The dark part

Nicotiana sylvestris (aka tobacco). You might think the dark part of this pic is in the background, well that beautiful scented diaphanous flower is responsible for more deaths than car crash!

Nicotiana sylvestris (aka tobacco). You might think the dark part of this pic is in the background, well that beautiful scented diaphanous flower is responsible for more deaths than car crash! (well, ok, its leaves are but they come altogether)

A dark part. Who hasn’t one? Well, I realized the grasses garden has one too. I’m not crazy about purple leaved perennials most of the times but I have a thing for dark reds, browns and maroons and I think I am often using them without even knowing. Besides even though the grasses garden faces west the light is affected by the willow trees hedge and forms a kind of moving stripes of dark/light over the fine textures of the grasses, always ready to shine. There is a part on the main bed, facing the pool, which is particularly dark.

Shadow darkens the stripe with plantago major purpurea and the sun enlightens the shiny plumes of miscanthus purpurascens and the yellow dotted cloud of rudbeckia triloba

Shadow darkens the stripe with plantago major purpurea and the sun enlightens the shiny plumes of miscanthus purpurascens and the yellow dotted cloud of rudbeckia triloba

It barely looks like I set it up on purpose, this bed. It isn’t so. Other than the same old plantago there is a small rosa glauca (rubrifolia), a beautiful salvia ‘Purple rain’, a faded verbena hastata and a backdrop of dark green molinia ‘Heidebraut’ (another german named grass that disappointed me this year) and echinacea ‘Rubinzwerg’ black buttons.

The main bed on the grasses garden, seen from the pool. As you can see the work on the house are going on too, I am happy with that.

The main bed on the grasses garden, seen from the pool. As you can see the work on the house are going on too, I am happy with that.

Eupatorium atropurpureum has faded by now but its form and texture haven’t changed: the flower now are maroon. Pennisetum ‘Magic’ on the right is surrounded by other echinacea black seed heads and by the dried flowers of achillea ‘Credo’, which flowers pale yellow but fades (dries, actually) in a beautiful shade of dark brown. Lucky me I put a couple of white gaura lindheimerii that constellates this sepia bed.

The late summer flowering allium tuberosum state its pale shade of white against those black blocks

The late summer flowering allium tuberosum state its pale shade of white against those black blocks

I think this is the picture that inspired me for this post. Those black echinaceas heading menacing to the poor pale allium, cornered against the eupatorium.

A mixture of sedums: 'Xenox' the darkest, 'Matrona' the fat maroon one and 'Indian Chief' the short one

A mixture of sedums: 'Xenox' the darkest, 'Matrona' the fat maroon one and 'Indian Chief' the short one

I also like this mixture of sedums, still young though, they’re all cuttings made last fall and planted this spring. I planted some tufts of imperata cilindrica ‘Red Baron’ here and there, to emphasize the morning rays of light but it still is almost invisible, very slow growing.

It seems there can’t be a spotlighted character/plant/design without a dark backdrop, nevertheless it happens quite often in real life too! Don’t you think?

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7 thoughts on “The dark part

  1. It seems this is the glorious time of year for the grasses Alberto! So varied– I like the feathery ones and how you have located them together with heavier leaved contrasting plants. And yes every garden (and gardener) has a dark side– otherwise there would be no drama. Nice scaffold by the way.

    • Linnie, I am late as usual, I wish I could do more things than I really can do… Grasses are having their time now, sadly the odd weather put perennials out of sync. The scaffold wil be dismantled asap, I HOPE. I can pack it and send it to you if you really really like it that much! 🙂

  2. Thanks so much Alberto but no I have more scaffold material than I can figure out how to store. What I really need is a sky-hook or a small anti-gravity device, then it would all be much simpler.

  3. Hi Alberto, nice planting, textures and forms, I hope you’ll join my foliage meme on the 22nd of the month. Here’s my reply to your questions. “Thanks for your comments Alberto. I do have some Asters, but I bought them as quite small (9 cm pot size) last autumn, so far they are still small and began flowers for me at the end of July! I don’t have any expert advice for you except to say that A. ‘Monch’ seems to do well everywhere. I have some bearded Iris that grow very well indeed for me here. Most I bought from a friend but I am interested in buying others; can you let me have the web address for Bianco, I didn’t find it via my search engine.” Christina

    • Christina I replied you on your blog. I will post something about Bianco and irises as soon as I get my stuff. I placed my order earlier today. Thanks for visiting and be sure for your meme the 22nd. Even if I have to remember. I have the brain of a blond girl and the memory of a goldfish… (and the eyebrows of an italian guy… Damn.)

    • Thanks Pauline. Grasses provide a nice plain background to leave Primadonnas stand out. I just thought that was a little too dark and there is a lack of Primadonnas. I’m planting something new in the place of the thistle tomorrow.

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