Nan Ondra over at Gardening Gone Wild
has come up with the best Garden Blogger’s Designer Workshop (GBDW) theme yet, color in the garden. She even linked my series of Blue in the Garden. Thanks, Nan! You would think from the three posts that were done on that topic that blue would be my color of choice. But not only have I already covered that exhaustively, it is not the color I am drawn to when plant shopping. If there is the word black in the name, or the suggestion of black or the leaves or flowers tend towards black, it’s in the basket or cart to go to the checkout, online or in person. It has been said that the only plant that is truly the shade of coal is the black mondo grass, Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’
. Even with the sun backlighting the leaves, it is black.
The other plants listed and shown in this series of posts are really dark red, or dark purple, not jet. Shown above, tulipa ‘Queen of the Night’.
There may be included in the set some non- plant items, just thrown in to show that the preference for black does not end in the garden. After this cheese basket was made, it was spray painted black. It highlighted the geometry of the weave when hung on a wall. Normally baskets are not painted, it dries them out, so kiddies don’t try this at home!
Early on in this reincarnation of Faire Garden, before the perennials had a chance to fill in the spaces, lots of coleus, solenostemon scutellariodes, were planted. This one, Inky Fingers, excelled in space filling. Cuttings were taken but alas, it has been dropped from the list of annuals saved over in the sunroom/greenhouse. It needs to be reintroduced.
One of several shrubs still growing here that were ordered from Heronswood with Dan Hinkley still at the helm, this aronia prunifolia ‘Viking’, is starting to bear its blackish fruit. In fall the leaves turn a brilliant wine red.
New last year from nearby Champion Daylilies in Knoxville,hemerocallis ‘ Bela Lugosi’, was added to the just begun Black Garden area, renamed from the lavender field. The flower does the namesake proud. One of my favorite movies, “Ed Wood “, shows a poignant side to the horror film actor.
Purple smoke tree, cotinus coggygria
, has enchanting airy blooms, but even coppiced the leaf color casts a spell when the sun can shine through the leaves. This bed is now covered with the addition to the house joining it with the garage. The tree has been moved to the top of the hill behind the bench that anchors the knot garden. We are hoping for some great things with that siting.
Purple perilla, P. frutescens,
would cover the entire property if allowed. The volunteer seedlings are nondiscriminatory about sun, shade, wet or dry. One of its favorite seedbeds is the gravel paths. Easily pulled up, some are always left to grow for interest as the path is traversed.
Not usually on the list of ‘black’roses, this climber,rosa’ Cadenza’
, has smoky overtoneson the flowers. Purchased once again from the Antique Rose Emporium in Brenham, Texas, this was planted in our garden north of Houston, dug up and made the move to Tennessee in 2000. It has been moved yet again when this spot became too shady as the birch trees grew taller. Now in full sun, many more blossoms should delight us with their dazzling color.
Without some contrasting foliage nearby, the black mondo grass nearly disappears into the landscape.
The mossy clay pot planted with lavendula ‘Provence’
is encircled with the spreading mondo. We are hoping for the grass to fill in between the step stones of the path and the boxwood hedge surrounding the knot garden. It is getting there.
Advertised as the black bearded iris, ‘Superstition’ is not really all that black, but the name is great. The contrast of dark petals with the gray green leaves makes this a beauty for any color scheme.
Of course no story about black would be complete without my black babydoll, Hazel. She is giving me the cold shoulder here, not liking the camera flash. Doesn’t she look at home on the black background of the oriental carpet, though?
More black in the garden posts to follow. Stay tuned!