February 7, 2014

Chocolate Plants! A New Trend in Gardening

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner -- if you haven’t seen the numerous red and white colored flyers, ads, billboards for the last month you’ve been out of the country!

I know one of the go-to Valentine's Day presents is chocolate. I, however, do not need any more real estate on my thighs so I’ve been looking to get my chocolate “fix” in a low-cal way -- and I think I found it! Using “chocolate” plants is one of the newest trends and I have jumped on board. Plants can smell like chocolate, have foliage or flowers that look like chocolate, and even sound like chocolate.

Imagine coming home after a long day and being greeted with the fragrance of chocolate as you walk through the gate. You might think there’s some Toblerone left in your purse but no, it’s the climbing akebia, aka chocolate vine, scrambling over the arbor. The chocolate smell is indescribable. I had an akebia in my old house and since moving last fall I have been looking for a place to plant one on my new property. This vine not only smells delicious, it’s beautiful (see the picture above). Before you get to the back door you might stop to smell the chocolate cosmos, their maroon-brown daisy shaped flowers swaying in the breeze. Sure they’re only annuals, but easy to replace and they self sow. The chocolate mint in a pot by the back door is begging to be added to your afternoon tea. It’s kind of like a junior mint without the calories.

Other chocolate plants will appeal to your eye: Dahlia ‘Chocolate Sundae’, nicotiana ‘Chocolate Smoke’, foxglove ‘Milk Chocolate’ and columbine ‘Chocolate Soldier’ remind me of varying shades of melted Hershey bars. Brown is a complimentary color in the garden; it can glam up pink or tone down blues. Of course, it is very much at home with other earth tones.

Finally, there are the plants that sound like chocolate. Chocolate chip bugleweed, dark chocolate coleus, chocolate mint coleus. Yummm …

This Valentine's day why not try a chocolate that will not melt, go bad or make you hate your scale! You order the chocolate plants I've mentioned or get a gift certificate for the plants at online nurseries such as Chocolate Flower Farm and Plant Delights Nursery.

Pine Straw Gift Tip: A gift card is often the perfect gift but may not feel personal enough. Pair it with a thoughtful item to both personalize the gift and give it a wonderful presentation. We have a fantastic assortment of mugs for Valentine's Day -- everything from sophisticated hearts to modern hearts and red florals to classic solids. Pick the perfect mug and slip a nursery gift card in it! Your love can dream and plan for the gardening seasons ahead while savoring the warmth of their hot drink!!

Thanks to our guest blogger Deborah Trickett, owner of The Captured Garden and award-winning container garden designer for her insight into a new gardening trend and a fun twist on a classic Valentine's Day gift. Learn more about Deborah and her garden and floral design services on her website: http://www.thecapturedgarden.com

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