A Chocolate Garden

— Written By Peg Godwin and last updated by
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Many gardeners enjoy planning and planting themed areas or gardens. These special areas may include an herb garden, vegetable garden, A, B, C garden, rose garden, white garden, shade garden, rain garden, pizza garden, hosta garden, secret garden, children’s garden but how about a chocolate garden.

Does the idea of a chocolate garden intrigue you? Let’s explore what might be in such an interesting place. A chocolate garden might include plants that look and smell like chocolate. There are many plants with chocolate colored foliage, fruit and or berries to consider. The growing conditions are important in any garden. The condition of the soil, amount of sun or shade and the climate need to match the growing needs of the chosen plants.

The first plant we could select for a chocolate garden in our area could be chocolate mint. The leaves of chocolate mint are described by some as having the smell of a chocolate peppermint patty. Like most square stemmed mints, it is very easy to grow and a rapid spreader. Mint prefers full sun but will grow in partial sun. It thrives in moist soil but is a survivor. Planting in a container is advised if you do not want to have it take over a bed. Frequent pinching and division are advised. Clipped stems can be easily rooted to share with other gardeners. The fragrance of the leaves and stems add interest to drinks, desserts, fresh fruit and flower bouquets. Leaves can be easily dried for use at a later time.

Coral bells is a perennial with amazing foliage colors that include green, yellow, pink, red, purple, orange, silver, peach, black and of course chocolate brown. Varieties include:  Heuchera ‘Chocolate Ruffles’ and ‘Dark Chocolate’. The leaves of ‘Chocolate Ruffles’ have crinkled lobes and emerge a dark brown in the spring. The leaf color changes later in the year with the unusual burgundy-purple undersides. Many dainty ivory flowers appear in the late spring to early summer.

Heuchera ‘Dark Chocolate’ forms a dense clump of very dark chocolate purple leaves that are slightly ruffled. Flower buds are pink and open to creamy white flowers. Heucheras make excellent border plants with neat clumps of evergreen foliage. The plants can grow in both full sun or full shade and prefer a moist soil that can be enhanced with mulch. In the south, shade from our summer heat is preferable.

There are other plants to choose from when planting a chocolate garden including Chocolate cosmos and ‘Chocolate Soldier’ columbine as just two more of the many choices.

A chocolate garden could be a delight to the senses and a pleasure to grow. Is there a themed garden you would like to grow?