Thursday, December 10, 2009

Scented, Sensuous, Darkly Dramatic! - Chocolate Flower Farm

Whidbey IslandWashington is a gardener's paradise...
And the home base for Chocolate Flower Farm, a unique plant nursery. 
Marie and Bill specialize in dark flowers and foliage,
offering tender specimens & biennials, long-lived perennials & seeds.  
Here's a sampling! Above: 
Nicotiana 'Chocolate Smoke,' this hardy annual is a strain of N. 'Hot Chocolate,' 
developed by Chocolate Flower Farm.
Aquilegia 'Single Black' .. "the little black dress" of Columbines, elegant & simple, yet quite rare.
Photos: Chocolate Flower Farm
Berlandiera lyrata - Chocolate Daisy
Grow in Zones 4 - 10 in full sun: Considered by Marie & Bill to be the best chocolate scent of all. 
A night bloomer, the flowers offer up their cocoa scent in the morning and drop their yellow petals each day.
Dierama 'Cosmos' 
Started last year from seed. It will take 3 years for plants to reach bloom stage. Be patient!
Delphinium 'Kissed By Chocolate'
Elegant white English delphiniums boasting gentle brushes of chocolate over the inky black colorations produced on 
the majority of 'Black Shades' cultivars (now known as 'Chocolate').
Dianthus 'Sooty' -  Chocolate Sweet William
Biennial in Zones 4 - 10: Grow in full sun; an excellent selection for cut flowers.
An all-time fave in my garden!
Click on link below to read one of my San Francisco Chronicle 'Plant Pick' columns, featuring 


  1. Ooooooh delicious! I love that Dierama :o)

    I've been trying my best to grow Aqualegia "Chocolate Soldiers" for a while now, I can't wait for the spring to see if they will actually flower for me.

    RO :o)

  2. Alice:
    The Dianthus 'Sooty' has been a perennial favourite of mine for years but without the sun..... lots of foliage. Must move it this coming season. What an interesting nursery..... I love Nicotiana, so will have to check this one out.

  3. Super gorgeous..decadent colors and atmosphere..ones I love!

  4. Wow, those are beautiful, I love the Chocolate Cosmos. I'll have to check out the nursery....the Columbine & Nicotiana look interesting too.

  5. R O
    I feel the same about the Dierama, sigh....
    Do tell, are you growing the Aquilegia from seed?

    Hi Teza
    Gotta have 'Sooty', but alas, the sunny areas in my garden are lessening at a rapid pace. Drat.

    Divine decadence...& ooh la la atmosphere!

    Check out the nursery's theme gardens. They're an inspiration.

  6. Oh my, I am definitely going to have to cross the border next spring and go visit.


  7. These are great dark flowers. I love the cosmos and the kissed by chocolate really looks like it has. I bet that would be a lovely garden to visit in bloom. I love the nicotiana blooms.

  8. I have visited their shop on Whidbey but never made it out to the nursery. When I first saw their booth at the big garden show here, I thought, huh, that's a flash in the pan, but they have been a growing presence and seem to be doing well! Good for them, cool concept. We love Whidbey Island and try to head up there at least once a year. I have a post about a nursery there that I keep meaning to put up. Thanks for the inspiration and tour!

  9. The Delphinium 'Kissed By Chocolate' is absolutely gorgeous! I have never seen one like this - I am smitten :)

  10. Hi Alice~~ I just spent the better part of a half hour on Chocolate Flower Farm. This is a new one for me. Definitely bookmark worthy. Thank you.

  11. Hi Alice,

    Yes I'm growing the "Chocolate Soldiers" from seed as I've never managed to find them for sale in a nursery. My last garden was full of Aqualegia's happily self seeding all over the place so I thought these chaps would be no trouble but I've found them to be quite temperamental. I have a few healthy plants though so 2010 is the year for them to give me some lovely chocolate scented flowers (otherswise I really will cry!).

    I have chocolate and chocamocha cosmos too, they smell heavenly on a warm summers day. Sooty has also graced my garden for the last few years, so I guess I must be a bit of a chocolate fan ;o)

  12. That's a really neat place. Those flowers are very cool, but I can only imagine how wonderful it smells by the chocolate-scented plants. Mmmmm....

  13. Jen
    Would that we could go together...;-)

    I left out....sultry!!!

    Hi Wendy,
    A special fragrance for our gardens. I'm gaga over these blooms, too.

  14. Hi Karen
    I too, have watched CFF grow and develop. A great notion that's been taken to an exciting place for plant lovers. I wish I could visit Whidbey each year. Lucky you! Thanks for stopping by.

    Garden Ms.
    The Delphinium is new to me, and what an exciting find. I'm smitten, as well!

