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”

Hollyhock:
“The Watchman”
Alcea rosa nigra
“Black Beauty”

Dianthus/Carnation:
Dianthus barbatus nigricans
“Ruby Moon”
“King of Black”

Columbine:
“Black Barlow”
“William Guinness”

Nemophila:
“Penny Black”
“Total Eclipse”

Calla Lily:
There are lots of callas in dark purple or scarlet shades. Lakeside Callas has a list of several.

Hellebore:
“Black Diamond”
“Black Beauty”

Poppy:
Black peony
“Black Cloud”

Gladiolus:
“Black Giant”
“Black Jack”
“Black Surprise” (I think the surprise is that it’s red rather than black)

Daylily:
“Black Ambrosia”
“Black Plush”
“Black Briar Bay”
“Ebony Jewel”
“Jungle Beauty”
“Black Emanuelle”
“Midnight Magic”
“Starling”
“Bela Lugosi”
“Smoking Gun”
“Night Wings”

Pansy/Viola:
“Black Moon”
“Black Beauty”
“Bowles Black”
“Molly Sanderson”
“Black Satin”
“Black Accord”
“Blackjack”
“Black Prince”
“Black Magic”

Sweet Pea:
“Black Knight”
“Midnight”
“Blue Velvet”
“Windsor”

Clematis:
“Romantika”
“Etoile Violette”

Cornflower/Scabiosa:
(These are all varieties of Scabiosa atropurpurea, whose common name is “The Mourning Bride;” could you get any gothier?)
“Black Ball”
“Black Boy”
“The Black Knight”
“Ace of Spades”

Dahlia:
“Arabian Night”
“Glenplace”

Miscellaneous:
Fritillaria persica
“Black Beauty” black-eyed susan
“Green Wizard” coneflower
“Black Velvet” nasturtium
“Midnight Mystic” hyacinth
“Chocolate” cosmos

Ground Covers and Ornamentals:
“Black Magic” elephant ears
Black Mondo grass
“Voodoo” sedum
Cimicifuga racemosa ‘Atropurpurea’
“Black Beauty” coral bells
“Platt’s Black” New Zealand flax
Black bamboo (this tends to be invasive, so grow it in a pot)
Ornamental Sweet Potato “Blackie”
“Black Scallop” Ajuga
“Inky Fingers” coleus
“Black Dragon” coleus

:::whew::: That’s a heap of black flowers. Do you have a favorite that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments!

Posted in Unhallowed Ground | 3 Comments »

3 Responses

  1. ShellHawk Says:

    There’s also the “Black Magic” rose, which is the darkest red you can find. I love this hybrid tea!

  2. Kitten Herder Says:

    Aw, come on. Even though they’re not black you have to have Nightshade, Hemlock, and bleeding hearts.

  3. Lily Says:

    So lovely! Who knew there were so many choices!

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