White can be used to brighten areas of shade and also in combination with silver or with green to create a peaceful oasis. Although I like white plants and am tempted by a white garden, it isn't a whim I have indulged as yet. Be wary of black and white, it might sound good but is difficult to achieve with success since you have to factor in that tricky green foliage.
White plants are often tinged pink or blue and even the best can be a bit grey. Go for pure whites with a yellow eye if you can and use that yellow eye to link to yellow flowers or foliage. Soften the starkness with grey-leaved plants, which will also add to the yellow areas when in flower as most of them come in this colour range.
From humble English daisies to rare alpines, spring bulbs to Rhododendrons, your gardens can be as pure as driven snow. It's still quite a rarity, but white foliage is not unknown - have a look at Hostas and Caladiums.
I wrote about white flowers in my book Silver Lining. If you haven't got your copy yet, it's available from the online shop.
All images copyright Karen Platt 2012.