The white in our white garden in winter is from the flowers, and not from snow.
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.
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.
Below the roses in the 4 planter sections, behind the short hedges, I’ve planted white flowering cabbage. These will be beautiful all winter.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!”