Black And Blood

Let us skip merrily along the garden paths as the dark season encroaches. Let us fill our hearts with the sights and sounds of colorful flowers and foliage and feathered friends. Let us…..look for shadows and sinister sights. Let us contemplate the …..illuminated light catchers. Red hued Japanese blood grass, Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’ is calling out to us.Let us ponder the extraordinary impact of this grass with alacrity.The rhythm of nature is changing the beat, slowing it down, darkening the mood. The artist’s box of deeper shades is spilling onto the green leaves creating a gothic symphony.This is a reminder of the stuff that courses through our human veins, that magical elixer that brings life but signifies dire conditions simultaneously.Filling us with dread, the daylight retreats to darkness. Mysterious things are happening in the formerly light filled eden. The only truly black plant, Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’, black mondo grass is sending signals of serious seasonal switches.Bearing ebony colored fruit the blackness drags us down the path of despair.Let us follow the blood and the black down into the depths of the shortening days while the wind whistles and there are unexplainable forces at work.  Let us revel in the way our ancestor’s dealt with such doom.  Let us celebrate rather than bemoan the changes.  Maybe a little infusion of sucrose chocolate would help stifle the nightmares that the lack of light can bring.
Happy Hallowe’en!

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50 Responses to Black And Blood

  1. Joy says:

    This is a PERFECT post Frances .. first one I read this morning, and it is awesome girl !
    I have to admit at faltering a little with my Halloween spirit (yes .. I said THAT) .. but this is fantastic inspiration to kick it up a notch and get myself going.
    I’m jealous you have so many plants that are still gorgeous and so dramatic for this post !
    You have the best imagination for a garden Halloween post I have seen yet .. GREAT JOB GIRL !!

    Hi Joy, you faltering??? Not the Queen of Halloween! You are my inspiration! Thanks. We do still have a little while for the garden to hang on. The tender annuals are zapped but much still lives, for now. I am thinking about doing another short post for tomorrow, we’ll see what comes into the ole noggin. ;-> Now you go get ’em, Joy, you can do it!

  2. Marnie says:

    Owwww, loved the title, didn’t know what to expect. I really like the dark hued foliage. Nice contrast. I don’t think the mondo grass is reliably hardy in my area. It would look nice in my garden.

    Hi Marnie, thanks, that was the idea. ;-> I looked at Dave’s garden and saw this grass grown in diverse areas. I have found it likes a little shade here. Maybe you could find a microclimate because it is worth growing for that color.

  3. linda says:

    ooooh! Thanks for the fun post Frances! I’ll take my infusion of sucrose with a hearty dose of chocolate!

    Hi Linda, thanks. That’s my take on candy too, it must have chocolate or why waste those calories? ;->

  4. Rose says:

    Wonderfully poetic and philosophic post, Frances! The blood grass is very striking and really brightens up the garden.
    I’ve always thought animals had the right idea–winter seems the perfect time to just hibernate. But a dose of sucrose sounds pretty good, too.

    Hi Rose, thanks. My dire poetry talent is showing here. ;-> The black mondo and blood grass are great in the garden. The blood grass will turn tan and be cut in late winter, the black needs nothing at all. I know what you mean about hibernating, I am really feeling a lull in energy with the cold and shorter days. I need to get out in the garden and do something strenuous! With chocolate.

  5. Awesome! Such dramatic colors and textures.

    Come on over to my blog and tell us how YOU overwinter!


    Hi Cameron, thanks. I will run over when I have a moment, thanks for the invite!

  6. LindaLunda says:

    NIiiiiiiiiiiiiice…. WERRY nice!

    Hi Linda, thanks so much. I thought you might like it. ;->

  7. Randy says:

    What incredible shades of red you have in your paradise. After seeing this post, I realize we don’t have enought of it in our garden!

    Hi Randy, thanks. The blood grass is a great plant, too bad it is so short, but it makes everything around it look good. I think the red leaves of fothergilla in the fall are as asset also. Magic Carpet spirea is beginning to turn as well, another good one.

  8. Gail says:

    Frances, My dear, I do like the darkest chocolate possible (85%) and you have delivered. Right on time for the end of sweet colors in the garden! So glad I was able to trick and treat at your house, I may have to return for more, rumor has it that your noggin has a little more in mind for us tomorrow! Gail

    Hi Gail, I am more of a 60% solution myself. ;-> Thanks for stopping by, I loved your costume BTW, zombie! how appropo! I may not do another post tomorrow, not sure yet and nothing has popped into the old noggin. I am going to work outside today, should be close to 70 this afternoon pulling the tomatoes and coleus. Still hunting for a good container plant besides the pansies.

