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Black Plants: 75 Striking Choices for the Garden Paperback – September 16, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Timber Press (September 16, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881929816
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881929812
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.4 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #722,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"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)

"This little gem of a book packs a planter's punch … If you never grow a single plant highlighted, it's still a fascinating read."
(Our Little Acre blog)

"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 works great for cocktail dresses and luxury cars, but in the flower garden? Absolutely."
(San Francisco Chronicle)

"Your garden might never be the same."
(Akron Beacon Journal)

"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)

"Go ahead, open the cover, creep through the screeching gate. The plants inside are no nightmare. More like a dream."
(Oregonian)

"Rather than cast gloom, these plants can add mystery, depth, and sophistication to the garden."
(Houston Chronicle)

"Gardeners and plant lovers looking for ideas for distinct color schemes and exciting plant suggestions will appreciate this."
(Library Journal)

"The addition of these striking shrubs, perennials and annuals will add depth and drama to the landscape."

About the Author

Paul Bonine is a garden writer, lecturer, and co-owner of the wholesale and retail specialty plant nursery Xera Plants, in Portland, Oregon. A lifelong plantsman, Paul has worked in the nursery industry for nearly twenty years and has consulted for NPR, the Sunset Western Garden Book, and the Oregonian.


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Customer Reviews

I'm sorry, I really am, but this book is a major disappointment.
Jen
If you're looking for a way to really make your garden a showcase for black or dark-colored plants, this book is a great guide.
S. D. Martin
My son works in the nursery field so when we saw this book, i had to order it for him. the pictures are good.
JoanD

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By abezon on October 20, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a nice book for someone who's thinking of creating a black garden or looking for a few really interesting accent plants. It lost one star because there's no index & I'd have like another 25 plants. The author gives the mature size of some plants, but not all. Light & water requirements are represented by 4 & 3 pictographs respectively. It's a bit like reading an international clothing care tag, but you get used to it. The plant photos tend towards macro shots, so you'll need to find find more pictures elsewhere if you want to see the plant structure.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jen on December 2, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm sorry, I really am, but this book is a major disappointment. There are hundreds more plants than these out in the world if you are really interested in dark or black foliage, and the images in this book are almost exclusively closeups of the flowers or foliage with zero examples of those plants in action in a planting. You'd get better results googling "black plants" or "black flowers" or "balck foliage" than by buying this book. I expected better from Timber Press, I usually drool all over their books!

I haven't returned a book to amazon or any other seller for many years, but this one didn't last 10 minutes out of the box before I printed the return label. I kid you not.

If all you want are a few closeup photos and some less-than-useful nomenclature. For example, Helleborus x hybridus is a large group of cultivars and colors - many more than than the disappointing black specimen in the photo. Good luck finding the dark flowering plant shown using the name "Helleborus x. hybridus").
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By K. Baumle on October 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
A few years ago, it became fashionable to create a Chocolate Garden, a trend that continues to be popular. Plants grown in a Chocolate Garden have a chocolate fragrance and/or have very dark blooms or foliage in tones of deep purple, brown, burgundy, maroon, or near-black.

A great resource book for planning such a garden is the newly-published Black Plants: 75 Striking Choices for the Garden by Paul Bonine. (Timber Press, September 2009) This little gem of a book packs a planter's punch by giving essential information on 75 stunning plants that would be appropriate for creating either a themed garden or a smaller pocket of attraction.

With each plant description, characteristics are provided that aid in making choices for the garden: soil conditions, hardiness zones, growth habits and light requirements. Suggestions are given for companion plantings that show off each plant's unique traits. On the page facing each description is a beautiful photograph of the plant.

Growing plants with such dark colors could be seen as gloomy and unexciting, but when paired with contrasting colors such as lime green, a very dramatic effect can be obtained. Black Plants provides the necessary information to create such drama, but if you never grow a single plant highlighted in this book, it's still a fascinating read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. R. Nelson on November 23, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The plants shown herein are really cool. Very striking in their colour. The downside is that not very many of them could be used in colder areas. I wish I knew ahead of time that I would need greenhouses for the very best plants in this book.

If you live in a year-around warm area, it might be worth it, otherwise, pick up a copy at the library before buying it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Julie on October 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
Good book, beautuful images, good plant description, but unfortunately very little is said about how to take care of the plants, how to bring it to its full pottential...very generic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Fern Richardson on November 6, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As the title alludes, the book contains 75 "black" plants, each with a paragraph about the plant and a large, full-bleed photo. I like that the descriptions are written in a light, conversational tone. You don't have to be a plant scholar or even know the proper way to pronounce "clematis" to enjoy reading the book and get useful information from it. Each plant description is accompanied by useful icons that tell you what zone the plant is hardy to and how much water, sunlight, etc it likes.

The plants included are a nicley curated collection of deep burgandy, midnight blue, darkest purple, and other exquisitely nearly-black colors. I appreciate that the plants are a really diverse collection. You can tell that the author tried to include a nice mix of trees, shrubs, annuals, herbaceous perennials, bulbs, etc. The plants also seem evenly divided between black foliage and black flowers.

Another nice thing about the book is its size. You might think that a book of this sort would be coffee table book size. But instead this book is about 7 inches by 6 inches and has a soft cover. I imagine that I'll put post it note flags on the plants I like and stick the book in my purse and take it with me to the nursery. The small size and light weight (along with the conversational tone and gorgeous photos) also makes the book perfect for reading in the bath while daydreaming about next year's garden.

I do have a minor quibble with the book's author though. Some of the plants in the book are not black. For example, 'Java Red' Weiglia. The leaves are described as deep green with a purplish cast, but I think it is a real stretch to call anything on the plant even remotely black.
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