Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Gothic Gardener's Valentine Bouquet

Now that February has arrived and Valentine's Day is fast approaching, I've got roses and floral arrangements on my mind. Since this is a Halloween themed blog, this post will be centered around flowers with a Gothic look. Of course, the no muss, no fuss way to a Gothic bouquet is to simply chop the roses off their stems, like Morticia Addams is known to do. As much as I love the Morticia character, it always drove me nuts when she did this. I wonder what was done with all the cut off roses?

If you'd like to arrange some actual roses (that still have their heads) there are plenty of Gothic varieties. I first saw "black roses" in a gardening catalog last summer. They're not truly black, but more of a dark red. No one has managed to grow a true black rose yet. The rose below is called Black Magic and it's a hybrid between the Dallas rose and the Red Velvet rose. The Black Magic rose has a very velvet-like look. From what I've read, these are scentless.

Another beautiful variety of rose is called Black Jade. It's a dark red mini rose.

The next rose is really spectacular! It's called The Black Beauty. The black and red patterns give it almost a tie-dyed look. Evidently, the rose appears black at first, but opens into a scarlet red color.

I did find a how-to article about "growing" black roses, but it isn't about creating a black rose, so much as pouring black dye into the soil. I'd be curious to know how well this works: 

How to Grow Black Roses

Then again, you can also dye cut roses you've bought from the store. I'm sure many of you have tried this old trick with white carnations. Basically, you add food coloring to a vase of water and the flower's stems soak it up. In the following article it is suggested that you use black dye, or ink!  

How to Dye Roses Black

I think that it would be a smart idea to use a glass vase and not an unglazed ceramic vase for this. Or you could end up with a new blackened vase! Another bit of advice, don't let your newly dyed flowers touch anything. I've had dyed flower petals go on to dye the wall, kitchen counter, and anything else they're able to touch.

Black roses can symbolize death or the end of a relationship, so you might want to stick with the red ones for Valentine's Day!

One of the few actual black flowers is the Black Calla Lily. It gets added Goth points for being poisonous. Calla Lily poisoning does not sound fun, so keep the flowers away from your pets! I'm assuming that most humans don't chew on Calla Lilies...

Strangely, Calla Lilies are associated with both weddings and funerals. They're associated with weddings, as a symbol of purity. They're associated with funerals as a symbol of rebirth.

Another possible addition to a Gothic bouquet is the black tulip. I've seen some really dark purple tulips in a local park, but I don't think I've ever seen a black tulip in person. The ones I've seen online look so glossy! This one is called The Queen of the Night tulip:

Isn't that gorgeous? I remember seeing The Queen of the Night in a gardening catalog, so I don't think it's too rare. Some pictures of it look pure black, while others look dark purple when light shines through the petals. I found multiple meanings for black tulips. Some people say they symbolize power and strength. Other people say these are given with a goodbye. Some people use it in arrangements that honor a person who has passed away. In its connection to the story A Black Tulip, by Alexandre Dumas the flower symbolizes the strongest love that can exist between two people. The story involves a relationship that cannot be stopped, no matter how many characters try to step in the way of it.

If you'd like to keep your floral arrangement year round, you can always take the silk flower route. This quick tutorial shows how to make a Gothic floral display using only Dollar Tree tulips and a black marker!

Can you believe how cool those ended up? I liked how glossy the stems were. I bet this technique would look great with bright orange silk flowers. Those would make an awesome centerpiece for Halloween! Of course, the shiny black stems would look sharp with red roses for a Valentine's Day bouquet with a little edge.

In other Valentine's Day news, my blog buddy Holly is organizing a blog event for February 14th. All you have to do to participate is sign up, post a badge on your blog, and write a vampire themed blog post. Vampires are probably the most romantic of supernatural creatures, so they make a fitting theme for Valentine's Day! If you're interested in being a part of this, you can visit her blog here:

Valentine's Day Event at Holly's Horror Land

P.S. ~ I ran into a collection of plant photos you won't believe! They're all very spooky and exotic. Check out the "Dead Man's Fingers" fungus! Here they are:

Spooky Plant Photos

Have any of you actually seen any of these plants in person?


  1. Black Magic roses have very, very little scent. It's almost like the leaves have more scent than the flowers.

    I planted about 150 Queen of the Night bulbs last fall. Love them. Are you sensing a theme to my garden? LOL

    Still working on my little project- maybe I'll go sign up to post it on Valentine's Day! Thanks!

  2. I remember walking into a florist a long time ago and asking if they sold black roses and being heart broken when they said they don’t exist. The clerk spray painted them black for me and they looked pretty nice and worked really well on Valentine ’s Day. Of course then I didn’t know they symbolized death, I just thought they looked cool.