  15. I planted chocolate cosmos for the first time this year. I love them too - they look great next to bright blue Geranium 'Rozannes' with a chocolately colored Cordyline 'Festival Grass' across the path.

    I like the Dianthus 'Sooty', will have to try that next year.

  16. This is truly a unique nursery with special lovely blooms.

  17. Thanks for the link Alice. I will have to visit. Lovely photos of chocolate fleurs. You always share fascinating places with us. You gotta love that name "Chocolate Flower Farm" Flowers and Chocolate loved the world over by all. Clever! Carol

  18. I would love to try the chocolate columbine and the cosmos. I will have to find an on line source to order from.

  19. I love that dianthus. I love them all, but several will not tolerate our hot summers. I would like to try them though. Thanks for letting us know about this nursery.

  20. I would love to have any or all of these growing in my garden. I think most of all the Dierama. I have been trying unsuccessfully to overwinter them here (I am a bit colder than they like, but I keep hoping). I've grown Chocolate Soldier Aquilegias as well. Very unusual and attractive.

  21. Hi Alice, this is a place of great interest to me, since I have a black garden, so called. It is the dierama that sends wanton lust down my loins, where can seed be obtained? I am willing to wait for it, as all good things come to those that can. :-)

  22. Isn't that aquilegia fantastic! I had Chocolate Cosmos in a container this summer and it was delicious smelling~~Thank you so much for the link to CFF; I see more wonderful plants in my future. gail

  23. I have had Nicotiana in my garden and like it very much, but not 'chocolate smoke'. Beautiful photograph; I'm now putting it on my "must look for" list for next spring.

  24. Grace,
    I felt the same way when I first happened up CFF.

    Thanks so much for filling me in on your seed efforts. Good luck in 2010!
    Sounds like you already have a delectable array.

    CFF would be a great place for a tweet-up / blogger fling!

    Kudos on that showy combo. Would love to see it!

    It's been too long since I've had Nicotiana in my garden, too! 2010 will be the year. Lusting after Chocolate Smoke ;~)

  25. Frances,
    Marie tells me they have a great crop, but plants take 3 years to reach bloom stage. Soooo, your wanton lust must be kept in check for a couple years until this rarity is available.

  26. Kathleen,
    Sorry my replies are all out of order!!
    Do your Aquilegias hybridize with others in your garden? In Chicago I grew various varieties and they were terribly promiscuous babes. I don't see as much of that here in California.

  27. Hi Janie,
    My pleasure! Microclimates are so interesting. Here: dry but intense heat for short periods of time, with cool nights.

  28. Deb,
    Thanks for stopping by to comment. Let me know if you find a good source in your region... Cheers!

  29. Hi Gail,
    These beauties deserve to be in a beautiful garden such as yours!

  30. Carol
    It is near impossible to imagine a more agreeable marriage than chocolate & fleurs!

  31. Heh. Fortunately, I just had a little chocolate BEFORE I read your post, so I don't have a craving for it now...but I sure like that 'Kissed by Chocolate' delphinium! I'll have to look for it this year. I have chocolate foxglove, rodgersia, heuchera, geraniums, and of course Sooty dianthus, which I just love--it bloomed for a long, long time this past summer.

  32. Alice, there is a gorgeous Coreopsis, a "tickseed" we always called it, that blooms and even smells chocolate. I once replaced some unsuccessful perennials around this swimming pool with a mass of these guys and the evenings were all chocolate, lol.

  33. Jodi
    Just knew you'd be my 'chocolate' cohort, lol!!

    Deeelighted to hear about yet another scented specimen to add to the collection. Thanks, buddy!

  34. oh a calorie free delight reading this post. Loved your photos.

  35. The chocolate Cosmos and Nicotiana are out of this world. Wish I had them in my garden

  36. Well, who doesn't like chocolate?

  37. Chocolate on a rainy day! Just what I needed to see. Love the Nicotiana and Dianthus.

  38. Ooooh, I love that 'Kissed By Chocolate' Delphinium! We may just have to bump up our visit to the PNW to a friend's house. I'd love to visit Chocolate Flower Farm!

  39. Hey chocolate lovers!

    Thanks for stopping by to swoon over Chocolate Flower Farm's delicious offerings ;~)

  40. Gothic blooms! :-D

    My father told me my Icelandic grandmother once managed to grow a "black arum lily". Unfortunately very long ago and no one took a photo, which would have ended up sepia print coloured anyway in those days.

    But these dark blooms in your pictures are amazing. Even the white dark centred ones are gothic. Something very strange and otherwordly about dark flowers.

  41. Morning Alice, I love the Chocolate Flower Farm-- get lots of emails from them. There are so many really interesting dark bloomed or foliage plants. Just great!