Black Plants

75 Striking Choices for the Garden

By Paul Bonine

Published by Timber Press

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.

$14.95 (US)

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Publication date
September 16, 2009
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Review quotes
“Gardeners and plant lovers looking for ideas for distinct color schemes and exciting plant suggestions will appreciate this.” —Library Journal

“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.” —Martha Stewart Living

“Go ahead, open the cover, creep through the screeching gate. The plants inside are no nightmare. More like a dream.” —The Oregonian

“Rather than cast gloom, these plants can add mystery, depth, and sophistication to the garden.” —Houston Chronicle

“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.” —Pacific Horticulture

“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.” —Chicago Tribune

“Black works great for cocktail dresses and luxury cars, but in the flower garden? Absolutely.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“An invaluable guide for those leaning towards the opinion that black is the new green.” —Financial Times

“Some of the names are frightening, but their stories are enlightening.” —Indianapolis Star

“Your garden might never be the same.” —Akron Beacon Journal

“The addition of these striking shrubs, perennials and annuals will add depth and drama to the landscape.” —Detroit 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.” —Anchorage Daily News