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

4.0 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Even if you never grow a black or even a brown plant, the book is still an entertaining look at nature's oddballs, and a great gift choice for anyone who loves plants."

-- Elizabeth Licata "Buffalo Spree"

"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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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: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #993,298 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I already have quite a collection of black plants in my garden but I found this little book to be quite useful and very informative. Information such as light and water requirements are represented by easy-to-interpret icons; plus planting zones, sizes of established plants and suggestions for companion plantings are given, along with the Latin names. Each plant is accompanied by a full-page color photograph. 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. Paperback; small enough to tuck into a bag when you visit the nursery to show the staff, as most of these may have to be special-ordered.
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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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By gobs1 on February 2, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
this is a small book that has pictures anyone can find online with a Google image search I know if I picked this up in a bookstore after leafing through it I would put it back on the shelf and not think about it again.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My son works in the nursery field so when we saw this book, i had to order it for him. the pictures are good. Most of the plants are actually a deep purple but they are very striking in the garden setting. They represent a variety of growing zones so you will only find a few that will work for your area unless you have a greenhouse.
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