Friday, September 15, 2006

Black Beauties

There's a movie coming out, The Black Dahlia, which makes me wonder for the bazillionth time why we're all so captivated by murder and mayhem. (And why it's twice as exciting when the victim is good looking.)

Black is a rare color in the garden. That's because it doesn't exist. Upon closer inspection, you can probably see that even the blackest flowers are actually deep plum, dark blue or burgundy.

I love black. It's exotic, mysterious... adds an other-worldly dimension to a regular garden.

The number of (nearly) black perennials and annuals gets better every year because passionate gardeners are always up for a challenge. Achieving the color black is the holy grail, when it comes to hybridizing flowers.

Black is so misunderstood. Black magic, black death, bad guys in black hats. Big deal. Black flowers look rich and velvety, filled with a unique personality all their own.

Just remember that it's the accent colors that makes black so striking. Think about white pearls on a black dress. (Plant white Veronica next to black Iris.)

Or, the way yellow and black taxi cabs catch your eye. That wasn't by accident, ya know. Yellow sets off black better than any other color. (How about yellow roses with black pincushion flowers?)

Try creating an art deco garden with pale, seafoam-colored curlicue sage, shell pink dianthus and black as night pansies.

Goth, punk, call it whatever you like. I call it beautiful. The point is... you don't need to plant pastels in order to show off a pretty garden.

The devil is in the details. Here are some easy ones to grow:

Bearded Iris 'Superstition' USDA zones 3 - 9
Black Iris (chrysographes) USDA zones 3 - 9
Clematis 'Romantika' USDA zones 4 - 9
Fritillaria (persica) USDA zones 6 - 8
Pincushion Flower (Scabiosa atropurpurea 'Ace of Spades') Annual


Anonymous said...

These dark beauties are entrancing! You've pictured three of my favourite flowers, all gorgeous specimens too. Don't you think Pete would look spectacular with a pearl collar? :)

Anonymous said...

Pete prides himself on being one tough kitty. Pearls could make him the laughing stock of our neighborhood! -Kris