  3. Gorgeous flowers! The Black Magic rose is particularly beautiful! My favourite has to be the black orchid. Orchids are kinda odd looking but black orchids are so darkly romantic!

    I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for some of these when we finally get around to doing some major re-inventing of our small back garden! xx

  4. I LOVE those black Calla Lilies! *swoon*

    Happy Weekend my dear!


  5. These are so amazing!

    One day I would love to have a gothic garden and grow these varieties.

  6. I know what you mean about Morticia cutting off the rose heads! I have vague memories of finding that somewhat disturbing even as a small child. I guess the bizarre factor was the whole point. Nobody back then probably envisioned that Morticia and The Addams Family would become icons of a dark aesthetic to many of us.

    The flowers are all stunning. I love gardens and flowers, but I don't care for gardening at all. I'll need to win the lottery and hire a gardener to create my gothic garden. ;) Actually, A gothic flower shop would be cool. I wonder if there are any florists who specialize solely in gothic flora.

    This was a great pre-Valentine's Day post. I'm going to link to it on Facebook!

  7. Pensive Pumpkin ~ The leaves have more of a scent than the flowers? What kind of light scent are the leaves giving off? I would guess that it's sort of a fresh smell.

    Yeah, I'm sensing a bit of a theme here. :) 150 bulbs! You must have a really striking garden. I'd love to see a photo of those tulips, if you have one. So do you have a purely Gothic garden, or have you mixed some bright flowers in? I think the contrast of nearly black flowers to bright flowers can look really cool.

    Yeah, I was thinking that your "little project" would really fit the theme for that blog event! I'm looking forward to seeing how your project turns out.

    Giovanni ~ I saw someone showing how to spray paint roses online today. It gave the flowers a really crisp look. I wonder if they last longer once they're sprayed. It was thoughtful of you to take that extra step and get the roses customized. I hadn't thought about people already having given black roses when I wrote that part about symbolism. Oops. I'm one of those people who's really into symbolism, with flowers, jewelry, etc. So, if someone were to give me flowers, I might actually think about the flowers' meaning!

    VainGlorySinner ~ The Black Magic rose looks like it's made of velvet! I think a few of those would look pretty mixed into a bouquet of standard red roses. I've never seen a black orchid before, so I just had to search for some pictures. I read a little about the symbolism of black orchids. They are said to be a symbol of power and the elite.

    Let me know if you decide to go with any of these flowers in your garden. Some of the darker roses come in a bush form, so they'd be nice alongside a house. I'm sure you'll have lots of fun planning your new garden!

    LuLu ~ Yeah, aren't they amazing? There are so many beautifully unique designs in nature. They almost don't look real! I hope you have a wonderful weekend too. :)

    Spooky Vegan ~ I agree! It would be lots of fun to just be given a garden space with access to any flower variety. It just occurred to me that I don't know the cost of these flowers. Now I'm curious... I would think that some of these roses are expensive since they seem like specialty plants. After replying to these comments, I'm going to check prices...

    Little Gothic Horrors ~ It probably disturbed most people to watch her cut those roses apart. Besides defacing something beautiful, it seems really wasteful! You know what's funny? There's a woman with a craft show on around here named Katie Brown. Many of her craft projects involve cut off rose "heads" glued onto various things. (Many of these projects are hideous and I watch the show to laugh) Anyway, I always joke that she's using Morticia's leftovers. :) Yeah, who would know in advance that The Addams Family would have such a reaching influence! There's no way of telling what will stick with people or help define their taste.

    I searched for Gothic floral shops and actually found a few! There are lots of services catering to Gothic weddings online. I ran into quite a few Goth corsages while putting this post together. They mostly involved black feathers for some reason. The black lilies seem to be pretty popular with Goth weddings.

    You don't like gardening? I guess you would need a little help with this project then. You could have fun with the design process anyway! :) So, you need a goth gardener... I'm smiling while imagining a goth guy planting rose gardens for people. It's actually a cool thought.

    Thanks for the shout-out on Facebook! :)

  8. That Black Magic rose is beautiful, but how strange that it's scentless. I prefer wild roses to the cultivated ones, though nothing beats the big, blowsy English roses for divine scent.

    I like Morticia too, but also wondered what happened to those rose heads!

  9. what an interesting post. Morticia Addams is such a doll :) I'm very anti-Valentine and don't really celebrate it. In Finland it's actually called "friend's day" and you actually give cards to your friends, which I think is really nice thing.
    Calla Lillies are one of my favourite flavours, the black ones especially.

