Saturday, May 3, 2008

Textures of a Patchwork Quilt

Happy Birthday to Brian! And Mikie!

I have posted about textures before and will continue to post about textures. Textures are a constant consideration when planning gardens for me because you almost always have the constant of textures, whereas color and blooms will not be constant. Form is the only other landscaping principle I focus on when planning gardens, but I don't think form is half as exciting as textures.

Textures come into play not only in the garden, but in our homes. How many people out there think luxury when they think of satin sheets? Now add a nice plush carpet underfoot and a filmy mosquito net around the bed and you have an awesome combination of textures that evoke a romantic feel when one looks at it. The same can be said of textures in the garden. You will get a feeling of something substantial and significant when you effectively blend textures in the garden.

Sometimes the plant alone can provide tremendous texture. This parsley plant is very textural and when you look at it you might think it is frilly and finely cut and a bit lacy. In truth it is not, but when you combine this parsley with something like a canna; which has broad coarse leaves, the parsley will become something entirely different.

Texture is to me how a plant may feel when you look at it. The sedum in the first picture looks strong and sturdy, yet it's many leaves give the impression it might be cushiony and bouncy; which it is. The iris leaves are straight and spiky. They make a very fine impression in any garden and are a staple in mine not only for the flowers, but for the texture of the leaves and the form. When you combine the texture of sedum with the iris you get a patchwork like effect that is comforting. The garden is all green and filled in, and the varying textures ensures it is not boring!

Daylillies and lamb ears are two more staples of my garden. These easy to grow and care for perennials ask for practically nothing in return for all season texture and filler duties. As a bonus, both plants flower prolifically. Watch out for the lambs ear though as it does self seed itself around, unbeknownst to me when I first began gardening. Here these two are paired with my one and only Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana Gracilis'. I love this genus of woody evergreen shrubs but have not had much luck with it. Hence, my one and only. This particular cultivar should stay small and grows slowly. Perhaps that is why I am a bit disappointed with it as it seems like it doesn't grow at all! But it does have good texture and great color. The combination of its dark fine foliage paired with the lambs ear gives a good contrast in the garden.

Lambs ear is soft and fuzzy, as evidenced by the white hairs all along the leaves. I often insist children touch the lambs ears for a learning experience. It really does feel like ears! Not sure about lamb's ears because I can't say I have felt them, but my dog's ears are soft and furry like the lamb's ear plant. Here it is combined with 'Drumstick' alliums, aka Allium sphaerocephalum. The alliums hold their own against the evergreen lambs ears and seem to do well here. The textures are very contrasting. When the drumstick alliums bloom the purple color above the gray/silver of the lamb's ear will be an added bonus.

I wish I could say I completely and thoughtfully plan my gardens for contrast, but I can't. Most of the time the contrasting textures and colors are by accident. Nice accidents indeed, but there are the contrasts that don't work well either. Some that come to mind might be spireas next to beautyberries. Since both shrubs have small leaves the effect of the individual plants would be lost without a complementary and contrasting plant close by. Textures are important to a garden and taking the time to plan for them can be fun! Just like snuggling under a good soft patchwork quilt on a cold and rainy day.

in the garden....


  1. Oh my, I am glad I am not the only one who planted lamb's ear and didn't know about it...I had it growing everywhere. I finally got all of the stray dug up and gave it to other unsuspecting souls...hehehe.

  2. Good morning --very pretty --the lambs ear are so soft looking. Dropped off boys at the Craft Fair to help out --they had some nice stuff from the little bit I saw this morning. Our area is having a yard sale so I have to check out that with the girl model. Have a great day!

  3. Who is Mikie? It is also Stevie's birthday.

  4. Happy Birthday to all the birthday people!!!

    I have been looking at the lambs ear. Since I like things that return or reseed, I may pick up a couple after reading this posting. I like the way you have the Ear and Drumsticks together! Neat idea....

  5. Jillybean-the unsuspecting souls will thank you for the lamb's ear as I ACTUALLY had to buy mine. boo hoo!

    Anonymous, There is a gardener "extraordinare" selling plants at the Sango Craft Fair this morning. You should say hi to her-Lucy. Great gardens and plants! Hope the boys have fun and the rain is delicious!

    Mom, Mikie is Sarah's husband. She is a blog reader and since it doesn't cost me any more money to wish folks happy birthday-the more the merrier. I'll call Brian today and personally wish him happy b-day too.

    Skeeter-Don't DARE buy lambs ears! I'll pot some up for you and have them ready when you come back. I am still sore I had to buy mine when gardeners generally have tons of it! I looked at the ginormous lantana you brought up here from your garden and it has new growth! The cuttings are blooming.

