Black Plants: 75 Striking Choices for the Garden

Overview

Striking, mysterious, sinister, and strange all describe the singular appeal of plants with black (or near-black) foliage, flowers, or fruit. For some gardeners, they are curiosities that yield a special thrill. For others, they are invaluable for providing contrast with brighter elements. Whatever the source of their somber magic, these dusky denizens of the plant kingdom are irresistible to anyone drawn to nature's more unusual manifestations.

In this compact, accessible ...

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Overview

Striking, mysterious, sinister, and strange all describe the singular appeal of plants with black (or near-black) foliage, flowers, or fruit. For some gardeners, they are curiosities that yield a special thrill. For others, they are invaluable for providing contrast with brighter elements. Whatever the source of their somber magic, these dusky denizens of the plant kingdom are irresistible to anyone drawn to nature's more unusual manifestations.

In this compact, accessible volume, Paul Bonine profiles 75 of the most alluring black annuals, perennials, bulbs, and shrubs. Some of the plants—like agapanthus and lilies—are darker versions of familiar favorites, while others are rarities that will appeal to the most discerning collector. Each entry describes the plant's essential features and details the requirements for growth and care.

Whether your taste runs to pansies, columbines, and sweet williams or to obscure orchids from the Andes, you'll find a host of intriguing choices in this beautifully illustrated, entertaining book. Black Plants is sure to haunt your dreams.

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Editorial Reviews

Martha Stewart Living
"Black is not the first color that comes to mind when you think of plants. But as this beautiful guide makes clear, dark-hued leaves and flowers, from perennials to tropicals, have enormous appeal in a garden."
Our Little Acre blog
"This little gem of a book packs a planter's punch … If you never grow a single plant highlighted, it's still a fascinating read."
Pacific Horticulture
"Someday, I shall create the black-and-white themed garden I have been dreaming of; when I do, Black Plants will become muddy and dog-eared."
Canada Style at Home
"This whimsical collection … is beautiful to behold."
Deseret News
"Something that strange and surreal has to be a part of Halloween. Enjoy the celebration and think about adding some black plants to your garden."
San Francisco Chronicle
"Black works great for cocktail dresses and luxury cars, but in the flower garden? Absolutely."
Hartford Courant
"Despite some highly evocative names, this haunting book isn't just a Halloween treat. Dark foliage and flowers offer great opportunities for contrast, depth and focal points in the garden."
Tulsa World
"I wish I could say I was always intrigued by the dozens of gardening books publishers send our way … but every once in a while, I'll get a gardening book that I read cover to cover, such as Paul Bonine's little book called Black Plants."
May Dreams Gardens Blog
"If you want to add dark blooms for contrast in your garden, grow some very novel plants, or plant an entire garden with a dark color theme, Black Plants is a great resource to have on hand."
Anchorage Daily News
"Every once in a while a book is published that fills an empty niche. With Black Plants, finding dark leaved and dark flowering examples doesn’t need to be a mystery anymore."
Akron Beacon Journal
"Your garden might never be the same."
Chicago Tribune
"Black generally has a negative connotation, a signal that all is not well with a plant. Paul Bonine has set out to salvage black’s horticultural reputation with Black Plants."
Indianapolis Star
"Some of the names are frightening, but their stories are enlightening."
Star-Ledger
"Bonine is making the point that these deeply pigmented plants are striking additions to the ordinary run of garden bed and container choices, but the creepy factor is irresistible."
Oregonian
"Go ahead, open the cover, creep through the screeching gate. The plants inside are no nightmare. More like a dream."
Houston Chronicle
"Rather than cast gloom, these plants can add mystery, depth, and sophistication to the garden."
Library Journal
"Gardeners and plant lovers looking for ideas for distinct color schemes and exciting plant suggestions will appreciate this."
Buffalo Spree
“Even if you never grow a black or even a brown plant, the book is still an entertaining look at nature’s oddballs, and a great gift choice for anyone who loves plants.”

— Elizabeth Licata

Financial Times
“This is an invaluable guide for those leaning towards the opinion that black is the new green.”
Star Tribune
“You don’t have to be Morticia Addams to covet them for your garden.”
Chronicle Herald
“If you’re looking for something with an exotic twist for your garden, check out Paul Bonine’s eye-catching little book of black plants.”
Detroit News
"The addition of these striking shrubs, perennials and annuals will add depth and drama to the landscape."
From the Publisher
"The addition of these striking shrubs, perennials and annuals will add depth and drama to the landscape."
Pacific Horticulture

"Someday, I shall create the black-and-white themed garden I have been dreaming of; when I do, Black Plants will become muddy and dog-eared."

Library Journal
A nice palette of colors may be a top priority in garden planning, but there is also a place for plants with black flowers or foliage—they add a touch of mystery, drama, and the exotic and almost always capture attention. Bonine (co-owner, Xera Plants, Inc.) profiles 75 plants from black, dark purple, and mahogany palettes, ranging from common types like dahlias, cannas, and coleus to more obscure varieties, such as Aeonium "Zwartkop," a dramatic wine-colored succulent that originated in North Africa. Each plant is profiled with a brief description, a color photograph, and icons depicting moisture and light requirements. VERDICT Gardeners and plant lovers looking for ideas for distinct color schemes and exciting plant suggestions will appreciate this. Its small size (7" × 6") and glossy pages also make it a nice gift book.—Phillip Oliver, Univ. of North Alabama Lib., Florence\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780881929812
  • Publisher: Timber Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/16/2009
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 1,026,381
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Bonine is a garden writer, lecturer, and co-owner of the wholesale and retail specialty plant nursery Xera Plants, in Portland, Oregon. A lifelong plantsman, Paul has worked in the nursery industry for nearly twenty years and has consulted for NPR, the Sunset Western Garden Book, and the Oregonian.

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