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What’s new this spring?

Fleur noir?

It’s Linda’s new love!


The best-selling hellebore, ‘Double Black’. Photo - Post Office Farm Nursery


Deep plum-coloured foliage contrasted with hot pink fringe flowers in spring: Loropetalum 'Plum Gorgeous' grows 1.5m high and 2m wide, and can be pruned hard to make a dramatic, low-growing hedge along driveways, fence lines and in front of larger shrubs; or left to develop a natural graceful arching form.

Loropetalum 'Plum Gorgeous'

Rounded dark burgundy blooms are the lure of Magnolia ‘Black Tulip’, bred in New Zealand by leading magnolia breeders Felix and Mark Jury. This small garden-friendly deciduous tree, to just 3.5m, prefers full sun and protection from strong winds. Bonus - it flowers as a youngster.

Magnolia 'Black Tip'. Photo - Joanna Kossak

The best-selling hellebore on the list of specialist grower Post Office Farm Nursery is ‘Double Black’. The inky black flowers sit above evergreen foliage. Better in the ground than in pots, hellebores like shade in summer and full sun in winter and dislike high humidity and wet or water-logged positions.


The inky black flowers sit above evergreen foliage.

The dark red, almost-black flowers of ‘Nightflyer’ tiger lily feature even darker freckling and a slightly pendulous habit. Like other modern lilies they are best grown in full sun or light shade, in a well-drained, moist, compost-rich soil they can stay in forever. Available from Red Earth Bulbs.

‘Nightflyer’ tiger lily

With giant, black-centred, deep crimson blooms, Dahlia ‘Black Embers’, puts on a show from early summer to late autumn. Fancy something sunnier? Look out for its partner, ‘Giant Lemon Snow’, which has lemon yellow flowers tipped with white. From Mr Fothergills

Dahlia ‘Black Embers’

Black petunias have a soft velvety look and bloom all summer with virtually no care. Also look for black million bells (Calabrochoa) in garden centres this spring. Rather than using them en masse, team them with other flowers, like these apricot roses to add depth.


Black petunias. Photo - Gap Gardens

On the shelf

Around the World in 80 Trees

Jonathon Drori’s fascinating and fun book is a journey around the world with postcards from some of its most intriguing trees. He engagingly tells their tales in a mix of science, culture, botany and history. The stories are matched by Lucille Clerc’s sensitive illustrations, which are scientific enough to help with your tree identification, but also conjure something of the spirit of the tree and its interconnectedness with human life. Drori gets no argument from me that trees deserve our attention and need our protection, and his book will help garner both.

Robin Powell

Around the World in 80 Trees by Jonathon Drori

About this article

Author: Linda Ross