I've noticed much interest, in the gardening blogosphere, in dark, black or chocolate plants- a taste I share very enthusiastically. There's also been an increasing interest in lemon/lime/chartreuse colored plants so I've put together a little collection of images of what I think works really well together- both of those colors combined. This is something I've been working on in the Mamaroneck garden but its something I also take note of in other gardens I visit - like this one in Provincetown.
What I find interesting about this combination is it creates a sort of Garden Noir- a high contrast, light and shade in the border. As a strict color palette, it works extremely well in a constricted space, and I like how the addition of bronzes like the heucheras and the euphorbias in the photos make it more complex- look at this for a cool riff on those colors.
In the Mamaroneck garden, I'm using this as a base palette- I like how it adds light and shade to what is sometimes overlooked- a lot of green. In focussing on flower choice it's easy to forget that a signifcant part of the overall color is - green. Adding this range of not quite monochromatic hues can really add visual depth and range. At Wave Hill I took note of plants like red perilla and chocolate stemmed sedums to break up the palette. In Mamaroneck the dark leaves of the Weigela Wine and Roses and Berberis Thunbergii 'Rose Glow' do a terrific job of this as does the lemon leaved Spirea and the Creeping Jenny. Some great ideas for plants here and here.
When it comes to layering flower colors on top of this, I prefer richer warmer hues - indigos,corals, fuschias, warm pinks. What I really have in mind is a vintage Madras plaid with dark rich colors mixed with spicier bright colors but more of this when I get going again this year.