1 Dark and Handsome hellebore
HELLEBORUS ‘DARK AND HANDSOME’, ZONES 4 TO 9
Part of the Wedding Party series, Dark and Handsome steals your heart with black-purple good looks. Hellebores thrive in part to full shade. After the blooms fade, attractive leathery green foliage remains.
Why we love it: This sturdy chap stands its ground when facing ravaging deer and rabbits and quickly naturalizes in woodland gardens.
2 Chocolate cosmos
COSMOS ATROSANGUINEUS, ZONES 9 TO 11 OR ANNUAL
Chocolate cosmos sprout from tender tubers that can be grown as annuals or brought inside for winter in cold climates. They ultimately reach up to 30 inches tall, growing best in a sunny garden patch. They shine from midsummer into fall and are easy to care for.
Why we love it: This cosmos is an absolutely luscious, calorie-free form of chocolate. The smell of the blooms even brings to mind red velvet cake.
3 Black Barlow columbine
AQUILEGIA VULGARIS ‘BLACK BARLOW’, ZONES 3 TO 9
This deep maroon, almost black double-petaled columbine adds drama to a late spring garden. Grow this 24- to 30-inch perennial in sun or part shade. It’s short-lived, but it self-sows like a champ.
Why we love it: It sounds as if it was named after a pirate, and it may rebloom if it’s deadheaded.
4 Black Knight hollyhock
ALCEA ROSEA ‘BLACK KNIGHT’, ZONES 4 TO 9
Black Knight scores with deep purple-black blooms even in its first year. If planted in full sun, this 5- to 6-foot-tall butterfly and hummingbird magnet will readily self-sow.
Why we love it: It’s truly a perennial, not a biennial like most hollyhocks. It also grows within range of troublesome black walnut tree roots and resists rust.
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