Create a garden of contrasts

Create a garden of contrasts

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Do you want to find an alternative to the predominantly green garden model with touches of pastel color? The creation of contrasts of light and dark colors will give it character and a contemporary style, sometimes even a side Urban jungle so trendy. Discover the black, purple and bright plants that make up this new plant palette, and grow your contrasting garden too. To create a garden with a 'well soaked' character, of course you can bet on the classic black and white; there are, however, many other nuances, more natural and more modern, for a sweet garden even in the theme of contrast. Start by selecting flowers that you like, examine them in pairs, wondering what opposes them, so what highlights them to each other. Colors, shapes, heights… Also anticipate their simultaneous flowering, and study the shadows, in the different seasons, therefore the play of light. Try to marry black, purple, green plants with multiple shades.

Black plants: new garden stars

They are the basis of a contrasting garden, and increasingly loved in gardens, especially small city gardens. "In recent years, we have been working more harmonies and black foliage has the advantage of better highlighting the colors," notes Jean Pouillart of Globe Planter. At first glance, it seems that black is rare in the garden, however by digging a little there are some beautiful specimens, with foliage and / or dark flowering. Let us present for example the opiopiopogon nigra, the wild chervil, the black iris (which is also multiple: among others at Cayeux we find the 'Domino Noir', 'Saturn', 'Ghost Train', 'Lady of the Night ',' Black Suited ', or' Black Gamecock '). Also the cimicifuga, the calla 'Black Star', the elderberry, the aquilegia 'Black Barlow', the fritillary 'Persica Adiyaman', the aéonium Zwartkop, as well as certain heucheres ('Black Beauty', 'Black Out', ' Obsidian 'for example), or the sedge which can take on a bronze, almost black appearance. Some begonias and other cordylines, penisetum, sage, or morning glory also have dark, bright purple or darker foliage. Also think of black tulips, chocolate cosmos, dahlias 'Cactus black cat', arums or black hollyhocks, sambucus nigra (or Elderberry) 'Black Lace'. Finally, with the more classic yellow and green bamboo, also associate black bamboo.

Purple plants, a link between the extremes

Much more frequent than the really black black ones, the purple vegetations play the same role, that of highlighting the bright or pastel colors, while bringing a little more light. "They display soft tones to look at, which soothe the soul, which are not aggressive, explains Pierre-Alexandre Risser, specialist in the black garden, of which he created a model at the last Parisian salon Jardins, Jardin (photos below These are tones that are used a lot in gardens today because they correspond to those of interior decoration. Black and purple are colors that go very well with the garden and with the vegetation. " Japanese maple is a must in this category; we also note the acalypha Pudziana, again the cimicifuga (which blooms white, guaranteed contrast!), the astilbes which can bloom in shades of 'crushed raspberry'. Berberis, physocarp (diabolo) and pittosporum are of course part of the must have list, and we also like purple dahlias…

Jardin de Pierre-Alexandre Risser 2015 / Jardin noir at the Jardins, Jardin 2015 fair / Jardins, Jardin 2015

Bright plants: like 'in relief' on a dark background

Associated with this obscure vegetation, leaves and flowers in very bright green and yellow tones, or even silver (the shrimp willow for example), are magical. Some are 2 in 1, like the pelargonium 'Black Velvet', whose chocolate-colored leaves are edged with green; the pink, green and purple perilla magilla, as well as certain pansies like the 'Matrix Sangria', the rhododendron which can have a fairly dark foliage contrasting with bright flowers, or the suzanne with black eyes ... From this base in three bright black-purple-color landings, you can now imagine your garden contrasting, by personalizing it. To do this, adapt the degree of contrast that suits you and pleases you.

What degree of contrasts in your garden?

Depending on your personal preferences, favor soft or violent contrasts ... "Today, I create rather soft gardens, testifies Pierre-Alexandre Risser. Purple almost black leaves that I mix with a palette of whites, greens, blues ( geranium Rozanne, black cohosh, eupatory 'Chocolate', ligularia 'Desdemona'…), violets and mauves (tulbaghia, allium 'Purple Sensation'…), yolks (golden physocarpus, caryopteris, rhus 'Tiger Eyes', willow -Salix - with yellow leaves ...). And sometimes a few touches of orange colors to create radiance. " For stronger contrasts, choose orange yellows and golden yellow foliage to combine with purple purples and blue tones. The heucheres are perfect in these plant patchworks. Finally, on the form side, marry ground covers (the opiopogon planiscapus 'Niger' for example) and more aerial plants that let the gaze pass, that will complete the picture.

Supplement with mineral and accessories

White pebbles, black slates, pozzolan: you can imagine a staging - as in the photo taken at Pierre-Alexandre Risser with a central fountain, for a yin & yang spirit. A nice way to perfect the garden by playing with graphics, the architecture of lines and shapes, and highlighting the differences. And why not, in a walled garden, a section of wall painted in black or anthracite gray? You will then plant dark ground covers and more flamboyant tall plants at its base. And finally, garden furniture or designer accessories in matt black colors will be the icing on the cake of this black forest garden! Learn more: www.globeplanter.com www.horticultureetjardins.com