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Luminous White Blossoms

Repetition of white interspersed among other colorful blossoms ties plantings together.

Moonflowers in bloom.

As I mature as a gardener, I realize that I am quite fond of making pronouncements about gardening, though I usually don’t confess to this in such a public manner.

Actually I don’t confess much at all if I can avoid it. However, one of my pronouncements is that if one is wondering what color of blossoming plant to purchase, choose one that has white flowers.

As well as combining well with every other color in the garden, white enhances neighboring colors, fits into and will not disrupt any color scheme, and is especially effective at dusk. Moonflowers are a wonderful example of this.

My own garden is full of white flowers, as I seem to be drawn to them. In the spring, white candytuft (Iberis) looks lacy and romantic and knits together the spring flowering bulbs and other plantings. I also love their single or double flowers against the dark green foliage of the mock orange shrub, lacy spireas and viburnums. White Siberian iris blossoms dance like ballerinas among the purple flowering ones in the spring too.

Later in the heat of summer, white dahlias, (especially the ones with the cactus form), white coneflowers, zinnias, petunias, impatiens and clematis make a summer garden look cool.

In the fall, the white rose of Sharon and the white wood asters and chrysanthemums look fresh and clean against backdrops of any foliage color.

Repetition of white interspersed among other colors ties plantings together. I have a friend who is superstitious about white flowers and would never grow them or have them in her home. She calls them funereal, whereas I call them luminous.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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