White Garden

White Garden Reveal

Here’s a reminder of how it looked before (for the last seven years, and the three years before we owned it):

And now, right before sunrise:

Can you see the edible plants? No? Good. Most of my neighbors don’t, either. I’ll point them out in more pictures.

Another great change is that we went from one tree to eight trees in the same space.

The vines that are climbing up on both sides are Lady Bank’s Roses. They will bloom prolifically once a year for three weeks. Most of the year they will be evergreen. These roses with miniature blooms grow in U.S. zones 8-10, and they come in yellow and white. The white ones have thorns and also a slight perfume. They are fast growers. I planted these very first; they were 2 feet high in April and now are 8 feet tall. Ideally, I’d like them to grow above the entry way, which means I need to convince my husband to make a support system for them. We cut 6″ wire mesh into a long, single row for the support on each side., and my husband cut pieces from cement board to help hold it away from the wall a little bit. He screwed it through the to help provide better support, and we glued the to the stucco as well. We hope these hold, as it is just about impossible to support anything in stucco.

Basil is growing on the outer edges of the walkway, to be replaced with parsley in winter and spring (there are seeds coming up there already).

It’s hard to tell, but there are six bushes lining the walkway. When these get large enough, they will be pruned as rounded bushes.

Vincas are growing up the walkway in the summer. Like the basil, these will die at the first frost. The plan is to grow violas in their place, but none have come up for me yet. I have also been trying white alpine strawberries to grow right next to these, but only 3 have sprouted. I will continue to try these.

In the center of each side planter area are miniature white pumpkin plants. These have grown slowly this year and aren’t giving me anything this year, but I will try again next year.

In the fall and winter I am growing lettuce up the center of the walkway. I have seeds coming up already.

Come spring, bulbs will line these walkways, including white daffodils, a late snowdrop-looking bulb, and Star of Bethlehem bulbs.

The concrete walkway all the down to the street makes me so happy! I love that it’s wider than the walkway that the builders had there, so two people can walk side by side, comfortably. I also like that it isn’t necessary to walk through the driveway to get the mail, unless I wanted to cut through the yard and slip on the rocks.

Alongside the walkway is a Maypop passionfruit vine. This area may get too much shade for the vine, but hopefully next year it will grow bigger and give us flowers and fruits. It is supposed to die back to the ground each year.

Underneath the passionfruit vine I am growing parsley and tarragon.

By the front door I planted gardenias in these urns. The front door is in the shade all day long. The gardenias are evergreens. When they get larger I will prune them as round bushes.

I struggled with designing this garden for several years. I am so happy with the design I decided on. My husband is really happy that I got rid of all of the grass, which means he no longer has to bring the mower all the way around the house to do a tiny spot in the front. He also doesn’t have to worry about weeds in the rocks anymore.

Here’s what the view from the driveway looked like before.

And now here’s how it looks:

Doesn’t it look so much larger? It’s amazing how much space was actually there once we pulled out those bushes. They were five feet wide!

Eventually the small new bushes will grow together to make very distinct beds. The zucchini will only be able to grow there a few summers. At that point, the trees will be bigger and will shade the garden more. In the spring, tulips and ranunculus will grow where you now see zucchini.

In the back, upper planter, I have planted three semi-dwarf Meyer lemon trees. The lemons have beautiful, fragrant white flowers. These will eventually grow to cover the wall that divides my house from the neighbor’s house. His is the corner lot, and that wall is his backyard. I’m the only one in the tract that has this wall in my front yard.

The planter is that high because the concrete footer for the wall slopes downward toward the street. I had hoped that the entire wall was as low as it is in front, but it gets higher as it goes toward the direction of my house.

Under the lemons I am growing oregano. I have planted mache to grow in the winter along the front of that planter; earlier I grew Armenian cucumbers there. I should be able to grow cucumbers there for a few years before it is too shady to grow them there.

To the left of the bench is an Early Elberta peach tree. This is an exception to my white garden; the flowers are pink. If I end up regretting having planted it there because of that, I will replace it with something else and possibly pot the peach for the backyard.

Across from that to the right is a Katy apricot. This tree blooms really early; it ripens 3-4 weeks before the Royal Blenheim apricot in my backyard. I specifically wanted this kind so that I can have not only more apricots, but fresh apricots more than once. It should be the first tree to ripen in the garden.

