THE NEW BLACK
FIVE FAVOURITE PLANTS
1 ALCEA ROSEA ‘ NIGRA’
Tall, stately hollyhocks are a staple of the traditional English cottage garden. Subvert their easy charm by choosing the mysteriously dark variety, ‘Nigra’, with its glossy velvety petals. Available from crocus.co.uk.
2 ZANTEDESCHIA ‘ BLACK STAR’
Sending their silky maroon spathes out from speckled green leaves, these arum lilies add an exotic flavour to patio containers. They also make elegant and long-lasting cut flowers. From vanmeuwen.com.
3 OXALIS TRIANGULARIS ‘ BURGUNDY WINE’
The purple-leaf false shamrock is ideal in a conservatory or on a sunny windowsill. It’s lovely to look at, its deep-plum leaves folding themselves up at night.
4 SAMBUCUS NIGRA F. PORPHYROPHYLLA ‘ EVA’
A stunning variety of our native elder. Umbels of pale-pink flowers stand out against its dark lace leaves in summer, and you’ll be rewarded with deep, glossy berries come autumn. Available from crocus.co.uk.
5 TULIPA ‘ QUEEN OF NIGHT’
These graceful tulips make a bold statement in the garden, in pots or borders. Plant the bulbs over the coming weeks to enjoy their deep velvet blooms in spring. They also make excellent cut flowers. Available from sarahraven.com.