Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dancing with White

Pure, innocent, plain, stark, glaring, white. Growing white flowers has never been a priority; I prefer a riot of color. Yet, white is an intriguing color that can soften a flowerbed or landscape or add glaring drama. At the beginning of my gardening life I lived on an old farm. Each spring a white flowering frenzy began. It started with a drift of snowdrops along the fence. An old family legend told of a cabin that sat in the front yard and the darling white bed of narcissus was planted by the lady of the cabin. The innocent white blossoms of mock orange became lovely bouquets on the kitchen table. The spirea that grew amongst an oversize forsythia really did look like a bridal veil cascading over yellow. 

White lilacs permeated the air with the sweetest fragrance ...

and the snowball bush became entertainment central for two children. The limbs of the old shrub lopped over creating secret places beneath branches of big white snowballs. Snowball fights ensued and blossoms fell to the ground creating a white cover in spring. Later an antique white rose bloomed in June filling the air just beneath the kitchen window with heavenly fragrance. These whites I enjoyed and treasured.

As far as the garden… no white blooms beyond baby’s breath and tiny blossoms of herbs could be found dancing in my garden. I preferred flamboyant reds, joyful yellows, cool blues, gentle pinks, and powerful purples tripping the light fantastic throughout my garden.

Come sit with me in the arbor while we ponder a waltz.

I decided to make white the theme for January, but truth is I took very few photos of white flowers over the last growing season, but I’m sharing what I have. This is my nod to white flowers and opening my horizons to include more white in the future.

I'd like to tango with a hydrangea, weaving over and under in a sensual dance.   

A group of daisies, along the brick wall, stood nodding in time to music of summer breezes. 

"Speaking of delicious fantasies, let me tell you about the white queen."   ~Diana Baker Mason

Chalky white Dusty Miller sat among the Lobelia playing second fiddle.

Oh Miss Hollyhock, dressed for the ball, can I lead you onto the dance floor?  

Two throngs of daisies awaited the dancers along side the curving brick path. 

Light turned the gold grass white while reaching for a blue November sky in a last dance before snow flies.


  1. Gorgeous post..both..in words and imaages and meaning..such radiant beauty all in white! Decadent and inspiring post! Yay!

  2. This is a great post. I do think white is under-rated and underused in the garden. I think using white blooming plants in the garden make the bright colored blooms look even better by providing a great contrast in colors. My favorite is white blooms next to red blooming plants.

  3. Beautiful photos. The only white that I can recall in my yard is the white of the cherry tree, when it blooms in spring, only for a few short weeks. I use the picture of the blooms as the header for my garden blog. Hope you visit.

  4. Kiki...thank you, as always, for your exuberant words.

    Noelle...I agree, white is probably under used and underrated. I've been pondering trying a night blooming flower, just for giggles.

    Harvee...Welcome to the Cottage on the Corner. Thanks... all the photos were taken last summer and fall. Your header is gorgeous and sure makes me long for spring.

  5. So very Vita Sackville West.
    Yes, I always thought a white garden would be so subtle and tasteful and then got blown away by all the colors in the world.
    I still adore white flowers which are a delight to look at particularly this time of year.
    I no longer have a garden
    but really wish I had one.
    Greetings from the city!

  6. Greetings from the Country,

    I'm so glad you stopped by. I'm with you, there are so many colors in the world that excite me, but there's still a place for white.

  7. I adore white flowers as well, at the flower shop or in the garden.
    It sems when I buy plants, they flower white or blue!

  8. What amazing photos and the narrative took us away on a winter's day, Teresa! White flowers are so difficult to capture, the camera hates them. You have done a fabulous job, and I love the thought of hiding inside the drooping hydrangea and other branches, having done so many a time as a child.

  9. How pretty is your white lilacs and hydrangea. Just gorgeous and I can almost smell the lilacs. I have a few white also in the beds to brighten up the corners and nooks.

  10. Hi Deborah,

    Thank you for stopping The Cottage. I use lots more white in flower design than in the garden. I'm with you on blue...I love blue flowers of all kinds.

    Hi Frances,

    Thank you for your kind, thoughtful comments. Creating secret places in the yard and pasture seems to be a favorite among kids and some adults, too. I think I'd like to crawl beneath a cascading shrub and sit quietly. I wonder what I'd discover...

    Hi Lona!

    I must confess the hydrangea and lilac are not in my yard. The hydrangea grows at the Toledo Botanical Garden and the lilac add fragrance to the yard of my sister. Thank you for visiting! BTW...LOVE your red rose header!

  11. a beautiful white garden, gives great cause to dance.

  12. Oh I love this. LOVE gardening and will miss it when I leave the gardens I have planted at this house.

  13. Also aren't snowball bushes fabulous?

  14. Christina...Oh yes, beautiful white flowers to indeed give cause for dance.

    Amy...I so understand, leaving that farm and all the flowers and gardens was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Snowball bushes just make me smile!

  15. Hello Teresa O !!
    A salute to you and all your white beauties!


  16. Awesome photos! And nicely presented. Thanks. Hank

  17. Hank...thank you for stopping by and becoming a follower of the Cottage. I'm glad you enjoyed my white photo story.

  18. T - very very best of luck to you with "write in amazement"; but honestly, your existing blog is so beautifully writerly already. I've injected more whites into the garden over the past year, upright spires of delphinium "Galahad", and they're doing the trick for me. oh, those lilacs! I have an antique white lilac in my garden here in Scotland; my husband did some house hunting on his own before we moved here, because I was based in Ireland. My one specification to him: make sure the garden has lilacs. Thankfully, he found me a garden that delivered.

    - Sheila Averbuch

  19. Wow Shelia...you just gave a writer one of the best compliments that could possibly be penned. Thank you so very much. I love The Cottage on the Corner, but I want to keep it tightly focused on gardening and nature, so the new blog opens up the page to whatever I feel like writing...be it good, bad, or ugly.

    Lilac always make me sigh and I can understand your need to have that memorable fragance wafting through the window at any home.

    Thank you for stopping by!

  20. I am going to pretend that I am wearing a white linen dress . . . and that I'm dancing in that gorgeous white gazebo whilst inhaling deep draughts of white jasmine!

    Sadly, I only have white snow to contemplate at the moment. Well, that, and some white narcissus which are about to bloom (inside).

  21. Hi Bee...oh pretend away and lose yourself in a summer day, especially when snow piles up.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  22. Thank you so much for that white garden tour. I feel like I've just taken a walk through summer, something that's desperately needed these days. Do you think the sun will ever shine again? As soon as my mail order seeds arrive, I'll get them all started. What fun!

  23. That gazebo is to die for! Lovely post! Pamela x

  24. Amazing, both blogs. It took me away from all this snow and into my garden. Last year I planted an all white bed.


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