The two red-leaved trees are flowering plums. We planted these for the deep red leaves that cover them for most of the year. They rarely fruit, and the variety that our local nursery carries almost never fruits. We had these at my last house in town and we loved them. I planned to plant them in our backyard when we moved here, but instead I planted apple trees in their place. I have mixed feelings about having trees that do not fruit, but I also know that these were so beautiful. The trees flower in the spring with pale pink, almost white flowers.

My plan is to prune the peach, apricot, and flowering plums to keep them as medium-sized, rounded trees.

On both sides of the garden I am growing 5 Iceberg rose bushes. I specifically chose these as they are a floribunda rose, which means they repeat flower over and over, about every 2 weeks, with a few blossoms here and there in between.

On the side of the house, the two rose bushes at each end are a climbing variety of iceberg roses. My hope is that they grow to cover the front of the house on each side of the window, up to the roof.

The valve boxes (there are two of them, one behind the other) take up a lot of room in this corner. Most of it has a concrete footer that comes from the house and the wall that divides the house; in fact the concrete slopes up in the right-hand corner. We lightly covered it with dirt, but anything that grows her can mostly have shallow roots if it is close to the wall. This area is also very shady all year. I have tried growing a few things so far up the trellis (which is simply 6″ wire mesh cut into a square and hung on the diagonal) but so far none of my plans have done well, so what I end up growing here may change.

The lime was added in a pot that used to sit by the front door. I put the pot on top of the valve box, making that space useful for growing.

We also moved the anti-syphon valve back into this corner. It was originally right in the middle of the yard right under the window.

If you look closely again, you can see the drain that my husband put in, and the concrete that leads to it from the special block with the holes in it from the backyard. The backyard drains into the front yard on the rare times that it rains. The drain empties out through the front lower wall into the low bed by the street.

The bushes in the foreground will grow into a hedge that is just above the wall. The two bushes that are in the pots will be pruned to be round as they grow large enough.

I have planted bulbs and seeds to fill in the areas that are just dirt now. You can also see the artichoke plant that is coming up from seed as well.

Under the peach tree I planted dusty miller. There is also some planted under the apricot tree that is just out of the picture.

 

These are the zinnias that I planted from seed in July. They are 4 feet tall right now. My neighbors have gushed on and on about these. They should grow until frost, which can be as early as mid-November here, but is usually the second week of December.

Underneath these are vincas that I also planted from seeds. They are like impatiens for the sun, and they like it hot and sunny. These will also perish with the frost. I have viola seeds that I hope will grow here.

In this area, I planted bulbs and seeds. The week before Christmas, the bulbs that I have been prechilling will be ready to be planted there as well. By then, the paperwhites that I planted here will be up and in bloom. In subsequent years, the paperwhites will bloom in late November.

We put in a narrow (2 feet wide) sidewalk here. Our neighborhood doesn’t have sidewalks, and this little walkway means we can walk to the mailboxes that are at the end of it without having to go into the street. It also means that I don’t have to kneel in the street to garden in this lower bed.

Basil is dwarfing the bush in the foreground, but later that bush will grow tall enough to cover that corner and be clipped into a round. Come Christmas time when the bushes are that big, I plan to drape these bushes with net lights.

To save money on putting in the garden, I did several things:

I used over $300 in coupons from the local nursery. They had several $20 off coupons and a few $25 off $40 coupons this year.

I combined those coupons with sales on different items. I purchased almost every plant from the nursery on sale over several months.

For one of the trees, I had to visit a different nursery. Their price for fruit trees for $11 higher than my closer nursery’s regular price. I asked them to price match the other nursery in town, and they did.

I bought seeds instead of plant for the annuals. I also found a place (Outside Pride) that sells seeds in 1000 seed packets for $4.99 (more on that in a bit).

I ordered my bulbs in bulk from a wholesale company (you can read more about that in my post 1000 Flowers). Most of the bulbs that I chose will naturalize here and return year after year. They will multiply, which means in a few years I will have even more flowers.

We borrowed a backhoe from a friend and my brother-in-law, who knows how to drive it, dug up our front yard and used the back hoe to help us move dirt. The only thing we had to pay for was the gasoline. This was a huge savings of both money and time.

We bought the wall block on clearance. I also ordered it online, so that I could go through Ebates to get 2.5% back. We picked it up ourselves with our trailer so we did not have to pay any delivery charges.