  9. Very Halloween-y! It’s a pity we don’t celebrate it here in the Netherlands. Fun post Frances!

    Hi YE, thanks. It is a pity. Halloween has changed here in the US too. It used to be so fun to go around the neighborhood and the adults would try and guess who we were. No one left there own neighborhood and there were not dangerous treats given to children. My own kids had a taste of the old fashioned trick or treating when they were very young, but things changed for the worse after that. One year they were trick or treating at the mall!

  10. JamesA-S says:

    Did you know that Imperata cylindrica contains a decent dose of cyanide? very halloweenishg. Gorgeous red and black salvia.

    Hi James, I did not know that, but agree it fits the theme, don’t know for sure if I will ever have a chance to put that knowledge to use, but will store it away just in case. Thanks for visiting. The salvia is S. coccinea volunteer seedling. Some have that black calyx, I try and save only those seeds but they don’t come true.

  11. Monica says:

    I love all the deep reds, the frog, and the little black mondo grass (I have a little one of those, too!).

    Hi Monica, thanks for visiting. I had to go back and find the frog. LOL That is a frog shaped rock to keep the bowl from tipping when the birds get a drink. I think at one time it was the head of a concrete cat.

  12. Patsi says:

    Love the deep colors.
    Not sure what a gothic symphony is…
    Sounds neat.

    Hi Patsi, thanks. I imagine a gothic symphony to be very bass-y. I am thinking Beethoven in a foul mood. Or when was he ever in a good mood? LOL

  13. skeeter says:

    What a Deep Dark posting Frances! Great pictures to go with the tale. I must admit, I was looking for some chocolate to eat, silly me. I must wait for the Great Pumpkin to deliver tomorrow night! lol

    Hi Skeeter, thanks, I thought about making it chocolate instead of sucrose, I may yet! LOL

    Just changed it. ;->

  14. beautiful

    What is pic.5 – the bush turning red?

    Hi Jill, thanks so much. The picture you are asking about shows a stand of fothergillas ( unknown cultivar) fronted by Salvia greggii ‘Hot Lips’. The fothergillas are a fantastic shrub with white honey scented bottle brush flowers in the spring and superb fall color. They are in the same family as the witch hazels, and have similar shaped leaves. Highly recommended.

  15. tina says:

    Ditto Gail, Can’t wait to see tomorrow’s post as this surely sent shivers down my spine-starting with the title.

    Hi Tina, sorry to disappoint, but this is the halloween post. Our weather has warmed up and there is much to do after the frost finally took care of the tender plants. I can get those pansies planted and search for more bulbs. May have to go to Knoxville to find some good ones. Our stores are pitiful this year. Cutting back I guess. Back to the garden! ;->

  16. Chloe.M says:


    Great Halloween post! Especially love the first picture (red/black salvia) and the black mondo grass. Very cool! And yes, sucrose (or something stronger) will help keep the darkness at bay.

    Chloe M.

    Hi Chloe, thanks so much. That salvia has been giving me a hard time all summer not wanting its picture taken in focus. That was the best one yet and seemed to fit the topic of the grasses. Bring on the candy! ;->

  17. Yepp I did like this post!!! MOHahahaha!!!

    Hi Linda, you really must like it! ;-> Great laugh!! LOL

  18. Kathleen says:

    Ahh, Frances you are so clever to think of relating Halloween with the garden & nature. My mind never went that way. Hats off to you. I think I’ll enjoy a little chocolate in your honor. 🙂

    Hi Kathleen, thanks, what a nice thing to say! And do have plenty of chocolate to keep those dark times at bay! ;->

  19. Brenda Kula says:

    Ooh, love the backs of those red leaves. I too have the black mondo. What a delightful plant. Not cheap, but well worth it. I also have the one with the red berries, but can’t recall the name at the moment. Your posts are pure prose.

    Hi Brenda, hope you are itch free, or at best itch less. Thanks for those kind words. One good thing about that black mondo, it can be spread like crazy, we started with one plant and have just been dividing and replanting the individual sprouts all over, kind of like the sheffies. I am trying to remember if I have seen the red berried ones, it rings a bell. Maybe some of the black berries turn red after they ripen? Does that sound right?

