Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Texture in the Garden

Donna of Garden Walk, Garden Talk has started a regular Word for Wednesday linking party, which is an "exploration of words through pictures, where a word relates to the story in photos." This week Donna has suggested a pairing of two words: "texture and pattern."

I found this week's theme challenging, not because it was a difficult pair of words to define in pictures, but rather because it was way too easy. I simply had too many images! In the end, I decided to divide Donna's theme over two posts. Today, I will focus in on texture.

Texture can be defined as the tactile quality of a surface. 

Textures can vary widely. They can be soft, like the fuzz of a ripe summer peach.

They can be slippery and smooth, like the surface of an icicle in winter.

And they can also be sharp and foreboding, like these frost "thorns" on a branch in the winter.

The garden of Heather Bradley, Mississauga Ontario

In the garden, texture appeals as much to our eyes, as to our sense of touch.

Garden textures have many close friends. Repetition is one of them. A repeated planting is textural.

The green surface of a pond at Lost Horizon Nursery, Acton Ontario

Private garden, Burlington, Ontario

Shape and pattern are also texture's best friends. Here, the repeated shape of these lily pads and their random pattern on the surface of the water is textural.

The soft petals of this spring Ranunculus has the delicate texture of a taffeta party dress. 

Soft textures invite us to touch them. Fine, delicate and smooth are a few of the adjectives we most commonly use to describe soft textures.

The delicate beauty of Annual Fountain Grass in a Brampton Public Park

Perennial Fountain Grass, Brampton Public Park

Soft textured wreaths in a local nursery.

Soft pink astilbe in the Spargette's private garden in Brampton, Ontario. (I wish my Astilbe looked this good! Astible likes to be kept fairly moist. It also prefers morning sun and afternoon shade. Mine gets too much shade and not enough water.) 

The texture of fall grasses can be both soft and feathery. Colin Gosden's garden, Mississauga, Ontario.

Bed and Breakfast Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

In a garden setting, stone textures can be ever bit as aesthetically pleasing as soft textured surfaces.

Coarse textures like stone and weathered wood may be rough and unyielding, but still have uses in the garden.

Soft petalled blooms look even more delicate when contrasted with the rugged, weather-beaten surface of stone.

Cupid's Dart in amongst stones and pebbles in Colin Gosden's garden, Mississauga, Ontario.

Finally, leaves can have textural surfaces all of their own.

New to my garden this summer is Calamintha, Calamintha grandiflora variegata.

Heuchera in the Spargette's private garden in Brampton, Ontario

Heuchera ' Midas Touch', Humber Nursery, Toronto, Ontario. 

Fall hosta in my own garden.

Niagara Botanical Gardens, Niagara Ontario.

In the garden, texture works so closely with its best friends, color, shape, pattern and repetition that it almost becomes indistinguishable. 

But trust me, texture is right in there, quietly performing its magic.

If you are brave enough to endure another picture marathon, I'll put my take on "Pattern" up on Friday.


  1. Your picture illustration of texture is superb! Such gorgeous photos too! I also struggle growing astilbe...I think they don't get enough water either but I keep trying because I love how they look.

  2. I like the colors your are showing. Overhere the weather is beautiful, but cold.
    gr. Marijke

  3. aloha,

    loved all the photos and examples, texture in the garden is everyhwere...i almost wanted to touch all your images to feel the beautiful textures of each plant and scene :)

  4. Such beautiful shots - love the icicles.

  5. You really came out with the textures! Beautiful images of them too. I know just what you mean, it is hard to concisely picture texture because it is all around and so important to the garden and hardscapes of the design. I just stopped working now to see how others pictured the words. You will have a wonderful post on pattern I am certain. And texture often has the use of repetition. I was going to touch on that, but thought that might make another good word for conflicts with GBBD. Repetition is really common in gardens and in design as a useful tool. Next time W4W and GBBD are the same, on Dec. 14, a word that will work for both will be in order.

  6. Lovely textures, and beautiful photos! I think texture is something one must learn to recognize, because as you say, it's quiet.

  7. These are great photos Jennifer! I know I do have texture in the garden but I don't always pay attention to it. I must pay more attention to this next year.


  8. Jennifer girl this was EXPLOSIVE with texture and colour .. I groaned over almost every picture of how beautiful they were .. absolutely gorgeous and made me sick for Spring and summer already .. not fair girl !!
    You paired descriptions with pictures wonderfully .. such as the ranunculus with taffeta and the vision of party dresses and the actual sound of the rustling it makes .. see ? You hit the nail on the head because no description stands on its own .. so many other variables automatically come through the door with it !
    Fantastic job girl : ) I want to see part two !
    And yes .. playing with our pictures gets us through this dreaded long miserable winter eh ?

  9. I just about swooned when I saw the Ranunculus. good enough to eat!

  10. You're right, there's so many wonderful pictures here to look at. I really like the grasses but I think my favourite has to be the frog in the pond. It has the combined texture of water and the repeating green plants, very eye catching.

  11. omg Jennifer ~ what a conglomeration of beautiful textures. I think you hit every season too. Awesome!!

  12. Very well said and illustrated, i learned well from that, as you said texture's best friends are color, shape, pattern and repetition. I hope that sticks into my head. Kidding aside, your photos are really awesome, i wish i myself took them.

  13. Oh, the textures just abound in this post! I loved every image. I laughed when I realized I never mentioned a word about how stones and flowers textures play off each other so well; here I sit with a yard full of rocks and I never made the connection in my post for W4W!

    Love those wreathes in that nursery you have pictured, too.

  14. Hey Lady! You so nailed it! Your photos and their connections to textures were wonderful! I enjoyed the varieties that you used and how each photo gave me a distinct feeling! Great Job!

  15. Awesome Photo's. This was so interesting and beautiful. I have several favorites from this series. Your work is just amazing.

  16. When I scrolled down to the first photo I could actually smell the peaches and it happened again every time I went back--now that's a powerful photo. Excellent illustration of texture, can't wait for pattern.

  17. How beautiful each of these are.
    The detail in the first one is just fantastic!

  18. What a gorgeous post!! I thought the first ranunculus picture was a rose. I love your photo essays. If this is endurance, sign me up! When I was designing my garden makeover this fall, I tried to incorporate elements of texture, pattern, and contrast into my designs. We'll see how it all looks next summer. :o)

    Thanks for your comments on my last post. Quote me anytime!! I'm honored!

  19. beautiful photos. The orange hosta leaf is an interesting capture: when the green fades in fall they can still be beautiful, and you've captured that perfectly.

    Thanks for stopping by Garden Therapy. I'd be happy to have you feature my new pillows in your holiday post. Thanks for asking and please let me know when it's up so I can spread the word.

  20. I sit here, absolutely mesmerised by your beautiful images, Jennifer! Each one is worthy of being blown up and framed. Every visit to your marvellous blog is a treat. Thank you for this visual feast today and I am dying to see what you have in store for us when you demonstrate pattern.

  21. Jennifer impressed as always by the lovely photos. I am in awe.


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