  6. Hello Everyone, Happy Birthday to all that have a special day today.
    I like the quilt effect in the garden--it sounds nice & cozy. I like Lamb's Ear but haven't found it here yet. Maybe looking in wrong places. Like Wally-World. Did pick up some more bulbs last evening--on SALE, Canna & such. Did get a Eucalyptus plant which I've always wanted. I read somewhere if you keep it in your house you won't be bothered with bugs. They don't like the oil that is in the plant. The oil is also what makes it smell. I have it in LR & my BR & I'm not bothered with bugs.

    Anonymous I'm glad it doesn't cost you all to have a yard sale. Just found out that you have to buy a permit of 25.00 & can only have a sale 2 times a yr. only on Fri. & Sat.That is in City Limits of Course. What started the enforcement of this law was a family was having a yard sale to help a lady that had just lost her husband to keep her lights on & a little food on the table. Well a NOSY neighbor called & reported that the cars was all over her yard ruining her lawn & such. YOU CAN'T EVEN TRY TO HELP ANYONE IN NEED ANYMORE.

  7. Lola, I got the pineapple lily planted you sent. Hope it does well. My caladiums are sad, so sad. Skeeter-your's ok? Lola, I am going to send out your little box on Monday, would you like me to put some lamb's ears in it? I am not sure if they would make it but it might be worth a try.

  8. Hi Lola -sorry to hear you have to pay for a yard sale in Florida. It is a shame when others try to help and someone makes a big deal:(

    The sale in our subdivision was minimal --not sure why --we walked all around and met some nice people though:) Sidekick, girl model and myself. The older two are still at the Craft Fair --they have to help clean up now.

    Nice windy day today --water is too murky to take the boat out on the lake --from last nights storms.
    I need to grocery shop --it is one of my least favorite things, lol.

    Hi Tina, I forgot to look for Lucy at the craft fair --I did go out and bought the girl some cute lacy socks, a marshmallow shooter for sidekick and a nice wooden plaque of a dashchund (my brother loves his doggie and I got it for him to hang in his room).

    Better get going --see you all later --I have about 20 iris open now --still all yellow but WOW the neighbor has some really different looking ones --dark purple with pretty white streaks in them --

  9. I took a double take at the birthday wish too! Said to myself, by god, she didn't spell that right! Happy B-day to all.
    Is lambs ear the same thing as pearly everlasting? Blooms a dried looking white bud flower? Used for potpouri?
    Going to look up info on a new/old doll, later.

  10. Hi Anonymous, Did you by chance give away all the toys today at the yard sale?:) I bet you bought some more for them! I hope it was nice. A bit chilly and windy though.

    Dawn, I don't think lamb's ear is the same as pearly everlasting at all. I think pearly everlasting is in the gysophilia family and lambs ear is stachysis (sp). Totally different. Not sure if it grows up there but I would expect it to. Anyhow, family night tonight. We got about 4 inches of rain in my neck of the woods! How great is that??

  11. Forgot to say, I am slowly STILL uploading pictures lost in the switch over. It is coming along great. For some of you contributors I may not have all the pics you sent me. Skeeter and Lola's pics especially. Skeeter, if you get a chance, look at the posts I did on the wrens and the whimsy in the garden. I don't have those pics for sure. Either send them to me or upload them if you have time since you have access. Thanks! There are so many posts and so many pics it takes time, all the while I am still posting which takes more time!

  12. People around here must be calling evening primrose, lambs ear. I have pearly everlast and primrose looks close to lambs ear until it blooms. I keep wondering what lambs ear flower is....I don't think it grows here.
    Nikki and her majorette team took first place in the states today, she also passed her compulsories (sp) in class c, can move onto class b which has harder tosses and twirls. Talk about a giantgantic stab in the heart! She didn't even notice though,that I was with Zack. She didn't like it but, because 2 sets of 2 siblings, moms did not go, she felt prestene! Besides she was too giddy to be with her gal pals.
    Rain again tom., sure wish it would warm up though.
    Tina, have trilluim coming up, want a post? Maybe in a few weeks, ones behind the other, being a later bloomer.

  13. Tina, that would be great. Maybe I can get a start of the Lamb's Ear here. Maybe if I put it in a pot.
    Glad you got the rain--it does help a lot this time of yr.
    Hope no one had any damage from the storms.
    My caladuims that were in the ground are doing fine. Some in pots too, but the ones that I just put out aren't showing their heads yet. Don't understand.

    Will send you pics to replace ones you lost. If I miss any let me know.

