Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Winter Gardening: Texture (Part 4)

Texture and color are pretty much self explanatory. Texture is what a viewer sees depending on how the plant or hardscaping is put together. It has nothing to do with the size or shape of the plant or hardscaping, but everything to do with the way the viewer thinks the plant or hardscape feels if touched.

The first picture shows a few different textures while also serving as a good picture to demonstrate how structure and form are also at play in this garden. The fence is structure which as an up and down form. The texture of the fence would appear to be smooth and somewhat weathered due to the variation of color. The texture of the chain link fencing in the background would appear to be light and airy and not substantial at all.

The two main shrubs in this garden are Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica) and Hicksii Yew (Taxus media). The heavenly bamboo would seem to be not as substantial as the yews, and much more touchable. The yews are more like the wood fence, subdued, somewhat smooth and solid. Evidence the yews are more solid and substantial than the heavenly bamboo can be found when we see the snow rests easily upon the yew branches, but not on the nandina. You can just see the large Columnar Juniper behind the chain link fencing. While the texture and color of the juniper is similar to that of the yews, snow does not stick to the juniper branches; thus we perceive its texture to be different. Different textures helps us to differentiate amongst different things in the garden and is important in all seasons.

The second picture shows a Dwarf Alberta Spruce in front of the same chain link fence as in the above picture. In this picture you can see a substantial arbor made of large timbers and lattice panels (more on the Wisteria/Privacy Arbor in a later post). Here we have many different textures. The texture of the Alberta spruce is not unlike the that of the yews above, however, the form is different. It is more in the form of a Christmas tree rather than the squat, round and open form of the yews. The chain link still seems to be airy but has more substance to it. We can now see each privacy strip with ease, whereas in the above picture it appeared the green on the chain link was a film of some sort. The arbor in the background may intrique us and pull us in for a closer view. Clearly the white panels are lattice, but from this distance and angle they look almost like solid pieces of wood painted white.

Texture is a key element in any good garden design. It is the one constant of both plant material and hardscaping which you can rely on not changing much. Texture on a young nandina or old nandina will still be the same. Texture does not rely on color, flowers, structure, or form of the item. Everything has texture and the key to making it interesting in the wintertime is to combine interesting textures with one another to make a pleasing juxtoposition.

in the garden....


  1. Good Morning to all

    Tina, you did'nt mention how the whoopie pies went over last night. Hope you had a good time as I am sure you did. Love ya

  2. Good Morning to all

    Tina, you did'nt mention how the whoopie pies went over last night. Hope you had a good time as I am sure you did. Love ya

  3. Jean, turn up the heat, you are stuttering this morning! LOL...

    Just what are Whoopie Pies?
    Never heard of them and I am about to Overdose on Christmas sweets but just have to know what they are...
    Have you had the Tennessee Tipsy cakes? They are yum-o but oh so pricey…

  4. Whoopie pies went over good. I took about 20+ and there were six left when I departed the party and the party wasn't over. Hopefully Diann got some. My strategy to find some northerners (who recognized whoopie pies) and get them into a conversation didn't work though. There were so many people there that an icebreaker really wasn't necessary.

    Skeeter, Whoopie pies are a northern treat and life in Maine just wouldn't be as good without them! They are basically two chocolate cake type cookies with icing (buttercream type) in between the cookies. The whole effect is one you will never forget and brings back very fond memories for most. I made a bunch and took some to a friend (Celeste, who ironically makes them herself) and would've surely shared with you had you been in town. Let me know next time you come and I will try to bake some. The name "Whoopie" pies gets people to thinking I am sure. They are great to eat and hope those who ate them yesterday enjoyed them-not a one was burned!

  5. LOL I am plenty warm but it would not go in for me and then went 2x. Darn is great but sometimes u wanna and i guess I do swear at it. Also sometimes I have the box to check for an email when there is another comment and sometimes I don't. Makes me swear over that also
    Today it was not there. Maddening.

    Don't think I ever had that cake before but it sounds very interesting. Will have to find some when we go down to Tina,s next winter.

    As my family knows I used to call Brian (Tina's oldest son (3rd child) "Big Guy". But I also called him the whoopie pie kid. He sure loved em. All the different stuff I would have in the house and he always chose the w. pie for desert or after school snack. ALWAYS!! I made some for him after they moved here. He still loves em.