  10. You never realize how creepy The Addams Family was until you revisit it. I saw the intro the other day and was reminded of just how creepy it really was!

  11. Justine-

    It's kind of like with tomatoes. Have you ever smelled tomato leaves? They are one of my favorite smells in the world. Kind of sharp. Lovely.

    I'm starting to realize why people think I'm bizarre.

    When they bloom I will post photos, definitely. It just occurred to me to start gothing up my garden last year. Most of the plants were inherited and big enough to live inside. Crazy big rhododendrons.

  12. Oh, the "design process" I'd love!! I enjoy dreaming up gothic gardens... it's the dirty work that I don't like. Haha. I have a friend who says that she and I would be like a couple of Eva Gabors, from 'Green Acres' if we attempted gardening - flapping about trying to keep our clothes nice and avoiding any contact with bugs! Haha.

    You got me interested in the whole gothic garden subject though, so I did a little searching myself. I came across a gorgeous stone gothic garden mirror that I'd LOVE to have. Unfortunately, it's in Britain. I'll send you a pic of a Black Velvet Petunia I stumbled across too.

    I like your idea of a goth gardener. I can see myself reclining on dark, gothic lawn furniture supervising young Draco as he tends to the night blooming jasmine. ;)

  13. Beautiful. I've been planning my gothic garden in my head for some time. Now I just need a yard......

  14. Ali ~ I was surprised to learn that it was nearly scentless too! The rose looks like it should smell like raspberries or something. :) I like the look of the fluffy English roses you mentioned. They have that whole shabby chic look going on.

    Hmm... I would like to think that the rose heads Morticia cut off were collected in some way. It be cool if someone dried those as a collector's item, but they were probably tossed.

    Mrs. Munster ~ Thanks! I'm glad you liked this one. :) Yeah, Morticia is a timeless classic. I like the idea of Friends Day. As far as I know, nothing like that exists here. We have Sweetest Day in October, but that's more or less a second Valentine's Day. I think it's nice that you have a day to show appreciation for friends. It's also nice that everyone gets to feel included in the holiday, whether or not they're in a relationship. I was just reminded of a recent episode of "Park and Rec" where Leslie puts together a Girlfriends Day as a way for her friends to celebrate Valentine's Day as a group. It was a cute idea.

    Yeah, the black Calla Lilies are really pretty. There's something so modern and contemporary about their shape!

    Spooky Halloween Arts ~ Were you watching the original Addams Family show from the 60's? I love that old intro with the snapping. Yeah, looking back at Lurch and the grandma, there were some genuinely creepy characters!

    Pensive Pumpkin ~ Yeah! I know the smell you mean. I grow tomatoes and they smell great. So fresh. I don't think you're all that strange. There are entire lines of cosmetics based around the tomato scent. Say Yes To Tomatoes comes to mind, as well as Burt's Bees tomato toner. I'm sure there's more out there.

    Cool! I can't wait to see some photos of your garden. Rhododendrons are really pretty. I bet their bright pink or red color looks great with the nearly black and dark red flowers you have. That's pretty much my favorite color combination!

    Little Gothic Horrors ~ A couple of Eva Gabors. :) Yeah, I don't think Eva was much of a gardener! She probably knew just where she wanted things, though. I haven't seen that show in forever, so I'm trying to remember even one of the plot lines...

    I enjoyed the pictures you sent me! That mirror is just beautiful. I was surprised to see the Black Velvet Petunia. There are so many dark flowers I wasn't aware of. I hadn't seen any of the plants on that page I emailed you. It would be fun to see just one of them in person!

    Haha! Yeah, young Draco. :) He's like the updated hot pool boy or something!

    Lady Bethezda ~ Yeah, having a yard is helpful. :) Were you planning on planting any of the flowers shown here? I think it would be fun to stick with a theme in planning a garden.

  15. I will have to try that food coloring trick! What great tip!

  16. Jessica ~ Cool! Glad that was of help. Are you planning to try coloring some white flowers or dying some roses with black dye/ink? I'd be curious to know how well the ink trick works...

  17. Hey Justine! I've tagged you over on my blog! I hope you don't mind, it's one of those nosey tags but there are some questions there that you will probably enjoy answering! xx

  18. black roses do exist they are from russia and cost around 1500 bucks for a small plant its the reason you dont see them often in america it takes very special breeding and crossing to create a true black on the other hand there are many beautiful dark colored roses and hybrids that hold their own against the solid colored ones ^.^

  19. Aasterinian ~ $1500!? Um... Yeah, that would explain why we don't see much of them. ;) I agree that there are many beautiful dark flowers out there! I like the unique ones.