I used a $10 off coupon on the center urn.

I purchased 4 urns on clearance for 50% off.

I went through Ebates when I ordered the plinth online to get 3% back.

We did most of the work ourselves–tearing out the old, moving rock, digging up dirt, putting in new dirt, laying the wall, including cutting the block for the ends, running water lines and power, installing and wiring the valves, and running drip irrigation. The only work we paid for was the concrete.

We had concrete laid with a texture, and had it cut to look like slate, rather than installing actual slate.

We used the backhoe to load the old tree, roots, concrete, and old dirt into another friend’s dump truck. We were able to dump it at the dump for free using our trash bill to show that we lived here and pay for trash (they almost didn’t let us because it was in a dump truck, but it wasn’t a company truck–just a friend’s personal, very old dump truck, held together in front with white duct tape!) The dump truck saved us the huge cost of renting a dumpster. We did pay the friend for his gas and time.

A friend gave us some of her old garden dirt, which filled in two large areas in the garden, saving us money on dirt.

I used the bench that I had and fixed it. I used the metal mesh that we already had on hand to make all of the trellises. I planted the lime in a pot that I had bought many years ago.

The entire garden is watered with drip irrigation.

Sources:

Star Nursery (local nursery): Boxleaf euyonomous, Greenspire Euyonomous, semi-dwarf Meyer lemon trees,  dwarf Mexican lime tree, Semi-dwarf Early Elberta peach tree, flowering plum trees, sage, thyme, oregano, and tarragon plants, snapdragons, white carpet rose, white Iceberg roses, white Iceberg climbing roses, Vetchii gardenias, Lady Bank’s rose, Dusty Miller, dirt, drip irrigation, valves

Plant World Nursery (local nursery): Semi-dwarf Katy apricot

Concrete work: Shorty Nihipali

Lowe’s: Block wall and cap (discontinued item), the center garden urn, the paint to paint it and the plinth (below) a different color, pipes, cement board, concrete, drain cover

Home Depot: Plinth under the center urn

Target: 4 garden urns in 2 sizes, hose reel

Wildseed Farms: white zinnias (I recommend buying the ounce size)

Outside Pride: Seeds for the following items: periwinkle (vincas), Genovese basil, White Perfection violas, foxglove, Christmas Rose (hellebore), caraway, White King larkspur, stock, lavender, Vesca white strawberry, arugula, corn salad (mache)

Van Engelen: All bulbs: Narsissus Ziva (Paperwhites), Iris White Wedgewood, Iris Reticula Natascha, Leucojum Aestivum (A type of late spring extra-large snowdrop), Orinthogalum Umbellatum (Star of Bethlehem), Ranunculus White Shades, Tulip White Emporor, Narcissus Curlew, Oriental Lily Casa Blanca, Peony Festiva Maxima.

Territorial Seed: Maypop Passionflower plant, seeds of the following: lettuces, Italian Parsley, German Chamomile, Mascara lettuce, Baby Boo Pumpkin

Burpee: Rouge d’Hiver lettuce, Black Seeded Simpson lettuce, Summer Squash Burpeee Hybrid Zucchini (a bush variety)

Other posts on the work on my white garden:

Garden Bench Makeover
1000 Flowers
Sneak Peak of The Front Garden
Front Garden Update
Front Garden Update
Dreaming on Paper

This post is linked to Inspiration Monday, Metamorphosis Monday, Monday Funday, Inspire Me Tuesday, Cozy Little House, Not Just a Housewife, Wow us Wednesdays, Whimsy Wednesdays, The Vintage Farmhouse, My Romantic Home, Jennifer Rizzo, Feathered Nest FridayFrugal Friday, From My Front Porch To Yours,

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25 Comments

  1. Love the garden! You continue to be an inspiration! Need to rethink things here, but winter consists of heavy snow and frozen ground…are you painting the cinder block walls later on?

  2. Oh, Brandy, this is simply lovely! Now you watch… your neighbors, before too long will start improving their front yards too. My sister had her home built quite a number of years ago in a new subdivision. When she could afford it, she had it professionally landscaped. It wasn’t long and she could tell she had set a new standard for the neighborhood. Sometimes, “keeping up with the Joneses can be a good thing!” Congratulations on a wonderful project all coming together!

