Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Black Petunias? Really?

I really like Ball Horticultural.  I had a wonderful time at the Gardens.  I think the world of their market research team, especially Bill Calkins, who heads up their Independent Garden Center program.  

But I have to say, I just can't get all excited about the black petunia.  Yes.  Black.  It's a new Ball exclusive and Simply Beautiful selection called "Black Velvet."  It has a little buddy called Phantom Petunia, that's black and cream striped.  

Better contrast.
Camera flash makes it appear purple.

Ball's picture of "Phantom"
 Maybe it's me.  Maybe I'm behind the times.  Maybe this is just the novelty annual we've all been waiting for.  But I don't think so.  It's different from a black-flowered specimen plant, like a black iris.  It's different from dark-leaved foliage plants that set off the color green so nicely.  This one just looked ragged to me.  The black flowers makes a basket appear to have holes in it.  I can't imagine what it would look like planted in a bed.

Perhaps I'm mistaken though.  What do you think?  Would you buy a black petunia?


  1. There was a pretty good discussion of this plant on fresh air forum.

  2. Thanks for the link, Victor. That was a good discussion, particularly the comments. I stand by my initial reaction: no black pansies.

  3. Your observation that black petunias "makes a basket appear to have holes in it" is profound. In some way this is making me think possibly that the emperor will have no clothes. It may be a flash in the pan, a novelty plant, a home-run for talented designers who can make it work for them, part of a long-term trend, or who knows. I can't see myself buying it because I am always thinking of what I will do with something like that, and my imagination is not finding a spot for it or grabbing onto what those who think it's a great idea say they see. Hopefully some people make some money on this thing, and few lose much.

  4. Elizabeth,
    Fresh air forum could use your opinions and insights. Membership is easy and free.

  5. Thanks for your comments, Sid. The black petunia may sell well, or just sell a few to the novelty-seekers. It sure is easy to market this one, though. I thought Ball had better plants at the Gardens, but maybe they were more difficult for the marketers to get excited about. Victor, I'll check into Fresh Air Forum. Looks interesting! Thanks!