I always wanted to be a goth girl – wearing all black, dying my hair purple, and listening to moody music while pondering the deeper mysteries in life. Sadly, I had three strikes against me: I’m a total wuss, so piercings were out, I’m ridiculously cheerful, and since I started my landscaping business when I was 17, I made certain concessions to fashion so that sweet old Mrs Jones would feel comfortable calling me to plant her Bright! Pink! and Red! Petunias! No matter – once I really got into gardening, I realized I suddenly had an outlet for my subversive ways. The first garden I designed had these beauties – a ‘Brunette’ Snakeroot (seen below with an Oakleaf Hydrangea), ‘Plum Pudding’ Heuchera, and a number of bright purple flowers throughout. Who needs purple hair when you have the garden as your palette? Since my first garden, I’ve seen a lot of dark foliage, and it’s become quite the trend lately, between the new Black Plants book that Timber Press just published, and all the new black plants coming out (a black Ceanothus!! Whoa!). You really notice a dark silhouette against a bright green, and many burgundy and purple-leaved plants make silvers and chartreuses look like they’re glowing. To me, that means you shouldn’t overdo it with the darks – use ones with a bold shape or form and either have them be the star, or set them just in front and to the side of an even stronger element with a lighter color – either a plant, an interesting wall with a fountain or statuary, or have them direct the eye along a meandering pathway.