July 28, 2009
I never thought about combining black and white flowers until I visited the Giverny Musée des Impressionismes in France. The garden worked well as a separate garden room within low walls and hedges. The space was tranquil and not jarring as I would have expected with such contrast. I liked it, but the flowers weren't labeled, so we have to guess as potential candidates for this color scheme.
Obviously, some of the "black" flowers are very dark red or purple enough to look black. There were many white and black tulips, black pansies, white forget-me-nots and what looked like varieties of shasta daisies and erigeron.
The trick to finding the right white and black flowers is probably in identifying plants that will bloom at the same time and with the same growing conditions with regards to soil, water and light.
What went through my head was the meticulous planting of the interspersed black and white tulips! The gardeners had to keep track of the separate colors. They most likely measured the distance between the bulbs in order to establish the meandering design.
Planting annuals in bloom would be easier for establishing the design, but planting enough to create the masses would be a tedious task. These gardens (I'm guessing) were probably planted by volunteer gardeners.
Getting out of our own gardens to see the creations of others gives us new ideas. Do you have a black and white flower garden? Do you want one? If so, what plants have you/would you select for your garden?
Photos and story by Freda Cameron; Location: Giverny (village), France; May 2009
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