Unique landscapes

Unique landscapes

Gardens full of colour look lovely during the day. But as the evening takes over, the colours are camouflaged with  darkness. To continue appreciating these beauties after dark, it takes extensive lighting which may counter the ambience you look forward to.

But white is a colour that continues to glow in the dark and appears magical in moonlight. This white may be flowers or foliage. It is a very elegant choice that befits both contemporary and classic gardens alike.

While in daytime it’s the serenity of the pristine white that captures the mind, at night that same uniformity makes the garden alive. An added advantage is that many white flowers open up at night and carry fragrance that takes you on a sensory journey.

Planning a white oriented garden will need a clear layout and sufficient dark green background to enhance the daytime appeal too. It is this contrasting  effect that brings out the beauty. The usual multicolour garden scheme is visually more stimulating and can therefore accommodate less than immaculate presentation.

But when you restrict the palette, it becomes essential to stay true to it and maintain the neat structure. At night, this dark background will become the canvas for the dash of white. Like any other garden, layers must be created to bring out the entire framework. Plants that grow at different heights can be used to create these levels. 

Start with small tree-type plants. White flowered bauhinia and frangipani trees, variegated leaf or white flower bougainvillea topiary, white single petal, double petal and variegated leaf taebernaemontana (nandi battlu), chandini can provide a good backbone.

Frangipani or the temple flower gives an open architectural canopy with fragrant flowers whereas taeberaemontana gives a wider canopy sprinkled with white flowers. Mussanda, white flower oleander and white flowered hibiscus work well in multiple rows. Brunfelsia (yesterday-today-tomorrow) can be grown into a bush which gives sweet fragrant flowers. These can provide the next layer that can cover the bare stems of the first layer planting.

Options in sightSome white flowers work beautifully as standalone specimens like the dangling beauty of brugmansia and datura. These can be planted in pots closer to the seating areas. For these pots, chrysanthemums are very popular but gardenia, camellia and hydrangea are the new entrants. 

Gardenia and camellia both carry an intoxicating fragrance. These will create a really good ambience when planted together. 

In tight spaces, use sweet autumn clematis, moon flower, jasmine, white flower mandevilla, and honeysuckle. Except mandevilla here, all are fragrant but the gorgeous size and beauty of its flowers compensate for the lack of fragrance. 

Talking of climbing ones, white flower bougainvillea will look absolutely stunning as an arch over the gate or cascading over the fence. Whenever classic gardens are discussed, white flowered roses have to be included. Neatly clipped low boxwood hedge bordering the rose bed makes a perfect display.
 
Annual beauties like petunia, alyssum, phlox, pale marigolds, snapdragons, cosmos, dahlia and salvia offer seasonal infusion of white. These are quick fix for a change of scenery. White periwinkle, begonia, pentas, lantana, impatiens, geranium and cranesbill are perennials too giving flowers throughout the year.

Pentas and lantana will attract loads of butterflies and should hence be planted in bulk. Bulbous plants like lilies, tuberose and gladioli also serve as attractive flowers. But be careful of the  heady fragrance of tuberose.

Not just flowersBesides flowers, what glows in the night  is white, variegated foliage. Amongst these are aglonema varieties, spider lily and seasonal white-speckled handsome caladiums. Bold, variegated ginger lily has both white infused leaves and mildly fragrant seasonal flower stalks. Variegated dwarf bamboo stands at small to medium height are a treat to the eyes. White variegated ficus or starlight can be shaped as a topiary specimen or hedge.

You cannot miss out on the Christmas special poinsettia that happens to come in white too. For trailing options, go for wax ivy, vinca vine or white leaf syngonium. For the tightest of spaces, wax ivy can quickly follow artistic patterns on a vertical plain.

The next time you visit a garden or nursery, look for plants with an eye for elegance. Start small and bring home some natural bloomingdales to begin your journey with night beauties.

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