The Art of Darkness

Theme Garden: Black Magic

April 20th, 2009 by Cobwebs

Bela Lugosi DaylilySpring has sprung, and plants are clawing their way out of the ground like something from a bad horror movie. Now’s the time to think about planting a few flowers and accent plants that will bring a little spookiness to the surroundings.

One excellent way to goth up the garden is to plant flowers in dark and dramatic colors. Although there aren’t many “true” black flowers there are lots that are fairly close, and there are plenty of other dark scarlets and purples to choose from. (As a bonus, many dark flowers have appropriately gothy names, like the daylily “Bela Lugosi” or the amazing Black Bat Flower.)

Remember when using black in the garden that less is more: An all-black planting can look homogenous and boring, but placing black flowers against a lighter background or using them to accent other colors (silver artemisia, scarlet roses, white lilies…even orange pansies if you’re in a Halloweeny mood) can lend a wonderfully sinister style to the outdoors. If you don’t have room for a garden, you can also mass black plants in a patio pot to create a dramatic focal point. Keep in mind that dark plants may need additional watering, since they tend to wilt a little faster in the sun.

Note that there’s a lot of weirdosity in the flower-naming world, so just searching for flowers with “black” in the name doesn’t always work. (For instance, the “Black Madonna” rose and “Black Velvet” geranium are both bright red.)

There are loads of black(ish) plants to choose from, but here are some that are fairly easy to find and reasonably easy to grow.

Iris:
“Sambuca German” iris
Chrysographes iris
“Superstition” iris
“Study in Black” iris
“Hello Darkness” iris
“Before the Storm” iris
“Paint it Black” iris
“Midnight Fragrance” iris
“Black Tie Affair”
“Black Gamecock”
“Night Ruler”
“Night Owl”
Dark Vader”

Rose:
“Black Baccara”
“Abrakadabra” (second photo)
“Midnight Blue”
“Taboo”
“The Squire”
“Souvenir du Docteur Jamain”
“Papa Meilland”
“Deep Secret”
“Cardinal de Richelieu”
“The Prince”

Tulip:
“Queen of the Night”
“Black Diamond”
“Black Parrot”
“African Queen”
“Blue Parrot”
“Black Hero”

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