I Remmeber the first time I put my nose in an open flower of Dahlia ‘Karma Choc’. Already tempted by the rich dark colouring of the elegant flowers, I was amazed to find that the flowers were not only the colour of dark chocolate, but they brought me the smell of chocolate, too.
Now, as I grow older, my sense of smell is slowly fading so, if I can smell it, then surely just about everyone else can smell it more strongly. And last summer the scent of ‘Karma Choc’ was still there.
It’s the same with the chocolate cosmos, Cosmos atrosanguineus. The dark daisy flowers are not only the colour of what we used to call plain chocolate, but the chocolate fragrance is also quite strong.
‘Mexican Black’ is said to be a hybrid between a dahlia and chocolate cosmos, but I’m not convinced. I think it’s pure dahlia. But the petals on the single flowers are definitely chocolate coloured and definitely chocolate scented.
That smell, that taste – for most of us, chocolate is a temptation. So ask someone to smell a flower from your garden and see the surprise when they recognise the fragrance of chocolate. Or see the temptation when they see flowers or foliage the colour of their favourite guilty treat.
Useful in the garden
Chocolate-coloured foliage is especially useful in the garden, although it can sometimes be difficult to decide whether to describe a leaf as chocolate, bronze, deep crimson or rich dark purple. But as a partner and foil for other dark foliage or for flowers in a similar colour range, it really is lovely.
Alternatively, go for contrast, and interplant chocolate foliage with white or pale rose-pink flowers. Heuchera ‘Chocolate Ruffles’ has it all in one plant.
While there’s no doubt that the chocolate fragrance is spread thinly, it is found across a wide variety of different kinds of plants: shrubs, climbers, perennials and annuals. There’s even a mint with chocolate-flavoured leaves called, you guessed it, ‘Chocolate’.
And of course if chocolate doesn’t do it for you as a sinful treat, what about ice cream? There are flowers that smell of ice cream, too, and I’ve included some of them in the following pages.
Care and attention
To enjoy the finest fragrance from your chocolate-scented plants, grow them separately from plants featuring other fragrances.
When cut for the house, follow the same rule – don’t mix chocolate scented flowers with roses, lilacs or other scented flowers.
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