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Dark Hues


This year I found myself irresistibly drawn to dark-hued flowers and foliage.

I was entranced with my friend Cindy's Canadian Cherry tree. In the spring, it has green foliage followed by white flowers and then the leaves turn a magnificently rich burgundy. Such a variety of virtues.

I was also entranced by the hollyhock ‘Blacknight', which has deep purplish-ebony blooms. And in my planters by my front steps, I still have a profusion of dark, dark coleus (name unknown or probably just forgotten) combined with white petunias.

I have been cutting the coleus for bouquets, and it enhances everything I pair it with. It looks smashing, or perhaps dashing, with pink, white, yellow or orange mums at this time of the year, but it was so profuse that I used it all summer with all colors and types of flowers.

It provides the perfect foil for any brash-colored blooms, as it tones them down. Brassy orange marigolds, for example, manage to look quite sophisticated in the presence of dark elegant foliage.

Earlier in the year I admired Cimicifuga ‘Hillside Black Beauty'. It is the best of the dark-leaved bugbanes for northern zones. The dark ferny foliage contrasts perfectly with the white flowers.

Heuchera ‘Forever Purple' makes a great edging for borders, and it is the best dark-leaved coral bells available, though ‘Black Taffeta' comes close especially in the spring with its small pale pink blooms.

I just can't seem to get enough of these dark-colored plants in my garden, and with a frost looming I am rooting some cuttings of the coleus to help me through the winter.

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