|The Black Garden at VanDusen Botanical Garden, Vancouver, B.C.|
Actually, it's a bit misleading to call this a black garden. First, there are no true black plants in horticulture – although some deep purples come pretty close. Second, a garden with only the foliage and flowers we call "black" can seem like, well, like a black hole. As you can see from the pictures, the contrast of golden, chartreuse and red foliage are just as important to the look of this garden.
|Purple berberis, deep red Asiatic lilies, heucheras and sedums are among the dark plants in this bed|
Unfortunately, the dramatic Aeoniums studded within the mondo grass are not winter-hardy for us in Toronto, although I have noticed Gardenimport selling a similar one as a "temperennial" -- essentially, a perennial grown as an annual, unless you're lucky enough to have a greenhouse. (I get no benefit from either garden vendor mentioned; they simply denote availability in our area.)
|Red, chartreuse and even peach make excellent colour punctuations in the Black Garden|
As a sidebar: thanks to reclassification by taxonomists, if you're hunting for this plant, you might find it with the double-barreled name Hylotelephium telephium 'Postman's Pride.' Sigh. Just when will they stop the name shuffle?
|The entire plant needn't be black. I like how the red stems in the sedum (bottom left) echo the dark colour theme.|
See the pools of light and dark, but also the linear and round, upright and prostrate contrasts? Sometimes, like the three grassy textures together in the bottom middle of the shot, repeating a similar texture in different colours can be effective, too.
Even in the late-summer garden doldrums, the VanDusen Botanical Garden has much more to offer than this little strip of land. Visit my Flickr site for some more shots – best viewed in Slideshow mode for the largest image size. It includes a peep at the beautiful new visitor centre under construction. Completion is slated for Fall 2011.
|Golden bleeding hearts, hakone grass, creeping lysimachia, hostas and heucheras help turn on the lights.|