covered patio
Marion Brenner

By Day

This covered patio had all the makings of a charming outdoor sitting room, but no one ever used it. Now it's become the family's favorite after-work gathering spot. The key to a garden that beckons at night can be summed up in one word: white. Plants with white flowers or white-margined leaves hold their own at dusk and beyond, long after even pastel tones have vanished into the darkness.

garden arranged for night
Marion Brenner

By Night

White flowers, white pots, and glowing candles set the stage for relaxing evenings in this container garden.

white flowers for night
Marion Brenner

Evening Blooms

The white-margined leaves of Hosta fortunei 'Green Gold' take center stage here. In the pots surrounding them are (clockwise from top right) moth orchids, an autumn fern, New Guinea impatiens 'Pearl White', and pansy orchids (Miltoniopsis).

These plants are annuals and tender perennials that are grown as annuals in most parts of the country.

Aster (any dwarf white variety)
• Baby's breath (Gypsophila paniculata)
• Common sunflower (Helianthus annuus 'Italian White')
• Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus 'Sonata White')
• Evergreen candytuft (Iberis sempervirens)
• Flowering tobacco (Nicotiana alata or N. sylvestris for evening fragrance; not the Nicki or Domino strains often sold at garden centers)
• Four o'clock (Mirabilis jalapa)
• Gardenia (Gardenia augusta)
Impatiens (any white variety; the Fiesta series has an attractive double type)
•Iris (any white variety)
• Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena 'Miss Jekyll Alba')
• Moonflower (Ipomoea alba)
• Poet's jasmine (Jasminum officinale)
• Snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum)
• Spider flower (Cleome hasslerana 'Helen Campbell')
• Tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa)
• Tuerous begonia (any white variety)
• Tulip (Tulipa, any white variety)

candles and white flowers for night
Marion Brenner

Get the Glow

White pots and flowers alike glow in candlelight. The large container holds calla lilies (Zantedeschia) and Clematis 'Garland'. To the right, an autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora) cloaks the "feet" of a moth orchid (Phalaenopsis). An azalea spills over the pot in the foreground.

For more garden ideas, purchase Container Gardening

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