Tag Archives: Coleus

April 2012 Foliage and Blooms 572 copy

Focusing in the Dark

No night vision goggles are needed here with these foliage plants. Though you do want see them up close and personal. Dark leaved plants are HOT in garden and landscape design and only getting hotter!

Garden designers, TV Shows, Magazines and Botanic Gardens across the country are all talking about this craze. Now that its been a few years, new dark leaved plants are coming out to try every season from fabulous breeders across the globe. Here’s a juicy showing of a few of our good old stand-by’s and some new favorites at Fine Foliage.

April 2012 Foliage and Blooms 572 copy

‘Gold Heart’ Bleeding Heart is paired with Actea simplex ‘Hillside Black Beauty’ (Formerly Cimicifuga) and Lamium ‘Ghost’ in this high octane combination. Actea has the added bonus of fragrant white flowers that sway in the breeze so beautifully!

Just imagine the moody possibilities of design with these HIGH contrast colors. With purest and pristine white your design would be THE MOST on trend since black and white is the hottest thing on the fashion catwalk right now! Raaaahr!

IMG_4939.CR2

With black, charcoal, ebony, jet, onyx, raven, sable, shadow, slate the options for dark foliage are nearly endless. But, we should also look at the other superstars of deep toned foliage options like burgundy, deep reds, deep purples too.

July 2012 OFA and Franklin Conservatory 177 copy
This rich, dark mocha colored coleus is paired up with a lovely Carex that acts as a highlighter with the dark foliage focus. And THAT is the key thing to note when using darker foliage colors in the garden. Its the old adage about dark colors receding and light colors coming forward. You want to make sure you have some kind of contrasting color that makes those deep tones shine.
Zingiber 'Midnight Ginger'
Photo Courtesy of Hort Couture
This dramatic Zingiber ‘Midnight Ginger’ is quite showy on its own because of that snow white container.
The matte black ruffled foliage of this Coleus from Hort Couture is called 'Black Rambler'Photo courtesy of Hort Couture

Photo courtesy of Hort Couture

The matte black ruffled foliage of this Coleus from Hort Couture is called ‘Black Rambler’
The bright grass green container makes a lovely contrast to this color.

How about dark moody colors with BOLD variegation? You can have that in a design whether its in shade or sun with these plants.

Begonia Hybrid 'Connie Boswell' at Peace Tree Farm.

Begonia Hybrid ‘Connie Boswell’ at Peace Tree Farm.

Magnificent trailing Begonia at Longwood Gardens.

Magnificent trailing Begonia at Longwood Gardens.

More Begonia’s to ogle from Peace Tree Farm….
Copy of July 2011 Peace Tree Farm 087 copy
Copy of July 2011 Peace Tree Farm 250 copy

July 2011 Peace Tree Farm 231 copy

Slide1

 Carex 'Toffee Twist'

Carex ‘Toffee Twist’

Grass like this Carex often get lovely deepened color in late fall and winter as this one did and with the unusual ‘Autumn Fern’ frond making its way up in the late season right next to it, that accentuated the drama even more!

June 2012 Foliage and Bloom 059 copy

Taken in the Bellevue Botanical Gardens, this photo featuring the pairing of ‘Black Mondo’ Grass with a weeping Japanese Maple are texturally striking in a soft and touchable way. But, the mix of the licorice and almost chocolate tones together are simply deee-liscious!

When you consider what colors of foliage you want in your garden this season, think about adding some of the bolder, darker more romantic or mysterious foliage in deeper tones this season. Shine a light in those dark places – a BLACK LIGHT that is!

Enjoy this post?

Then join in the foliage party – sign up to get these leafy snippets delivered right to your garden. (Follow the link in the sidebar)

Visit our Facebook page too- we’re posting all kinds of beautiful foliage ideas in a zillion different ways there daily!

Palette Pointer for Designing with Foliage

Choosing a color palette for a garden space is really no different than choosing a color scheme for a room. It sure is an easy way to look at it isn’t it? We’re all drawn to certain colors, and those are where you start your process. Start with your instinct, start with the colors you LOVE and perhaps an inspiration piece or two.

Colemand Garden

Colemand Garden, Riz Reyes Designer

Sometimes your choice of where to start your palette might have to do with tying a particular color back into a particular area. Maybe it’s a color that calms all other colors down, or possibly the spark that lights other colors up. It is not a bad idea to have that one consistent thematic color of foliage in a given area to hold a scene together cohesively.

The photo above is a fascinating illustration if you imagine this small section of the garden as a room. The gold Acorus grass is the flooring, the silver variegated foliage plants in the middle are like a furniture grouping in the middle of the room. Calm, elegant, textural and yet subdued so as not to overshadow the artwork of the dramatic coleus on the back wall.

The coleus of course giving echo to the color of the ornamental chimney pot with its rich reds and the deep almost blackish burgundy Festival Grass. The color palette of this small garden was elegantly echoed throughout the rest of the area not in this photo.

The coleus and red grass picks up the rich tones of the garden art, OR does the garden art pick up the tones of the coleus and red grass? Either way, this is an excellent example of just one technique for designing with pops of color that make other more subtle tones shine. It’s a fine springboard for both a room and a garden.

Tell us here at Fine Foliage what foliage colors inspire your garden’s palette choices!