May 2012 - Colour My Garden Green and White

Recently I have been asked by several of my landscape clients to design them a garden based around a colour scheme of using only green and white. Generally this means using shades of green foliaged plants and the white coming through in the flower colour.

There are certain suburbs in Auckland, where these two colours in the garden are very strongly the favoured combination. Today I want to mention some plants that I recommend as good candidates, for such a colour-schemed garden.


Camellia Early Pearly — one of the very best hedges, because the foliage is of the darkest green colour, with crisp clear white formal flowers over the late autumn/winter months, a very tidy low maintenance hedge that looks great all year round.

CamellIa Setsugekka — also a great flowering hedge with single white flowers with yellow stamens in the centre, trims really well, and probably the most popular flowering hedge in New Zealand basically because it has a reputation as being a reliable performer.

Grisilinia Broadway Mint — a New Zealand native, that’s also one of our most popular shrubs for hedges throughout the country, and deservedly so, because it looks fantastic all year with its lush green shiny foliage, and its extremely low maintenance, a couple of trims a year, and feed every spring and autumn, and it will perform outstandingly well for you. Great in a very windy site, and where the soil gets rather dry over the summer months-doesn’t tend to do well in very damp wet soils.



Michelia Bubbles— a real beauty evergreen tree with large white fragrant blooms in late winter/early spring, a good option for the urban and rural property, keeps its shape well, so ideal as a lawn specimen, lining a driveway, and as a backdrop in the shrub border.

Magnolia Little Gem — seems to be one of the most popular trees for lifestyle blocks and urban sections, glossy dark green foliage with heavy flowering over the summer months, great option for screening out the neighbours, as its very easy to pleach.  Hardy to the elements and looks great all year round, a good low maintenance smaller growing tree-height- 3.5m.


Hydrangea Quercifolia Pee Wee — a smaller growing member of the hydrangea family, with purest white flowers that hang like a bunch of grapes over the summer months. The foliage is a lush lime green in the spring, and in the autumn this turns to shades of strong red/orange and yellow tones. This hydrangea is more drought and sun tolerant than the traditional ball shaped hydrangeas, so a good subject under trees where it can get rather dry over the summer months. This is one of the hydrangea varieties, that you prune hard in the winter, as it flowers on new wood the following summer.

Choisya Ternata (Mexican Orange blossom) — a tried and true shrub, that’s been around for many years. it has very glossy green foliage and a great display of glistening white blooms in late winter/early spring. I recommend it as a good plant for the general shrub border, makes a good trimmed hedge at about one metre in height, if you grow it as a shrub, then I recommend that you prune it after flowering each year, to encourage it to stay nice and bushy.

Gardenia Fragrant Star — a real beaut for close to the summer patio or in a pot at the front door, its a variety of gardenia that’s a lot more compact in its growth habit than other varieties, and its a lot more resistant to the cold, I find it great as a small hedge next tothe patio, where you can view the clear white star shaped flowers, plus the fragrance will remind you of a tropical island in the pacific, feed twice per year with a slow release acid fertiliser, and if its in a warm sunny spot it will give you a continual supply of blooms for eight months of the year.


Trachelospermum Jasminoides (Star Jasmine-pictured) — if you are wanting to theme a green/white garden, then this plant is a must!!! I personally feel its one of the very best climbers available for New Zealand gardens, that’s because its foliage looks a good dark green colour all year round, plus its masses of small star shaped flowers appear on mass from early November through to the autumn. This is another plant which flowers produce the most delightful fragrance, and at a time when you are likely to be doing lots of outdoor eating and entertaining. Often used as a groundcover as well, pin down the first few side branches with weedmat pins, to start it off going across the ground, and then trim off any branches that come upwards above 15cm off the ground, and this will encourage the plant to stay low to the ground. Also a great option for hanging down over a wall.

Pandorea Lady Di — also a good performing evergreen climber, with large white trumpet like flowers over the summer months, great on a trellis, or wall -and if you dont have much room try it on a climbing frame in a pot.  As with any plant in a pot, make sure you feed it twice per year with a slow release fertiliser, to keep it looking good -spring and autumn.


Miniature Cyclamen — you will find these are available in plant shops at the moment, great for providing the instant white colour to your pots or the front of the border. They are pretty easy to look after, and dead head to keep a continuous show of blooms right through until late spring. These look fantastic when planted in groupings of the same colour, and like the cooler weather we experience at this time of the year.

New Guinea Impatiens — these are brilliant for providing instant colour for your summer garden, the extra large white flowers of the modern varieties, are very showy indeed. The newer varieties have been bred to be more tolerant of the hot sunshine, and will not stop flowering from the day you plant them, until the first frosts arrive in the autumn, Great in bowls/hanging baskets on the patio, or amongst other foliage plants to bring a great splash of colour to the green/white garden.

Hellebores (Winter Roses) — you can buy these nowadays by selected colours, so if you want the clear white look, then a variety called White Magic is a great show stopper, and some of the other hybrid types are also good, but because they are generally grown from seed and can vary considerably in flower colour, its best if you select them from a plant shop while in flower, because you then know exactly what you are getting. These are just starting to flower now, and will provide a great display over the cold winter months when not much else is in flower.



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Graeme Burton - Landscaper - Rukuhia Homestead, RD2, Ohaupo 3882
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