Thursday, August 2, 2012

Gothic Gardening~~~ Part 2

“…and in her starry shade of dim and solitary loveliness, I learned the language of another world.” ----Lord Byron

 Isn’t that a beautiful sentiment Darklings? 

I feel that one’s garden, especially at night should be the gateway to viewing the stars, to commune with the unseen, the dead; unfortunately with so much ambient city light it does make it hard, but still the night can be beautiful in a garden.

So as another suggestion for a theme garden, consider on planting a night garden, now this would consist of plants that bloom and release their fragrance at night, for example:
The moon flower is born to glow in the gothic night time, it opens at night and stay opens into the morning. Sadly each flower last only for a day. It comes in yellow, pink and purple colors, and there are those that are white; they are great for late afternoon till the early morning blooms. The yellow flower blooms first in the twilight and then the pink and purple ones blossom in the duration of the dark gothic night.

Just Google in “Night Blooming Flowers” and you will get a number of suggestions.

Another idea for a night garden is to plant plants that have a silvery sheen, instead of white flowers, although both will show up beautifully during moonlight times, but white flowers would be predominate in the moonlight.   Also consider flowers that release their fragrance only at night, but only as an addition to your daytime flowers.

I felt I had deserted you when I did not provide the names of at least a few plants that one could consider for a Goth Garden.

This part is to make up for it.  

Now I do advise to see if you are planting in sun or shade, what type of soil and drainage, the theme of your garden and of course, your pocket book.

I have a few Goth looking plants listed here,  the zones that I list are for the United States so if you are viewing from another country check with your local nursery about the climate zones that will handle what I’m posting-----

Cobra Lilies good for zone 4 to 9, 1 to 3 feet tall, open shade; moist, well-drained soil

Toad lily; zones 4 to 9, 6 inches to 3 feet, open to heavy shade, humus-rich, well drained soil.  They look likes yellow toads.

Ornamental kale zones 4 to 8 container works well, their nice dark leaves can serve as a back ground for low growing.

‘Chocolate’ white snakeroot  zones 4 to 8 also a container plant that tolerates cold, spills over beautifully in an old urn.

Cockscomb an annual, looks like a brain removed from a skull, it likes full sun and well-drained soil and will show itself toward the end of summer.

Diabolo Ninebark zone 3 to 7, full sun, moist well-drained soil dark hued excellent background plants.

Mums also come in a wide variety of colors many of them dark hued.

Then there are the roses and Lily’s---the standard white calla lily so perfect for a funeral effect or dead garden, consider also what it typically called the Easter Lilly, when planted it blooms at another time of the year and is forced bloomed for Easter, but is still worthwhile for a Goth dead or cemetery garden.

For your dead or cemetery garden be sure to consider anise, amaranth flowers and wormwood. What make these flowers special for raising the dead are their bitter taste, and also the sharp aroma. Through these plants a unique atmosphere can be created, a sense of death and life together. Wormwood especially if brewed properly is part of the ingredients for Absinthe.

Then there are the Roses-----
One dark rose is called “Almost Black” it is a very deep red, there is the Black Baccara rose, Black Magic rose, Black Beauty rose, and the Black Ice rose,  check with your favorite nursery or look on line for it’s hardiness and growing zones.

Roses also come in white and lavender as well, again check for hardiness.

You can have fun with climbing roses especially the white variety for your cemetery or fantasy garden.  Have it arch over a wooden trellis or a black metal trellis.  The wooden ones, unless made out of red wood have a short life span, a metal one lasts much longer, you can even have a distressed metal sign hanging over it saying either “Cemetery” or “Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here” or something equally as suitable.

Then there are the carnivorous plants like the Pitcher plant and the Venus Fly trap, so in deciding what to plant the world is your oyster.

Red poppies are also another excellent flower to have growing in your garden, make sure the colors that you choose are red as close to blood as possible.

Do not overlook the bulb plants like irises, gladiolas, tulips, dahlias, and even daffodil’s especially for early spring blooming.  But you must remember most bulb plants should be planted in October (northern hemisphere) for the spring blooms, so planning your flower beds and knowing where is what is important.

Among the tulips is a wicked maroon beauty called “Queen of the Night” which is a late spring bloomer, when paired with white tulips such as “Maureen” also a late spring bloomer that turns from creamy yellow to white can make for a dramatic appearance, even with all “Queen…” or all “Maureen” for either a dark garden or all white garden or fantasy garden. 

Some people would say “Why Daffodil’s?”  There is an early spring blooming one, “Alaska” really a jonquil that is almost all white for a ghostly-fantasy garden effect especially in the evening,  and for some reason even in its ghostliness seems almost cheerful with its yellow stamen center. If you want Daffodils that look unusual there is Cassata an early bloomer that is ghostly in it’s yellow and white glory and a mid-to late bloomer Poeticus Recurvus which is white with a red outline like it has been splashed with blood on its yellow trumpet. It even has a spicy scent.

