White Flowers, White Gravel

 In a previous post I wondered if white gravel can be part of an attractive landscape.  This neighborhood project seems to say that yes, it can.  The gravel is used as an accent rather than as the major ground covering component.
This is a "white garden"--that is to say, a green and white garden.  Green makes white all the whiter.  White flowered Duranta, white ground cover roses, white 'Iceberg' shrub roses, two white-flowered Lagerstroemias, (probably 'Natchez'), and Hydrangea macrophylla 'Variegata'. 

 And a bit of Dymondia ground cover.  Look carefully and you might see the brown drip system tubing.
 Questionable placement of the Hydrangeas, within a few inches of the house.  I've grown this particular hydrangea and it can get six feet wide very quickly.  This is also west-facing;  the hot afternoon sun is going to toast the hydrangeas, which do well here facing east, but not west.  A dwarf Magnolia, probably 'Little Gem', also planted a little close to the house.  It's a dwarf and a slow grower, but "dwarf" for Magnolia grandiflora means 20'-35' tall by 8-12' wide. 
 I hope it's a dwarf Duranta, and not Duranta erecta 'Alba', that can get 25'x25'.  If it isn't a dwarf, it will be soon be buzzed into a hedge that never blooms because the buzz cut cuts off all the flowers. 
 'Natchez' gets pretty tall here (30-35').  It's about the largest growing commonly seen Lagerstroemia hereabouts, tall enough to eventually grow into the power lines above.  If only they'd planted it back from the power lines, the tree could get to full size without needing to be topped. 
 I hope I am completely wrong about the plants.  It looks fresh and pretty right now, recently installed, the green making the white all the whiter, and the white gravel setting off the big path to the front door.  That's something.  
 If only plants stayed the exact size you bought them at, like...chairs and tables.
 

Comments

  1. Not sold on the white gravel (or the color "scheme," or the mismash-y mulch, or the "modern" floating pavers, or the wood elements -- singly, but especially in combination). Odd ideas for this climate; politically, too. Are these new owners?

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    1. Odd project--the wooden fence along the street was there and they left it. The home was razed and a new one build on the same footprint. Yes, new owners and new to the area.

      Politically?!? In what respect?

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    2. Nothing mysterious, I assure you (although those icebergs and their makers certainly have an interesting history): just white-bread, dull, not terribly progressive or water-wise if they're going to keep those hydrangeas and duranta remotely happy. The choice and placement of the magnolia is inexplicable, and the less said about it, the better.

      Makes sense that they're new to the area. The new house is especially grim, but perhaps they're playing a long game, keeping their options open as they acclimatize to prevailing tastes. The first incarnation of a garden is rarely the last, which may explain the conservative choices.

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  2. You are right, the white looks good as accent. I like the big path, Wish I could have afforded to do that instead of my horrible path in the front

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    1. I like big wide paths, too. Maybe you can redo yours if the opportunity arises...

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  3. I'm usually not a fan of white gravel but, as you say, it works well here. Like most things, it's a matter of context. If you'd like plants that stay exactly the same size, I'd be happy to find you one of those silk ficus plants that were so popular not so long ago.

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    1. Hah! My neighbors had one of those sitting out on their driveway for weeks. Maybe they were trying to get it to grow bigger and thought putting it out in the sun to bleach would help.

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  4. In an area that doesn't get much leaf litter and algae growth from frequent rain/water exposure it works beautifully.

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    1. "Frequent rain": sigh! Must be nice...

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  5. Nice attempt, but I'm still not a fan of white gravel.

    BTW, my chairs seems to be shrinking over time...

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    1. Having seen some appalling white gravel projects, "nice attempt" is way up there on the success scale.

      Shrinking chairs?!? Wood not properly dried? Your backside isn't getting bigger, is it? ;^)

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  6. Fantastic. Looks like a snow-sparkling piece of winter! Can you tell me about the scents among your wonderful white flowers? There are bound to be at least a couple...

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    1. The 'Iceberg' rose has a light, fresh scent. The rest of them...probably not much.

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  7. I think your critique is good! I am still not a fan of white gravel but it kind of works here. The Crape Myrtles will be fighting with the wires for sure and that is a shame. The part I wonder about is the blank garage wall and Little Gems are not trees for a flower bed. I would have made the bed bigger and had a focal plant or fun trellis with a vine to obscure the big bland wall.

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    1. Blank wall--ran out of budget, perhaps, buying all those Durantas? The 'Little Gem' might have looked better in front of that blank wall. I just realized it is planted right in front of a window. An odd choice.

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  8. The good thing about pavers on pebbles is that it's not such a huge undertaking to shift the path if a bed needs to be expanded -- which is exactly what should happen ASAP so that the magnolia 'Little Gem' can move another 4-5 feet from the house. And the placement of the crape myrtles wrt the power lines is killing me; they need replanted quite a few feet back toward the house, but as I understand the layout, that wouldn't involve any changes to the path/pavers.

    White surfaces seem as if they'd be blinding, but the green may balance and screen it once things grow a bit. I love a nice green and white scheme if the greenery there has the room to expand without insensitive hacking. Agree with Saurs about odd juxtaposition of rustic and modern, but again, may look quite different once greenery is big enough to soften the whole effect.

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    1. There is a paver there in front of 'Little Gem', but the rest is concrete slab. Path to back gate, be difficult to get around 'Little Gem' as it grows. And a tree right in front of a window, which didn't even register at first...I didn't see the old fence, really, didn't register either. The rustic benches do seem out of place with modernist pavers. Odd choices. Isn't it more educational to look at the misfires, rather than the masterpieces?

      There is a balance struck between rich green and bright white. Balance to the force.

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  9. It would be not nearly as fun and very boring when plants stayed the size you bought them.

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    1. You and I know that, Janneke, but there are people in the world who don't care about plants at all. How boring that must be!

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  10. At least this white rock is used minimally and with the paver shapes. A good try compared to white rock in many 1960's front yards I see here...maybe it's the formality? Or your tying it into white flowers?

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    1. A good try, yes. An accent instead of a field of the stuff.

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  11. Ahh, reminds me of my grandma's house. She had that white rock-in-pavers look on one side of her house. I'd forgotten about that!

    If I could post all the dumb stuff I've done through the years with plants, we'd really have some laughs! I planted an ash tree and 2 Mexican fan palms in a small 18 wide border area strip. Ruined both the strip, the irrigation system and fence. I've contemplated much dumber stuff. Luckily the missus has talked me out of most!

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    1. There's something to be said for boldness. Of all the places in the world to be bold, the garden is probably the least dangerous.

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  12. I love the idea of a white and green garden but could never limit myself that way. (I hope they have a riot of color in the back.) Placement aside, I don't get the choice of the Hydrangea when the other plant choices suggest a focus on less thirsty plants.

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    1. Yes, the discipline required!

      The Hydrangea, with full sun western exposure and reflected heat, I wonder if they died over the weekend.

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  13. Not a fan of the white gravel either. I associate it with sad-looking neighborhoods that have been in decline for 40 years. But that's my personal prejudice. I'll work on getting over it.

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    1. The thing in my mind was: what a dreadful material, everywhere I've seen it, it looked ridiculous--but somewhere it must be done right--so I've been trying to track down an example. My search will continue.

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