Garden trends - dark foliage

Designers are predicting a fashion for darker, plummy-coloured flowers and foliage with accents of brighter colours in planting design.  This can add depth, drama and a touch of glamour to your garden.

This trend was seen in action in Sarah Price’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show ‘The Nurture Garden’ this year.  The colours were an exquisite mix of pinky terracottas, blue/greys and mustard yellow, but this was all punctuated  by richer darker hues of plants such as Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropurpureum’ and ‘Zwartkop’ and purple-stemmed Angelica archangelica.

Other stylish dark- leaved perennials predicted to be popular include purple-stemmed cow parsley, Anthriscus sylvestris ‘Ravenswing’, Sambucus nigra and bronze fennel.  Sedum ‘Jose Aubergine’ and ‘Purple Emperor’,  and Heuchera ‘Purple Palace’ and ‘Obsidian’ with their big evergreen leaves and pale pink flower spires, are also useful for a dark accent.  There are also some fabulous dark astrantias such as A. ‘Hadspen Blood’.  Smoky purple and grey hues in flowers such as Papaver ‘Amazing Grey’, Aconitum ‘Stainless Steel’ and Amsonia hubrichtii are also predicted to be popular. 

Shrubs and trees to form a dramatic backdrop include Sambuca nigra, with its delicate black purple leaves and flat pale pink flowers and Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’. Acer palmatum ‘Atropurpureum’ and Cercis Canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ will also add drama.

Add pops of brighter colour with meadow-like flowers such as scabious and verbena.  Silvers, soft pinks and mauves also tone beautifully with sultry dark hues for the perfect planting combinations.