If you are planning to grow a “horror” garden you should consider planting among your leaf-losing trees Winter Wolf’s Bane (Eranthis/Winter Aconite) it is an early spring bloomer with it’s cup shaped yellow flowers sitting on fans of bright green leave, plant a lot for best effect, if you don’t mind yellow and couple it with a garden statue of a wolf as well.

Don’t be afraid to crowd your bulbs, for example 9 to 12 tulip bulbs in one square foot in the wild where as standard is 5 bulbs,  Daffodils large 4-5 and miniature 7-11 in a square foot and Eranthis 20 to 24 in a square foot.

Another thing to consider are Ferns, yes Ferns, now some people would think that Ferns demand water, a cool environment  and being in the shade, but there are Ferns that are drought tolerant and will take variegated shade.  Again it depends on your garden design, and theme as well as space as some ferns can take up a large space, check with your nursery specialist.

Then there are plants with names like “Snakehead” and “Bleeding Heart”, you can have fun planting them with stakes that have their names, again consider location and color and time of year when they will bloom.

These are only some suggestions; I myself like the idea of the Cockscomb annual with it’s bizarre growth, and intend to plant it here and there in my garden just to startle anyone. And I’m going to use ferns in the more shady areas to have hidden tombstones and ageing statuary peeking out mysteriously from the past.

Another thing to consider is how are you going to water your garden, drip method, sprinklers, hand watering---if your garden is in an apartment the obvious is hand watering, but you are lucky to have an outdoor or patio garden then one has to consider the remaining methods, we are going to install a sprinkler system and to make sure that all parts of the garden is reached, but it also depends on how much water the plantings will require. 

And this is where one has to consider making it drought tolerant or moist, even a bog garden or rain garden. All of that has to be considered in your theme and planning.

Now if you are an apartment dweller, then consider the bulb plants such as Amaryllis to grow indoors unfortunately there are no very dark colors for your gothic indoor garden mostly reds, of which I suggest starting with what I think is the darkest red “Royal Velvet” it’s flowers are large, followed by “Rapido”, it is a miniature early bloomer, and Red Lion with large blooms.   A pure white Amaryllis is “Christmas Gift” it blooms in January or February.   To grow these beautiful bulbs read the directions carefully.

Some people ask what sort of statues or physical decorations to put into one’s garden, I have seen a lot of different things that go beyond ducks, gnomes, and fairies, and if you don’t mind leaving them up all year, check out the Spirit web site for Styrofoam tombstones, you may have to re-paint them every couple of years or replace them but they are easy to move, I recommend (if you can find them) using old wire coat hangers, cut them and mount the cut ends into the bottom of the tombstone and then into the ground for support,  but garden decorations one has to search, and consider also salvage; one never knows what one will find.  

Some years ago a friend of mine and I went to one of those large antique sales and there in all its repulsive glory, was a metal fountain with a metal surround for the basin, the fountain was a wild boar and it would have the water dribbling from its mouth into the pond where it sat. 

Surrounding the pond basin area was a metal surround shaped to be a woodland floor with leaves and branches but among them was snakes, toads, lizards, insects and some dead looking things.  The whole thing was both horrible and beautiful to look at.  My friend bought it and installed it in his large old-fashion green house where he grew orchids, his green house had two functions one side to grow his orchids and the other side to display them in an unconventional but relaxing setting so on one end of his green house he had a place where one could sit and feel like they were in a jungle of sorts and this fountain had “pride of place” because the green house was heated one could enjoy it year round. 

And speaking of orchids, if one goes into Safeway or some other store and sees blue orchids for sale, these are really white orchids that have been watered with blue dyed water, then when they are through blooming for the current year, next year they will bloom white.

Since I also have a green house (that needs to be restored) I plan on doing the same thing one half for growing things the other side to relax in all year round, my friend has recommended that from my back deck I have two paths, one enclosed to lead to the green house and the other open to lead to the open garden, the trick is to have the green house not be so obvious from the garden side, possibly a back ground fencing, but that is in the future.

And that is also one more thing to think about; a year round green house where those exotic orchids can bloom and grow, so decadent and some so evil looking.

So Darklings, where ever you are, search on the internet for ideas for the flowers that you want for your garden in your area, then check with a knowledgeable nursery person for what will work for you, your growing area and the type of soil and layout of your garden.  If nothing else you can start planning and designing and then watch it come to “dead/life”.

I hope I have been able to give you some ideas for your gothic garden.  Remember all it takes is a bit of imagination, determination and a lot of paticence.

Later Darklings

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