white alpine strawberries in several places in the garden. I grew these from seed. The strawberries are tiny, and they are white when ripe. They're super sweet (like eating strawberry fruit leather!) and in more mild climates than mine, they will bloom all summer. Here they bloom in spring,February through May, and again in fall, October through December.

Meyer Lemon and Bay Trees The Prudent Homemaker

The meyer lemon trees will eventually grow to be a hedge that covers the wall between my front yard and my neighbor's backyard.

Meyer Lemon Buds The Prudent Homemaker

They are just starting to open. When they all do, the perfume is wonderful.

Under the tree are the alpine strawberries, garlic chives, parsley, and green onions. There are three lemon trees in this planter (which was a slope covered with rocks before we chaged the landcape). Between the other trees are tarragon, oregano, and parlsey plants, and behind them, next to the wall, are green onions grown from seed.

Bay Leaf Standard The Prudent Homemaker


In the pot is a bay tree, that I am growing as a topiary.


 Calla Lily The Prudent Homemaker

Below the planter I've planted calla lilies. These get afternoon shade from the walls near them, and in the summer, they'll have shade from the apricot tree and dusty miller below it.

I do have a few things blooming right now. I have stock, that I've grown from seed. This can bloom all winter into May here, depending on when the plants went in the ground. This one was grown from seed last fall:

White Stock The Prudent Homemaker


DianthusThe Prudent Homemaker

The dinathus in the urn will bloom in spring, and then burn and die in the summer heat. Though it's a perennial in cooler climates, it has always acted as a cool-season annual for me in our climate. I got this one in a tiny pot at the nursery last fall. 

Snapdragon The Prudent Homemaker

The snapdragons are blooming in the bottom sectin of the garden, below the wall. They're farily covered by the paperwhite leaves (the paperwhites bloomed in November). I think after the paperwhite die back all the way (important to give the bulbs strength to bloom again the next year) that I will have to dig them up and plant them in the back of the bed.

White Garden 4 The Prudent Homemaker

 Front Walk The Prudent Homemaker

Above the front entry I have white Lady Bank's roses. These tiny roses bloom once a year in spring. I planted them two years ago (they were the first things to go in, while we did the rest ofh te work in the front yard) and they were 12 inches tall when then went it. This year they have blooms for the first time. Up the edges of hte walkway I have more alpine strawberries, and parlsey on the opposite side. In the center I have daffodils, spinach, lettuce, and Star of Bethelem (which isn't blooming this year, unfortunately). The euyonomous bushes will be pruned into spheres once they are large enough.

Passionfruit leaves The Prudent Homemaker

On the wall opposite the hose, the passionfruit vine is already leafing out. I'm hoping well get fruit this year, as it hasn't fruited for me yet.

 Passionfruit vine The Prudent Homemaker

Primroses grow along the path on both sides of the walkway here. These started blooming in January. After the blooms die, they will be green the rest of the year. This spot is in the shade all year.

White Garden 5 The Prudent Homemaker

Within the next two weeks, the garden will be full of blooms.

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White Garden Seed Giveaway

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Note: This is not a sponsored post. I was not paid for my opinions. I really like this company and recommend them based on my own experience with them.

Last year, while searching for white foxglove seed for my white garden, I came across a company called Outside Pride that carried it for a fantastic price. The price was so amazing that I thought I should look to see what other seeds the company carried.

When I say amazing, I'm talking about packets of 1000 to 5000 seeds for $4.99. If you've ever bought flower seeds before, you know what a deal that is.

At that price, one can easily have loads of flowers in the garden. The company not only carries flower seeds, but they also have herb seeds and grass seeds.

I found that I could also search their website by color, making it very easy to choose flowers for a white garden. I ended up choosing several choices from them.

I asked them if they would be interested in doing a giveaway for my readers. They have agreed to give away a packet of each of the following seeds that are growing in my white garden to one lucky reader.

White vesca strawberries

These are berries that grow from seed that do not send out runners. These alpine-type berries are tiny berries that are sweeter than regular berries; to me, they taste like strawberry fruit leather! Outside Pride carries both red and white varieties. I chose white to go well in the white garden, but they have another advantage, too: the birds do not know they are ripe and leave them alone.

German chamomile

This pretty flower makes for a lovely herbal tea. These bloomed for me last month.

White violas

These are the size of a johnny jump up, but white. (They carry these and pansy seeds in a myriad of colors). These are just finishing up in my garden, being a cool season flower that works fall through spring in my climate.

White vincas (periwinkle)

I plant vincas after the violas are done in the garden. These are flowers that produce well above 100º. They flower all summer here and will grow until our first frost in December. At our last house (8 years ago), I used to buy flats of these flowers to put in the garden each June. Buying these seeds is so much less money! They have these in several colors.

White larkspur

These are best planted in fall in my climate for May and June flowers. The seeds are easy to collect once the flowers are done, making it easy to have plenty of flowers the following year.

Genovese Basil

They carry several types of basil seeds. If you want to grow enough for pesto, this is a great way to go (their packet is 1/8 of a pound for $4.99! That's a lot of seeds!) I sow seeds directly in my garden in April. I'm starting to harvest basil now; it will grow until my first first. If it starts to flower, I cut off the flowers to keep it producing. The flowers, incidentally, are white.

Would you like to win a packet of each of these seeds for your garden? Enter the giveaway below.

Note: This giveaway is open to U.S. readers only.

If you grew a white garden, what flowers and food would you include?

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Tagged in: White Garden
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The White Garden in April

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A year ago in April, I was so excited to finally landscape the front yard. We were in the planning stages then. I was particularly anxious, because it looked like this:

A year later, it looks like this:

The amazing thing is, the changes I made resulted in a lusher garden--that uses less water. The entire garden is watered with drip irrigation. My water bill in April was 1/3 of what it was the year before.

I've been saving water from indoors from the shower and from rinsing produce. I've been able to measure how much that saves, and it is a very small percentage of my bill (though still worth it, I feel). Most of the change, however, has come as a result of re-landscaping the front yard.

As a bonus, some of the water used in the front comes back to me in food, as well as flowers. In the photo above, you can see the red lettuces growing up the walkway next to parsley. In the summer the lettuces will be replaced with basil.

White Wedgewood Iris
April is the month where most of the bulbs that I planted are blooming.
Star of Bethlehem


Here is the view from across the street.

I added this delphinium plant from the nursery. It has gone to seed now and I am collecting seeds from it this week.

My neighbor remarked to me recently that it doesn't look like I just planted it last year. I would agree. Still, I know in a couple of years, the growth will make for a huge difference.

The next thing to bloom are lilies. I'm excited for those!
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