    Tina, it is more like old fashion boiled frosting. Don't even use butter in it. But I can't seem to find another way to explain it either except the old fashion boiled frosting. However you explain them, there is "Whoopie" in them! LOL. Guess there is more than one kinda whoopie. That reminds me of another story.....How many grandmothers have gone in a sex toy store with there granddaughters in Germany. Well this ole granny did!!!

  6. Skeeter, I have never heard of a Tennessee Tipsy cake. Sounds very intriquing...

    Mom, let's not get to talking about whoopie on here-remember it is a garden blog. Just kidding.

    btw. i used no butter in the whoopie pies-only good ole shortening but the recipe I used did call for buttermilk. they are almost all gone. all but two for Jimmy, who has a sore throat and not feeling well...

  7. Oh, no, hope he feels better. Christy and Josh have been sick also. Josh has had a lotta colds, it might be his teeth. He seems to have a really hard time with the teeth. This last time he had bronchitis. Please tell Jimmy I love him and get well soon. Love ya

  8. Youuu guys are too funny, maybe the whoopie in whoopie pie stands for the "pad" you get from them, not the "cushion",the pad. Mine keeps following me around, I just look over either shoulder and DOWN! Not talking about my shadow either. All relative I guess. Kinda like the sound of Skeeters cake though...hic-cup, just kidding, just kidding, but....wondering...awwhh! Tenn. doesn"t need to stay THAT warm.
    Hope Jimmy feels better, nothing worse than getting sick while out of school and when its cold. BTW Mom we have a total of 22", I went and measured just for you. Up here, NO bare ground until at least April and thats spotty bare ground.
    Warming up to 40 next week, my trim on the house is planned for then. Jack of all trades called electrician today and threatened his voicemail with getting someone else. Amazing for anyone who knows him, Ha! Told him I was going to call tom. and that I'm starting to get not so nice about it. After all got Kero delivered (wanted to leave that behind by now) a 125 gallon tank that took 115 gallons set me back $380! out-rag-ous!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Golly we do not have that much, probably a total of 8 inches. You are so sweet to go and measure it!!!! Don't you have a snowman or something that I gave you? Oh guess it was not quite that high. Well you are in ski country so the ski lodges can't yell about their proverty this year and get Uncle Sam to give em money. Too bad, so sad.

    Now that was funny Dawn but you have a good point....guess I'll go get one, think I have few left in the back fridge.

  10. Actually the Tennessee Tipsy cakes are Jack Daniels Tipsy Cakes. They are soaked in Jack and yum-0 but oh so rich.... You can usually find them at any TN Cracker Barrel store or Opryland hotel gift shops or Lynchburg of course....

    The whoopie cakes sound yummy and I will remember you said you will bake me some the next time I am in TN Tina! I forget some things but food I never forget, I have the hips to prove it! LOL

    Wow, 22 inches of snow! I would not know what to do... And to think I was moaning about going out in the cold wind to walk the dog this morning! HA it was warm here compared to 22 inches of snow!

    Tina, the plant on the front porch finally bit the dust! Got in the low 20's last night but the fern is still hanging in there....

    I spotted a snowball bloom on the island bush and a small amount of white on the camellia bush but most of the blooms are gone now... should be warm again by the weekend with 60’ish temps…

  11. Skeeter, that cake sounds like it might go down easier with a dessert behind it, have to try it sometime, anything with the intial J and D, gotta be good in my book. And I don't really mined the snow, if my mom watched the new tonight she'd seen how some residents had it blowing up and on their windows. Its blown up and onto the side of my suv and is still there even after being moved for plowing, it is real pretty when it's the fluffy sticky kind, besides I would be unemployed if it weren't for the cold.
    Mom, that was mean! made me hungry for one when I read that, luckily hubby brought home chocolate cake and I didn't mention a thing, guess he's tired of the kids c/o no snacks since I haven"t food shopped yet, Every day I get a chance it snows, oh well plenty of health food. Yes, you gave me a measuring snowman, its on the micky table waiting to be installed and I plan on putting it a few feet higher, would get a better view from the house as I was it hung on the split rail.
    Tina, while looking for the loganberries I found a wonderful site, its the violet barn. Most things are related to african violets, but since I need house plants, I was looking for one I'd had before..its Episcea of the chocolate kind (again with the sweets!) Most all his plant are 5$ and they will ship now if you add 5$ for a heat pack. (i'll wait). This plant is gorgeous, has salem violets, silver brown hairy leaves, and trails-in bunches on the vine, check it out. Mine grew easy and was well worth it.

