Sunday, November 1, 2009

Life on the dark side

Okay, so All Souls’ Day is November 2, not today. Today is the far less interesting All Saints’ Day, but we’ll blip over that in order to continuing with the more mysterious and ooky tides of the season.

Here in tropical Portland, gardening is a big ole deal. And while even the most avid of gardeners looks forward to that time of year when their work is done for a few months, there’s still much to do right now. Conventional wisdom sez you plants new shrubs now so that they overwinter and have a head start when spring arrives.

With that in mind, here’s a little inspiration for those special places in your apothecary. I mean garden.

Wicked Plants, a book of “botanical atrocities” by Amy Stewart, is evil fun. From plants that strangle to shrubs that explode, here’s how to have a garden that will turn the Addams Family bilious with envy.

Black Plants, created by Paul Bonine and published by Oregon’s own Timber Press, is a gorgeous compendium of plants whose dusky shades seem to defy all you thought you knew about photosynthesis.

And as if you needed more reason to ban pastels from your yard, Karen Platt’s Black Magic & Purple Passion, now in its 3rd edition, is the book that started the craze for baleful foliage. Karen richly illustrated tome makes me want to turn my entire property into a haunted house. She warns, though, that dark plants are best used as accents; the more they’re surrounded by contrasting plants, the more they pop.

So come over to the dark side and let’s get to work. During what Portlanders optimistically call “cloud breaks,” there’s still much to do.


Anonymous said...

You might also enjoy Lucan & Gray's "The Decadent Gardener"

Mead said...

Just had an online look at this books -- what a lot of saucy fun. Thanks, BHW, I need to add this to my collection soon. I've always thought gardens were erotic by their very natures (so to speak), so now I am ratified!

And I'm doubly indebted to you for the good book steers. Thought of you recently because I've been dipping into Stations of the Sun again for inspiration, as I often do at this time of year. Or any time of year when the seasonal tides are turning. So cheers!

cdenby said...

Amy Stewart is my cousin! She was just here in Austin for a reading & book signing. So glad you found her work.

Mead said...

Well, I'm very jealous of your cousin. As soon as I heard of the book I thought: D'OH! I could have had such a grand time writing that. But she thought of it, and I had to get it right away. Such a great concept, and she made a sumptuous book out of it.