Texture in the Garden
By LMG Calla Victoria
Of course we look for color and fragrance when planning a garden, but texture is an important design element that we must always include to round out garden interest. Texture in the garden is achieved by introducing different kinds of foliage to your garden. Unusual shaped leaves like the Poor Man’s Parasol (Gunnera insignis) with its huge sandpaper-like leaves and scarlet branches definitely command attention. Some grasses like the Egyptian papyrus (Cyperus papyrus), which the first paper was made from, add a soft wispiness to the garden while other grasses like bamboo and sugarcane add cylindrical interest, structure and sound. Juniper ground covers add a layer of fluffiness in the landscape while cactus and succulents can add texture, color, and sculptural interest in the garden. Cockscomb (Celosia argentea), also known as the wool flower; is one of those plants that gives you a 4-fer for your money providing velvety texture, vibrant color in the bloom, contrasting striking color in its chartreuse foliage, as well as the unusual shaped blooms that resembles the comb on a rooster’s head.
Other plants that add textural interest in the garden include the Mimosa tree Albizia julibrissin (Persian silk tree, pink silk tree) with its small leaves on linear stems and the powder puffy blooms that add texture and whimsy. The puckered leaf varieties of hostas are a great inexpensive texture tool for the garden, also the very popular Lambs Ear, so named for its fuzzy texture. Sedums, Kalanchoe, and other broad leafed succulents like Jade and Hens & Chicks (Sempervivum tectorum), have waxed-like foliage that add a smooth texture to the garden. While succulents like the Aloe cameronii with curvy spiny foliage, crimson hues, and chandelier shaped orange blooms; brings drama, drama, drama to the landscape.
Of course we cannot discuss texture without including the Foxtail Fern (Asparagus densiflorus var. meyeri), a type of asparagus fern rather than a true fern, a great little textured jewel to enhance any garden room. This unusual evergreen fern's long tapered plume-like stems resemble a fox’s tail. On your next trip to your favorite garden center think texture when making your plant selections.
This article was published in the August 2, 2014 edition of Data News Weekly.
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