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Garden Focus - June/July 2022

Let your plants do the dance of contrast

Let your plants do the dance of contrast

Ebony & Ivory
... beautiful and dramatic contrasts can be expected from these two opposite colours. At first those lyrics from yesteryear come to mind: “Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony, side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord, why don’t we? …” sung by the well-known Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder.

Creating an Ebony and Ivory effect in your garden is not so simple, as very few flowers are black in colour. But the whole idea behind the Ebony and Ivory theme is to create contrast between the two. In the garden there are only a few plants which provide both black and white on one plant.

Lagerstroemia ‘Ebony and Ivory’ or Crepe Myrtle. With its spectacular almost black foliage and white fluffy flower petals, it creates the perfect example of white on black contrast. This shrub or small tree requires full sun, is deciduous and frost hardy.

Weigelia ‘Ebony and Ivory’ which is a shrub with dark, black-green foliage and white trumpet-shaped flowers. This plant is extremely cold and drought tolerant, making this one the perfect choice for our Namibian conditions.

Another is the Heuchera ‘Ebony and Ivory’ with its beautiful chocolate-ebony leaves with bronze castings, neatly displayed with bright ivory flowers.

Black-foliaged plants would be the well-known filler plant, Ophiopogan planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ or black ornamental grass. This small compact grass-like shrub is ideal for edges in beds. Try planting it among white features such as pebbles or alongside white containers.

There is a wide variety of plants with ebony-like foliage with shades of dark maroon to almost black, creating an interesting contrast in the garden among white flowers or against white walls. Colocasia black magic, black-foliaged Coleus solenstemon, Cordyline, Ficus, Canna Tropicanna Black and Aeonium arborium which is a succulent.

What is known as black in the world of flowers is in fact a deep maroon or purple. Black and white, as well as colours like pink, don’t seem to have a place in a visible spectrum of light that goes only from violet to red. So, in terms of physics, they are not important. But the way we process light and the lack of it, means that black and white, as well as pink, are colours we like to name and use. Black flowers are not common, e.g., Petunia Black Velvet, Viola Sorbet Black Delight, black Iris, black Zantedeschia’s or arum lilies, black Tulips, or the rare Black Rose.

Creating a black and white effect in your garden is perhaps not so impossible as one would have thought. It is also the perfect colour theme to complement strong architectural and modern design styles.

Eugene le Roux

AgriTurf: Marco de Wet
Cell: 081 600 9584

Pupkewitz Megabuild:
Eugene le Roux
Cell: 081 124 6965

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