It has been mentioned here previously that a new bed we will refer to as the black garden was begun last summer. The area was first planted with a group of lavendula ‘Provence’
, to mimic the gardens of the wine country in Sonoma, California. The vision was of neatly clipped silvery balls, with an underplanting of purple ajuga reptans
. Things did not pan out for that vision, half the lavender died and the wild violets took over the ajuga. My neighbor had taken some cuttings, of his purple leaf peach tree and kindly shared them with several of us down the street, thanks Mae and Mickey! it seemed a good start for a black themed garden. The lavender is being removed and not replaced as it goes to the lavender field in the sky and the violets have been violently dug up. That was a job and a half. Vigilence is still needed for weeds trying to take advantage of the bare earth. Shown above are the peach tree with some of his friends, perilla frutescens, eupatorium rugosum ‘Chocolate’ and sedum ‘Black Jack’.
This planting on the front porch of coleus, solenostemon scutellarioides, ‘Black Heart’
, japanese painted fern, anthyrium niponicum
, and variegated ivy with a splash of orange impatiens shows how dark and light complement each other.
Nearly the same color as the mulch, this loropetalum ‘Purple Diamond’, will highlight the yellow daffodils sprouting up on either side.
Several daylilies have a dark tint. This is hemerocallis ‘Soot Storm’
. Thanks again to Mae and Mickey for their generous gift of pieces of their extensive collection when the Faire Garden daylily hill was first planted.
This black columbine would disappear without the pink dianthus to set off its purple blackness. Started from seed, it is aquilegia ‘Barlow Black’
,with smallish double flowers on tall stems. Dianthus ‘Bath’s Pink’
and D. Firewitch
in the background.
A big success this year colocasia esculenta ‘Black Magic’
grew so tall it had to be cut back mid summer. It was providing too much shade for the water lilies to bloom in the pond.
As a container planting a few years ago, black millet was started from seed and produced these lovely seed heads. Subsequent tries to duplicate that look have failed, even buying ready to plant pots. These grasses have given much joy inside on a shelf too high for the kitties to take a bite.
Pepper ‘Black Pearl’ has proven true to seed saved from the mother plant bought two years ago. The leaves start out greeny then turn to black, the fruit starts out purple and matures a brilliant red. Salvia coccinea
and swiss chard ‘bright lights’ make good bed mates.
Living up to the hype, frittilaria persicaria
produced gorgeous dark bell shaped flowers on a strong stalk, no staking needed. Only one was planted last year, a gift, thanks semi, to see how it performed before the expenditure was made for more. Five more were added this fall in the same area. That should be a real vision of black bells.
Also a gift, thanks again semi, sedum ‘Black Jack’
is an excellent addition to the themed bed. As it grows, it can be divided and spread throughout. Sedums are planted throughout all the garden, such indestructable stalwarts are they.
A look at Forest Pansy redbud, cercis canadensis, ‘Forest Pansy’
, number two. It lasted one year then never leafed out again. The seed poppies and blue iris bring out the beauty of the dark leaves. Ferngully is even still alive here, happier times for tree health was this year.
Looking around the house for favorite black items, my beloved sewing machine, singerus sewingus,’Black Beauty’
. Bought second hand by my father, this was a birthday present as I turned ten years old. It is still running like a champ, just a couple of tune ups at the local Sew ‘n Vac shops along the way. Just a little of the gold enamel decorative edging where one’s hand rests has been worn away in the front. This will be passed on to whoever is interested when this gardener can no longer use it. Keep checking back for the continuing saga of the color black in the garden.
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