In the lower Mid-West, May is the month when we see lots of white flowers. For example, Spirea ‘Bridal Wreath' shrubs completely cover themselves with lacy white blossoms so that they do, in fact, resemble brides in traditional wedding gowns.
The low-growing perennial iberis, commonly known as candytuft, also has lacy white flowers. There are white lilacs and dogwoods in abundance too. Dogwood trees are positively dazzling when they are in full bloom. There is even a rare white double flowered dogwood Cornus Florida ‘plena.'
Bradford Pears, Services Berries, Star Magnolias...
Other white flowering trees include Bradford pears, service berries, and star magnolias. The kalmia shrubs, our native mountain laurels, have some whites, and the miniature white variety ‘Elf' is especially lovely. The mock oranges are fragrant as well as white, and Philadelphus ‘Virginal" has luscious double blossoms.
Need A Centerpiece?
A dainty white flowering groundcover is sweet woodruff (gallium odoratum), and it has a scent like vanilla and has been traditionally used as a May Day centerpiece for celebrations.
If you want to use this shade lover as a centerpiece, dig up several small clumps of it in bud and pop them into a basket lined with foil. They will happily bloom indoors and then can be replanted back into the garden.
Lily-of- the-Valley is usually in bloom in the lower Mid-West on Kentucky Derby day and so make perfect centerpieces for Derby Parties. They smell wonderfully fragrant and partner well with mint juleps.