Sunday, November 28, 2010

Color in the Garden: Black

Black is not usually a color we associate with the garden, though black flowers are increasingly popular choices for those who wish to (a) make a statement; (b) create a “postmodern” flower garden—especially when the color palette is restricted to black, perhaps with pockets of white, and a few shades of deep purple—though I honestly have not seen such a garden, I certainly can envision it; and (c) cool down hot colors.

The choices are numerous: Queen of the Night Tulip (which I lugged back from the Netherlands this summer); “Superstition” Bearded Iris; Black Cosmos; “Romantika” Clematis; “Arabian Night” Dahlia; “Starling” Daylily; Fritillaria; Ace of Spades Scabiosa; and Sweet William Dianthus, among many others. However, for the purist, few of these will satisfy for the purple or maroon undertones are clearly present. 

Britons, however, will especially delight in the news that horticulturalist have bred into existence (after 4 years of attempts!) a new black petunia named “Black Velvet.” I seethe with jealousy.

But I refer not to black as the color of flowers, though now I’ve over-stimulated myself thinking of/planning a predominantly black flower bed, though I have no space for such indulgence.

No, the black I refer to is the black of the dahlia, post-frost. It is a pathetic color, nay, a condition or a malady that relegates once firm deep green leaves to a greenish-black mush, rather like those healthy veggie/fruit/grass concoctions one pays dearly for at Whole Foods.

Rest assured, these leaves are not going in my blender anytime soon.

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