I've heard cleverer gardeners than me pointing out that the reason the White Garden at Sissinghurst works because it is actually grey, green and white. If it was white only, it would look like a bad accident between a meringue lorry and a milk float, messy, frothy, indistinct, we've all seen them. Box and artemisia as well as the lovely brick paths set off the lilies, roses and other beautifully grown plants to make for an atmosphere of elegance and serenity at Sissinghurst some of us try to create in our gardens.
At Charnwood in April, the lovely willow leaved pear, white, green and grey are all together in one plant and make for a subtle but stunning combination that many of our garden visitors comment on. Underplanted with white daffodils and bluebells in the spring green grass, the planting scheme works well, albeit for a short time.
Grey and green will set off many colours. Our long back border here was, unitl recently, full of deep purple tulips 'Van de Neer' which looked good and being sturdy fairly short stemmed bulbs stood upright among stachys and emerging leaves of perennials and foxgloves. Next will come penstemons, peonies, poppies, iris, artemisia 'valierie finnis', several varieties of euphorbia, and others I've forgotten for now!
Pictures from left to right: Tulip Van de Neer, Thalia daffs and buebells under the willow leaved pears and a view of the back border. All taken April 2012 at Charnwood.