Thursday, April 5, 2012

Midnight Garden, Black Garden, Mourning Garden

Midnight Garden, Black Garden, Mourning Garden
What ever name you want to call it - I WANT ONE! Our home is white metal siding & red metal roofing, so for the most part, I've kept everything red & white with black accents on posts, rails & supports. It looks very impressive to say the least. But I have wanted a Midnight Garden since the first time I read about them in the late '90's. And in my opinion, a Midnight Garden would be very striking with our red & white color scheme!

 Black Star Calla Lily

Of course there are no true black plants, instead being deep, dark hues of blue-black, red-black, purple-black, and even a dark chocolatey-brown. I'll provide a list of plants at the end of the post. 

Aoneum arboreum - Zwartkop

With all of those dark plants there needs to be some contrast or you're Black Garden will look like a Black Hole in your yard. The colors that would be best suited for contrast would depend on your personal taste, but do consider that green can get quite dark, so the greens you'd choose should be much lighter, chartreuse being the most striking. Other colors to add here and there could be hot pinks, golden yellows, bright oranges & reds, and of course a crisp, clean white.


 Big Top Gold Huechera

If you're unsure how to mix & match colors, use a color wheel. First pick your hue of "black" in your plant and then find the colors on the wheel that could coordinate with it. This is done by choosing specific themes, such as an analogous theme; colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, or complimentary theme; colors that are opposite of each other on the color wheel. There are many online color wheels, but the best way to do this is to buy one at a paint or craft store. The best kind for this purpose have (at least) 3 wheels; one has all the colors on it, the others have cut-out windows that allow you to view the other colors so you can find the color combination you like.

 China Town Celosia

Many black plants that are shaded or under greenhouse lighting will turn green. To keep your plants "black", or as dark as possible, they will need sun, light, the right pH, and feed. Some can be in light shade while others need full sun. You'll have to familiarize yourself with the needs of your specific garden plants to know where to plant and what you'll need.

 Purple Shamrock

There are a few gardening books that touch on black plant gardening, but these two are the best:

Black Magic and Purple Passion by Karen Platt

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

Here is a list of some "black" plants you may want to consider for your own Midnight Garden. Be sure to research the right plants for your agricultural zone.

 Black Beauty Huechera

Black Plant List
Ornamental Plants
Aeonium – ‘Zwartkop’
Celosia – ‘China Town’
Oxalis – Oxalis regnelli atropurpurea, Oxalis triangularis, ‘Charmed Wine’
Calla Lillies – ‘Blackjack’, ‘Hot Chocolate’, ‘Black Forest’, ‘Black Pearl’, ‘Midnight Eclipse’, ‘Edge of Night’
Canna – ‘Australia’, ‘Tropicanna Black’
Coleus – ‘Inky Fingers’, ‘Black Dragon’, ‘Chocolate Mint’, ‘Dark Chocolate’
Cosmos – ‘Chocolate’
Cranesbill – ‘Cheryll’s Shadow’
Bachelor’s Button – 'Black Magic',  'Black Boy'
Elephant’s Ear – ‘Black Magic’
Huechera – ‘Black Beauty’, ‘Chocolate Veil’, ‘Obsidian’, ‘Plum Pudding’, ‘Blackout’, 'Velvet Night’
Bugleweed – ‘Black Scallop’, ‘Mahogany’
Geranium – ‘Dark Lord’, ‘Espresso’, ‘Midnight Reiter’, ‘Samobor’
Iris – ‘Black Knight’, ‘Black Swan’, ‘Old Black Magic’, ‘Ruby Chimes’, ‘Before the Storm’, ‘Superstition’
Dahlia – ‘Happy Single’ series, ‘Bishop of Llandaff’, ‘Fascination’
Scabiosa – ‘Ace of Spades’, ‘Chile Black’
Sunflower – ‘Moulin Rouge’
Sweet Peas – ‘Black Knight’, ‘Wiltshire Ripple’
Sweet Potato Vine – ‘Blackie’, ‘Sidekick Black Heart’, ‘Sweet Caroline’
Violas – ‘Black Magic’, ‘Bowles Black’, ‘Molly Sanderson’

Edible Plants
Basil – ‘Dark Opal', ‘Purple Ruffles’, ‘Red Rubin’, ‘Osmin Purple’
Cabbage – ‘January King’
Eggplant – ‘Black Beauty,’
Kale – ‘Black Tuscany’, ‘Cavolo Nero’
Lettuce – ‘Lollo Rossa', ‘Merlot’, ‘Really Red Deer Tongue’, ‘Majesty’, ‘Marshall’, ‘Blackhawk’
Radish – ‘Black Spanish' 
Tomatoes – ‘Black’, ‘Black Cherry’, ‘Black Plum’

Black Magic Bachelor's Buttons

There are many more species of "black" plants, so search the internet, buy the books, and go design & plant your own Midnight Garden!

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