Black Plants

A few years ago, it became fashionable to create a Chocolate Garden, a trend that continues to be popular. Plants grown in a Chocolate Garden have a chocolate fragrance and/or have very dark blooms or foliage in tones of deep purple, brown, burgundy, maroon, or near-black.

A great resource book for planning such a garden is the newly-published Black Plants: 75 Striking Choices for the Garden by Paul Bonine. (Timber Press, September 2009) This little gem of a book packs a planter's punch by giving essential information on 75 stunning plants that would be appropriate for creating either a themed garden or a smaller pocket of attraction.

With each plant description, characteristics are provided that aid in making choices for the garden: soil conditions, hardiness zones, growth habits and light requirements. Suggestions are given for companion plantings that show off each plant's unique traits. On the page facing each description is a beautiful photograph of the plant.

Growing plants with such dark colors could be seen as gloomy and unexciting, but when paired with contrasting colors such as lime green, a very dramatic effect can be obtained.
Black Plants provides the necessary information to create such drama, but if you never grow a single plant highlighted in this book, it's still a fascinating read.

Black Plants: 75 Striking Choices for the Garden
by Paul Bonine


Paul Bonine is co-owner of the wholesale nursery Xera Plants in Sherwood, OR, and has worked in the nursery industry in Oregon for almost two decades. In addition to consulting for NPR, assorted newspapers, and television, Paul has written for various gardening publications. This is his first book.

The product or merchandise being reviewed in this blog post was the sole compensation for testing and reviewing the product. All opinions expressed here are mine, with no suggestions whatsoever by the manufacturer or distributor. If I like it, I'll say so. If I don't, I'll say that, too.