Garden Bloggers Foliage Day: Textures

IMG_4231This is the third month I have focussed on one particular aspect of foliage for GBFD, hosted by our good friend Christina at My Hesperides Garden. This month’s chosen focus was ‘texture’, but today was one of those days that started out frosty and clear but although temperatures rose a few degrees it just got chillier and damper as the day wore on, the sort of weather  that it is hard to warm up from once you have been exposed to it. Pleased I had braved the slightly improved elements of yesterday afternoon to fill the new raised bed, I remained inside as long as possible and finally began to make a dress I had bought fabric for a year ago, venturing outside only to take foliage photos and thus not giving the task as much attention as I might have done had it been warmer and drier.

Although not strictly foliage, the green addition of moss in the garden on paths and walls and on trees such as the prostrate salix shown above is very welcome with its velvet or, as in this case, furry texture. I bought this in a 3″ pot and it grew happily in the rockery for about 14 years until it was ousted it because it now spanned about 4 feet although only a few inches above the ground (a bit like a stepover apple in terms of shape). It was temporarily replanted in front of the cornus in the new shrub border till I can decide if there is a better location for it.

Also soft and velvety are stachys (this one is S byzantina ‘Big Ears’) and the underside of  hardy annual centaurea C cyanus ‘Black Ball’, one of my autumn sowings, although the latter has more of a brushed cotton rather than velvet feel to it:

GBFD.Feb15.2Fatsia japonica and rhododendron have leathery leaves, as do mature hellebores, but young hellebore foliage feels more like glossy paper (look at those gorgeous jewel like shades on the latter!):

IMG_4242GBFD.Feb15.3Grasses are very individual in their textures, with Luzula nivea‘s softer and hairy leaves, Uncina rubra‘s sharp edges and hooked seed heads later in the year and the tactile strands of Stipa tenuissima that beg you to run your hands through them:

GBFD.Feb15.4Primrose and comfrey leaves have a crêpey texture to them although the larger leaved and more herbaceous comfrey always feel quite bristly to the touch:

GBFD.Feb15.1Closer inspection of or touching leaves may show details you wouldn’t notice in passing like the ribbed feel of this Asplenium scolopendrium arising from the spores on the underside of the leaves, or the hairs on the reverse of geums:

GBFD.Feb15.5It’s an interesting exercise to carry out and I am grateful to Christina for hosting the foliage day that instigated this investigation – do visit her blog to view more foliage posts, and have a look in your own garden for different textures but choose a more amenable day to do so! Completing my textured collection today is the ubiquitous ivy – always glossy, even when it isn’t raining:


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30 Responses to Garden Bloggers Foliage Day: Textures

  1. rusty duck says:

    Bravo Cathy. A great post, making the best of what February has thrown at us. You can go and warm up now 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Jessica – I am not always put off by the weather, and it’s not as if it was very wet wet, just the combination of damp and cold and a bit of a breeze…brrr!

  2. You have a fabulous selection of foliage there and I commend you for braving the cold to get the photos! Your Asplenium scolopendrium is particularly interesting.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Lee. It’s my favourite fern, and all of my ferns started from ones in 3″ pots and have grown and are seeding themselves around, which I love to see.

  3. Pauline says:

    Wasn’t today dreadful with non stop rain all day. I love all the textures that you have, so many invite a stroke or two! It’s interesting that the two sides of a leaf can have such different textures top and bottom, nature is so clever!

    • Cathy says:

      I don’t think our rain was ever very heavy Pauline, but conditions were just not conducive to going outside! I am sure there will be reasons for some of the textures – like attracting or repelling insects or predators, and perhaps humans disperse seeds when we stroke some of them too!

  4. rickii says:

    Texture is so important and often overlooked. Great subject for a post.

  5. susan troccolo says:

    It is very interesting to see the difference between new hellebore foliage and old. It deteriorates so rapidly and looks like you-know-what. Beautiful textures you have photographed. Here on the West Coast of the U.S.—even in rainy Portland—our weather is like springtime, so unusual. Warm sunny days! I feel for our friends on the East Coast.

    • Cathy says:

      Young foliage is another thing all together isn’t it? Perhaps that is what I could focus on next month…there is some lovely fresh rose foliage coming through now. Enjoy your warm sunny days while you have them – I think we are on for the sunniest winter ever in our part of the UK, but not many of those days had any warmth in them, not surprisingly.

  6. I love the texture, shapes, and colors; a wonderful response to the focus on foliage.

  7. Amy says:

    A lovely collection, Cathy! I just picked up a very small kalanchoe for the furry – almost suedelike – texture alone (the colour is a bit non-descript). Your post makes me realize how few soft-textured leaves I have in the garden. I’ll have to take a look round tomorrow when I cut flowers for the vase – as long as it isn’t raining too hard… 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      Suedelike – that’s another texture I missed yesterday. Hope you had some dry weather today to look at more textures as well as picking for your vase – we had rain and hail showers after the sunny start 😉

  8. texture was such a good focus – sometimes we need to pick just one thing to make us look really closely at plants. Such lovely images too.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks, that’s why I have gone down the focussed route for the last few months. I was pleased with the images too, and am surprised that I always seem to get better results when I crop my pictures rather than taking photos closer up ps thanks also for visiting my blog

  9. Christina says:

    An excellent thing to focus on Cathy, texture is something often forgotten when planning a garden but a real addition when it happens. Before I went outside to take my photographs (also in the drizzle) I intended writing about shiny foliage, I’m glad I didn’t because you have covered it much better than I would have done. Thank you for joining in GBFD despite the horrible weather it is much appreciated.

  10. Love all this texture cathy…can’t wait to see my foliage greening up again.

    • Cathy says:

      Makes me appreciate how much greenery is retained over winter here – many herbaceous plants don’t lose their leaves at all in milder winters. I do remember harsher winters when I was child though, when trees were without leaves from September to well into May. Hope you won’t have to wait too long for for YOUR greenery, Donna…

  11. Pingback: In A Vase on Monday: The Potential Is Already There | Forest Garden

  12. Anna says:

    Sounds as if your yesterday was better than ours which was snow, sleet and rain filled. I’m quite partial to stroking moss so my hand was stretching out towards that first photo Cathy 🙂 Foliage texture certainly adds another dimension to plants.

    • Cathy says:

      Brrr! We didn’t quite have snow but it felt as if we might – and we had a touch of hail today…not that we need to be competitive about our weather of course!

  13. I’ve long been a convert to the textural qualities of grasses. They are so “touchy-feely”! But they are always improved by planting alongside contrasting textures. Great viewpoint! Moss, is one I wouldn’t have thought about, but you are right! Wasn’t Sunday’s weather downright miserable? This side of the city, the rain was decidedly sleety!

  14. Chloris says:

    What a lovely idea to photograph all your foliage when it is shiny and wet. I love the furry moss.

  15. nice post Cathy, the variety of plant textures seems never ending, Frances

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