  20. Lola says:

    Great Post Frances. Spooky with the black. But I like the black mondo grass & the red grass. I’ve never heard of the black mondo. I sure would like both in my garden. When the light shines through them it is something else.

    Hi Lola, thanks. That grass is pretty cool. It is similar to liriope but a little shorter. It spreads by underground runners, but not aggressively. The blood grass turns to a tan color in the winter and I cut it back late winter. The black is evergreen, er everblack. Give it a try!

  21. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    All of those “blood” references are spoooky.

    Hi Lisa, sorry, but that is really the name of the grass, I didn’t name it! ;->

  22. Gill says:

    nice spooky post……great photos

    Gill in Canada

    Hi Gill, thanks. So glad you enjoyed it.

  23. Siria says:

    Hi Frances! And Happy Halloween to you too!!! I live in a great neighborhood with lots of children and everyone celebrates Halloween big time. In fact, many children from other neighborhoods come here to trick or treat because there are so many other children, and I think parents feel safe here. So we will be having fun tomorrow.

    I did want to tell you that I was so excited yesterday when I was out running errands and saw some city landscaping featuring….pink muhly grass! I didn’t think it would grow here, but obviously so. I can’t wait to see if I can find some…I have the perfect spot to try it.

    Have a Happy Halloween!

    Hi Siria, thanks and same to you. How fun to have that kind of neighborhood. We did in Texas, in a new subdivision loaded with kids and houses close together so the trick or treaters could go to a lot of houses in well light areas. Good deal on the muhly too! Maybe you could ask the city where they got it, or gather some seeds when it turns pale straw colored.

  24. Pam/Digging says:

    Happy Halloween, Frances. We still celebrate with old fashioned trick-or-treating here. I like the way your garden is celebrating the season too. Not with predictable oranges but with bold red and black.

    Hi Pam, same to you and thanks so much. I love that your new neighborhood will be fun for trick or treating kids. Ours is not. We don’t get any, not even one, so I quit decorating outside and keep it all inside for us to enjoy. The garden is wearing its costume though, maybe it should get a treat of some compost instead of candy! ;->

  25. joey says:

    Bloody clever, dear Francis, … Happy Halloween!

    Hi Joey, thanks and same to you!

  26. What a beautiful post… very distinctive! I wasn’t sure, either, what to expect at first. You are obviously very artistic! 🙂 Thank you!

    Hi Shady, thanks so much, very kind of you. I wanted to be a little tricky for Halloween, but hope it was a treat. ;->

  27. AnnA says:

    Well that scared me to death! I ran and grabbed my blankie peeking out to see what was next. Bravo!

    Ok, I have switched to wordpress and would love to know how you changed the font size. I’m over there squinting like a old maid.

    Hi Anna, thanks, but hope you weren’t too scared. ;->

    To change the font size I had two choices, either chose a theme with a larger size or keep the one I had chosen, Chaotic Soul and pay for the upgrade. I decided to pay for the privilege of making the changes, then had to go to the forums to see how to make the changes. If you don’t care about having a certain theme, I would just pick one with a larger font. You can even ask the help support group which ones are best for that. I have found the frequently asked questions to be an excellent resource. Good luck.

  28. tina says:

    Happy Halloween Frances.

    Hi Tina, thanks and back to you. I loved your gothic house and skeleton.

  29. Shirl says:

    Hi there Frances 😀

    Any post of yours on colour always gets my interest but I just love the images on this one! I love the dark and black shades too – just wonderful 😀

    Have a great weekend 😀

    Hi Shirl, what a nice thing to say, thanks. I am really attracted to the dark leaves and flowers too, but they seem so appropriate right now. Hope your weekend is a great one.

  30. skeeter says:

    Lock Hazel up tight and keep the chocolate away from the fur babies!

    Happy Halloween!!!

    Hi Skeeter, happy halloween to you too! Hazel only eats lettuce and soap! LOL Now Kitty might lick your dinner plate. I have to keep any baked goods like bread or rolls under a cover, the packaged candy doesn’t interest them. And once opened, there are never any leftovers laying around. ;->I know dogs will eat chocolate and it is very bad for them.


  31. LindaLunda says:

    Hi there! Me again… just stopt by to say…. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

    Hi Linda, you are so funny …and sweet. Thanks and the same to you.

  32. OK…that was a totally cool post! Love all those unique plants!

    Hi Kim, thanks so much for stopping by and welcome. Glad you enjoyed it.

  33. DP says:

    What a fun post– I love those berries up close and personal. Such great color!

    Hi DP, thanks, the berries are cute and that plant has pink flowers!

