‘Black’ Foliage, Aromatic Herbs?
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Kimberley Modesitt
Posted on: May 10, 2007

I am putting together a design for a winery that has requested four quadrant beds representing their four wine types.

My question to you is, could you recommend any aromatic herbs that have black foliage or flowers? The other beds are red, yellow and white. Also any suggestions with regards to these colour selections would be appreciated.

Any help you could provide in this area would be greatly appreciated.

As I am sure you know, there is no truly black foliaged plant. Most are really more brown to red-brown. The closest to a black herb are red-brown "red" basils such as Ararat and Rubin. Chocolate boneset and purple volcano sage are also brown, but have no scent. Black hollyhock has close to black flowers.

For red plants you may be better to go for plants with red flowers and of these there are quite a few. Try nasturtiums and select the ones that flower red, red geraniums such as Mrs Taylor -scented or the barely scented Austrian red geranium would be nice. For mid-summer the Red Kew lavender has close to red flowers. Red Endive might be a good edging. For the centre red bergamot would be very showy. The tender autumn sage Cherry Chief is very showy.

For yellow try Aztec marigold or Lemon Gem marigold. As an edging you could try Goldsmith comfrey, but it has no scent. Selecting yellow nasturtiums from the mix would also be a good idea. Yellow black-eyed Susan and its tetraploid forms, the Gloriosa Daisies are great.

For white an edging of the fuzzy white sage might work, or for a central location, woolly yarrow. Even tricolour sage is mostly white variegated and could be used there. For white flowers there are ox-eye daisy and its hybrids, the Shasta daisies and white roses such as Mme. Hardy, Alba semi-plena and the American hydrangea. For a low edging double chamomile would look very nice.

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