  3. Lynda,I think you’ve hit the nail on the head as to why cinder block walls aren’t used in other parts of the country. In the desert southwest, these walls are put in by the builders, and it’s normal for every house here to be divided by walls (not to have them in the front yard, though–my house is kind of strange that way in the way the builder decided to put my neighbor’s corner house in, but I don’t mind it; it gives me some privacy). Painting the walls would be bad; I’ve seen in done and it looks awful. Plus, we are not allowed to alter those walls here with our HOA.Winter does not consist of heavy snow and frozen ground here, though. In fact, the ground never freezes here and a tiny, light snow is a rare thing here, only seen every 9-10 years. I’m in a zone 9a; our first frost is usually mid-December, and it’s just a light one. It can be as early as November 15th, but all the years I’ve been here it hasn’t been. Then, our last frost can be as late as mid-February, but usually it’s earlier than that; sometimes it’s a month earlier. Cold temperatures here are just under freezing, but usually right above freezing, which is a good thing, or I couldn’t grow citrus here. Too many days below 32º will kill citrus. I did have one lemon almost completely die years ago; it is slowly growing all new branches; only the lower trunk survived. But, that kind of weather is much more unusual.Perhaps you meant just that winter is that for you and if you were to do a similar thing? If that’s what you meant, you could put in a cherry tree instead of an apricot and hazelnuts instead of lemons, or maybe large berry bushes. Blueberries would be nice!

  4. This is BEAUTIFUL….and so nicely thought out! Thank you for posting this! I’m going to corral Beloved Husband as soon as he is rested, and say “look at this and see what we can do”!!!! Again, thank you for posting!Kathleen in IL

  5. Thank you for sharing your wonderful white garden. You are such an inspiration! Wherever do you find the time to do all you do? Well, I am glad you do, and that you share with us. -Annette in San Antonio

  6. Brandy, your white garden is so, so beautiful!!! What a joy and a reward for your dedication and hard work! I remember your “dreaming on paper” post, and your garden is such an example of your amazing talents!! You inspire me daily!

  7. I am from southern Ontario Canada and we have to pay for every drop of water we use. I do not water anything outside unless it is a recent transplant but we get a lot more rain and don’t have the heat that you do.Do you budget for water?

  8. I just love your white garden. I have been dreaming of planting one eventually. I love how you incorporated so many varieties of plants. I hope you will keep us posted from year to year how it progresses. Alaina

  9. What a beautiful garden I too have been excitedly waiting for the big reveal! I hope that your flowering plums actually do produce fruit. My in laws have a flowering plum that is loaded every single year they are my favorite for jam I have never seen another flowering plum produce like theirs though. The funny thing was that my mother-in-law bought the tree especially for the beautiful color and no fruit! I go and pick all the plums every year and she comes and gets some of my Stanley plums. Congratulations on a job so well done. I agree with everyone that you should have a garden design business.

  10. Some varieties of flowering plums produce fruit, which is the same color as the leaves (how awesome is that!). I was hoping that would be the case with these, but our nursery only has one kind, and search after search online told me that it would be highly unlikely that I would get any fruit from this one. I grew these before at my last house and I had 3 cherry-sized fruits on one tree one year, so I don’t expect fruit. I wish they did!

  11. Brandi,that is what my inlaw’s tree does the fruits are the same color as the leaves if you were a practitioner of stealth gardening it would be great way for noone to realize that you have any fruit. My mother-in-laws tree was supposed to bear no fruit that is why she bought it she didn’t want fruit just color (crazy right?) but it produces TONS of fruit which covers the lawn if I don’t come clean it up. I get probably two five gallon buckets of plums from it they are amazing in jam. Here is to hoping that you luck out! I plan on attempting to graft some branches for trees of my own because I love the fruit but that is a next year project gotta find some sturdy wild plum starts first.

  12. What a beautiful garden! I just discovered your blog today, and then came to see your “White Garden” posts. Your white roses are gorgeous, and I love the way the white zinnias look with your other plantings. I was feeling a little hesitant about planting summer squash in my front yard, even though that is where the sunlight, soil, and ability to get water to them will work best; but seeing your lovely squash plants has sealed the deal. I am planting a few squash plants in the front yard. I have zinnias, too, but they are multicolored. Most anytime of day during the summer I can look out at my rainbow of zinnias and see a hummingbird or two at them. You have such a beautifully planned and productive garden. You have given me quite a few planting ideas.

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