  34. Curmudgeon says:

    Loved the title and the photos. This is my favorite Halloween post! Now let me go find that dark dark dark chocolate I’ve got stashed… –Curmudgeon

    Hi Curmudgeon, I was so glad to see you here at the alternative universe of wordpress. ;-> Thanks for that high praise, coming from you it means a lot. I did add the chocolate at the end later, what was I thinking not saying that????

  35. eliz says:

    Wonderful images. I just got the mondo grass and I’m expecting great things from it.

    Hi Elizabeth, thanks and welcome to the wordpress blog. That is good to know that the mondo will grow in your zone. Some others were questioning it. I use it to mark the placement of Queen of the Night Tulips in the black garden, the blood grass to mark the reds and orange ones. I just bought many bulbs on sale at the grocery of all places, they were way cheap. We can never have enough bulbs.

  36. Racquel says:

    A perfect Halloween post with sinister plots & turns. Love the Japanese Blood Grass & the deep ruby color of those berries in the second photo.

    Hi Racquel, thanks so much. The second photo is of the ornamental pepper, Black Pearl. The peppers start off black then turn red as they mature with black leaves, darker in full sun. It comes true from seed too so I always let some peppers mature to the point of rotting then sow the seeds.

  37. Steve says:

    Great pictures, Frances. I am another fan of reds in a garden and you feature them so well here. Was the top picture Cardinal Flower?

    Hi Steve, thanks. I love reds mixed around in the black garden, especially. The first picture is Salvia coccinea, volunteer seedling. Some few of these seedlings that pop up everywhere seem to have the black caylx, I save only those seeds but still get the green ones too.

  38. Jon Pen says:

    Frances, it is such a treat for me to sneak back online for a while to post a few things and to visit your wonderful blog once again. Such a feast for my my “sick” eyes! Thanks for the comment and your kind words on my blog.

    Hi Jon, so glad to see you, but don’t overdo it! Hope you are healing well and thoroughly.

  39. Jan says:

    Great posting for this time of year.

    Always Growing

    Hi Jan, thanks. It was fun putting it together.

  40. A very atmospheric post – gorgeous colours.

    Hi Happy, thanks so much. I do love Halloween.

  41. Kim says:

    I’m late reading this post, but it is perfect! You can certainly tease with terror, and I loved it.

    Hi Kim, thanks. Can I sat Better late than never? in this case? Sorry for that. Glad you enjoyed it.

  42. marmee says:

    this is great! i really am drawn to these dark foliages too.

    Hi Marmee, thanks so much. The black and red grasses are workhorses in the garden, adding to the sea of green. ;->

  43. Barbarapc says:

    I love these theme posts. And, I’m with you – chocolate is the cure, no matter what the ailment is.

    Hi Barbara, thanks. They are fun to write. Chocolate is always present in our house.

  44. kate says:

    Love the mondo grass … perfect for Hallowe’en. Your writing is beautiful! I’m with you on the chocolate – although sucrose does in a pinch!!

    Hi Kate, so nice to see you and hope you are well. Thanks for those sweet words. Of course chocolate, what was I thinking in the original writing? LOL

  45. Cindy says:

    Perfect for the season! Those images evoke thoughts of Dracula for sure. Enjoy your chocolate 🙂

    Hi Cindy, thanks for getting into the proper mood with me. It was fun, wasn’t it?

  46. Diana says:

    I love your Japanese Blood Grass and all the “dark” inspiration for all Hallows Eve. You’re always so creative…and you inspired me to do something with my daughter in the garden this very weekend.

    Hi Diana, thanks so much for those kind words and inspiring you is the highest of compliments! I loved what you and your daughter made, the wee folk should love it!

  47. brokenbeat says:

    i really liked this one, frances. it probably isn’t a surprise either. you know i love this time of year. it means fires with black metal music, snow sometimes during the daytime, and general internal-external crispness. black and blood indeed.

    Hello my dear Brokenbeat. No, not a surprise that this one appealed to you. I liked it too for the same reasons except maybe the choice of accompaniment might be different for my tastes. It has turned warm again here and the slope is aglow. Hope it remains for the big fiesta later this month.
    Love, Frances

  48. Philip says:

    This post is awesome!
    hands down one of my favorites.
    I am so impressed with the color palette and quality of images.
    I have just loved looking at this.

    Hi Philip, so happy that you liked it, thanks. It was fun to put together and the grasses really liked being the stars. ;->

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