Friday, November 18, 2011


It is a good thing that Mother Nature can't hire herself a fancy lawyer and sue mankind for copyright infringement, because we wouldn't have a leg to stand on in court. We have shamelessly appropriated all her best motifs to use in our decorative patterns.

Any such lawsuit would surely end badly for us. There is evidence of our thievery everywhere.

Perhaps our only defence would be that our intent in not malicious.

We revel in the beauty of Nature's creations.

Through time nature has always been a designer's muse.  What is that old expression, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."

Man made patterns are simply repeated decorative designs. 

The size of these man made patterns are generally limited by the method of manufacture. They have a "repeat" where the pattern stops and then restarts. The pattern in this wallpaper that I designed (years ago now) was limited by the 21" metal cylinders that were used to manufacture it and the length of the paper rolls it was printed on. A pattern "match" makes it possible for the wallpaper pattern to appear to be unending.

Zebra Grass

Nature has no such limitations.

She is endlessly creative in her patterning. 

She adorns her creatures with patterned markings to camouflage and protect them. 

Foxglove, Private garden in Mississauga, Ontario.

And she uses patterned markings to attract pollinators to come on in.

Canna Lily in a Brampton, Ontario Park. 

For gardeners, the patterning on leaves can be a great way to add visual interest into an 
otherwise sea of green foliage.

Fallopia Variegata on the left and Fleece Fower, Persicariafiliformis Tovara on the right. Both in a private garden in Brampton, Ontario.

Coleus, Edwards Gardens, Toronto.

 Heuchera 'Berry marmalade'

Heuchera 'Ginger peach'

Spragette, Garden, Brampton, Ontario.

Mixing patterns in a garden can be beautiful. Here the striped pattern of the Japanese Hakone Grass contrasts beautifully with the dainty flowers of Lady's Mantel and a rounded leaf shape of Siebold Sedum.

A mix of hosta with different patterned markings in the garden of Joe and Kathy Covello in Brampton, Ontario. 

Orangey-red Coleus, Geraniums, Variegated Ivy and deep burgundy Oxalis

Add color to a mix of leaf patterns and the effect can be quite stunning.

This post is the second part of my answer to Donna's Word for Wednesday theme: "Texture and Pattern". To see other interesting interpretations of this week's W4W, please click the link: Garden Walk, Garden Talk.


  1. Jennifer, I almost enjoyed this post more than part 1, but that really is at a push! Maybe it's because this one is now so freshly and vividly imprinted on my mind. You are unbelievably talented, both with your artistic eye and your expression. I loved seeing and reading everything you offered today...thank you!

  2. What a lovely post and wonderful examples of pattern! I love the plant combinations in your photos. That sedum is spectacular with the Hakone grass.

  3. Great post - you really made me re-think some of the things I see in the garden! Now, I'm going to be looking for patterns everywhere! :)

  4. Jennifer, You captured the beauty of Nature's Pattern perfectly. I see you have separated Texture and Pattern into 2 different posts and they are both so captivating.

  5. You have really brought the power of pattern to the forefront in these photos.I don't think I've thought of it before..mostly color enhancing or complimenting other color but not so much using pattern in the same way. Thank you for this..will be more observant next year.

  6. Colorful and beautiful. I knew you would WOW us!

  7. Can tell you're an artist. Lovely narrative combining such captivating patterns

  8. Love this second post. Patterns in nature truly amazing..

  9. Lovely pictures. You make me think how important is a good combination of colors in the garden.

  10. You certainly have an eye for pattern. Nature is truly magical and sure she appreciates your flattery. Beautiful.

  11. Thank you for your kind comments! Your post is absolutely beautiful!

  12. You are so right just imagine how dull and depressing our world would be if we were surrounded with grey and bland and had nothing to inspire us

  13. Jennifer, this series of photographs is just wonderful.
    The colors are simply gorgeous!

  14. What a great post. I often think of texture when looking at plants for the garden, but not as much pattern. This has opened my eyes to one more part of garden designing I have been missing. Great photos!

  15. Such beautiful pictures love them and so uplifting

  16. Your beautiful photos really illustrate pattern for me. The second half of the post was as good as the first.

  17. I am sighing with pleasure over this post and the previous one on textures. Nature is truly inspirational. I think even those who live inside concrete jungles, or maybe especially those folks, have an innate desire to surround themselves with patterns and textures that help them feel connected to the earth, even if its on a subconscious level!

  18. Jennifer girl I love the mix and match of these bold colours and patterns : ) they are BEAUTIFUL ! and I have to say I will always be partial to frogs of any colour ? LOL
    Yes .. I think we remember combinations we have seen even years ago that we admired and try to repeat them in our own gardens .. and houses ? LOL .. we don't have snow yet on the ground but already I look out at the browness ? and miss my garden terribly (although I have pockets of green here and there I know they won't last long ! eekk !)
    Lovely colourful post girl !
    Joy : )

  19. Love the combination of the Lady's mantle with the sedum and grass. I may need to make some changes to my garden now that I've seen combination.

  20. That shot of the Spragette garden with all the greens, yellows and blues is very nice. It gives one ideas.

  21. Wonderful photos with gorgeous colours and textures. You have even managed to inspire me to lavish love and attention on my very neglected coleus, first thing tomorrow morning.

  22. Texture, pattern and design at its best. Good to see your Zebra grass, can you believe our Summer this year was so cool the stripes didn't appear.

  23. I think if we look for it there are patterns in every part of life. Children can catch on to these patterns very easily, sometimes we as adults miss this concept or we forget about it. Great post!


  24. This post is a feast for the eyes--simply beautiful! As much as we try, though, we can't compete with Mother Nature; her designs are the most beautiful of all.

  25. How I loved your second installment for W4W. I chuckled when I read it's a good thing Nature can't sue us for infringement. Nothing better than the patterns all around us in the natural world.

  26. I agree Nature has inspired us. She's hard to replicate tho. The second part of your post is just as terrific as the first. I love seeing that little frog! So cute and the photo with the Lady's Mantle is fantastic. I love the plant combinations.


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