  12. Hey guys,You all are doing so great talking I don't even need to get in here. People love reading the comments more than the posts probably (and not only my mom).

    Anyhow, I got the pad thing Dawn. Who doesn't know about pads? That is why I only make whoopie pies about two times a year. The next time will be when Skeeter lets me know she is coming! She can take some to the pet people and see if they want some "pads".

    I figured Tennessee "Tipsy" cake had something to do with Jack Daniels or Lynchburg lemonade-are they the same thing? Shows how much I know. I am not sure I could eat it if it has alcohol. I am a real priss like that-gag on just the smell of alcohol.

    Plant finally bit the dust? It is cold so I can imagine. My pond about froze solid. I don't like it so cold but will warm up soon. Not like in Maine-like Dawn says, snow comes and stays for several months-see why I live in the south?! I can still kind of garden (once the soil thaws out:))

    I will check out that website Dawn, but I am so NOT into houseplants though I have a few. My cyclamen Skeeter gave me is hanging in there. Mostly philodendrons, pothos and spider plants. I throw them outside as soon as I can. They make great porch plants. The ferns are under ths house. They come out in spring too. Maybe some of the readers will like to check out the site. It's violet barn?

    Did a little consulting about shrubs and trees today. It is a challenge looking at bare plants but I found I knew most of them. A friend in garden club has a new house she wanted some advice. Next week I go to Sandy's to check out her place for the backyard. We have talked on here before about her deck but today we talked in person! Nice lady. Tells it like it is and is clear on what she wants. Now let's see if the designer can measure up? Oh the pressure! Just kidding.

    Dawn, the kids down here don't go back to school until Monday! Long break for them. I think too long. They ended the term before break though so that is good. I think the Jimster squeaked by-again. He might yet see high school! He is feeling better and thanks everyone for the thoughts. Mom, I talked to Christine the other day she sounded good. The baby will be sick on and off for the next 17 years-we old time parents know that!

    I am posting my first choice for "Gardener of the Month" tomorrow. Stay tuned and let's see how it goes. It will different putting people on there other than my family. good night everyone.

  13. Tina, the temp was down to 17 degrees over night! That took out the plant. Dont know why I did not bring it inside because I did bring in the Hibiscus in. Sheba Cat thinks it is for her eating pleasures so I have it locked away in the guest room so what would one more plant be in there to keep it company. Duh, just not thinking I guess....

    I know you dont care for houseplants and I passed one along to you but feel free to pass it along to someone else at a Swap Meet! I just wanted it to find a good home and you can just be a Foster Mommy for now until you find it a forever home. Kind of like we Pet People do with animals... LOL...

    The temps are not too bad because they will not be here for long. They are calling for 60's in two days so I can deal with a couple days of cold stuff...

    Glad Jimmy is feeling better. I have been dealing with a sinus issue for about 3 weeks now. I think I will try to get to bed without medicine tonight as I need to get off the stuff….

  14. Hey Skeeter! It has been brrrr cold here too. I hate it. I also want to say I LOVE my cyclamen and even if I didn't, the fact someone gave it to me makes it very special. I never give away plants or even gifts for that matter, that others have given to me. I am looking forward to it blooming and hope I can do it justice. Talk to you later. Stay warm, only one more day of this.

  15. Mom,
    My phone works sometimes. It is the connection. So that is why it died out. Anyone who has spoken to me knows the frustration of it dying out. But they are not nearly so frustrated as me! A new phone company comes in the 21st. Hopefully that will rectify the situaion.

  16. I knew it was your phone but knew u were ok so did'nt call back. I just called to check on you as you were so late posting today. One time u told me u have about 15 done ahead and had said what u were doing today on yesterday so I got worried. I thought maybe Jimmy got sicker and had to go to the Drs. or you got it. Love ya.

  17. Why Do moms worry so??? LOL
    You are a good mommy Jean....

  18. Thanks, Skeeter. I try to be a good Mommy, my kids mean the world to me but I did'nt always show it.