  14. Big day in the yard and completed several phases of projects. Two trips to Lowes for Pea Gravel and did not get plants but sure was glaring at them as we bounced around looking for this and that....

    Tina, I dont think I will be able to bring back any plants with me! We will be in the new car and dirt dont go in new cars. Saint would kill me and not in my nature either. We dont eat in the new car. Only drink water! LOL.... But thanks for the offer you are a sweet heart. I am sooooo glad that Lantana survived. I was a bit worried as we did have to chop a root or two and was afraid we may have done too much damage. Funny thing is... The one I removed and gave to you was in the way of my vision for the garden. Then I ended up with a new vision and had to move the other lantana and guess where it ended up? In the hole where I took out the one I gave you!!! How funny is that??? LOL

    Lola, that is so sad about the neighbors complaining when someone is in time of need! I love my grass too but instead of complaining I would be offering my driveway and give them lemonade to sip as they shopped! Some people are soooooo selfish in this all about ME world we seem to be living in now....

    One Cana came up of the 6 I planted and no Caladium as of yet! I still have the packaging and am thinking about taking them out of the ground and taking them back to Wal-Mart! I think they are rejects!

    Anonymous, Glad you and kids had fun today! Sorry no boating but I know all about that as our lake is still not high enough for us to get on it. The ESPN BASS fishing tourney is this weekend as the bass boats can launch more easily then a pontoon. The local Marinas say their best business has been for props the past year. We will not risk hitting bottom as that can be really scary and we did hit the prop once and too much money spent to spend it twice!

    Dawn, Way to go Nikki and Team! I use to stand in front of my mirror as a child and twirl the baton to the record player thinking I was the best in the world! What a funny kid I was... LOL....

    I hope to get the Saint back into the yard with me tomorrow for more fun in the sun. Hopefully we will get some of this rain tonight but so far, it has past us by but on a good note, was able to get things done in the yard today!

    Tina, I will have to figure out which pictures you need....

  15. Such a nice day today -you all were busy in your yards. It was cool and windy but turned out to be a great day. Congratulations Dawn on Nikki placing at states --that is a MAJOR accomplishment and something to be very, very proud of!!! Way to go Nikki:0)

    Hi Tina --I think you had way more rain than me --my yard was a wee bit soggy but we didn't have any flooding out on the side road so I know it wasn't too bad. If it rains too much we get the overflow into the backyard since the ditch they have is so small. We only bought two more toys today, lol. But, I did get rid of a BUNCH:)

    Hi Jean, Nina and Lola --hope you gals are having a great weekend.

    Hi Skeeter --you make me tired when I read your posts --you are like the little energizer bunny --always going, going -and going. I think you and sidekick would really hit it off great --he has those same traits:0)

    Hoping for a nice day tomorrow --the usual church and Sunday School but afterwards maybe some quality time weeding the yard:)
    See you all later! And, least I forget to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY Brian and Mikie --hope you had a wonderful birthday!

  16. Dawn, I will surely post a pic of the lambs ear flowers when they bloom. I actually really like the purple bloom and usually leave mine on. Some gardeners cut them down.

    By all means, prepare a post on trilliums and let me know when you want to post it. All days free except Sunday. I would love to see the trilliums. Christine is also going to work a wildflower post in sometime.

    Congrats to Nickki and her team!!!

    Lola, I got the pics and thanks! I am SLOWLY, and I mean SLOWLY uploading and adjusting them all. I am not sure where the time goes. When I started this blog I could prepare a bunch of posts and edit them as I went along, now I seem to barely get the pics uploaded, forget about editing them. A bit stressful for me because I need to edit things alot before I am happy with them. I like the rose pics and would like for you to send me a story to go along with the rose pics. I know your sister gave you one, I can then prepare a post. I will enclose some lamb's ears for you. I knew there was a reason I never got your stone mailed besides procrastinating and working in the garden. :)

    Skeeter, You know what it means when you move plants don't you? That you are a real gardener! At least that is my common thought. No gardener can be happy planting a plant just once. A friend of mine is kind of awed I keep moving stuff too! Of course, it could be I just don't know what I am doing the first time??? No, it is the sign of a gardener and maybe I am not planning properly. In your case, your vision changed. That is funny.

    If you change your mind on the lambs ears, I can package them up in a nice bunch of walmart bags and make sure no dirt gets on that pretty pretty impala. Just let me know. No hurry as lambs ear is easy. You can even take some sprigs and put them in a ziploc bag with no soil. That would work? Would love to share. I love lambs ear and even like the offspring.

    Mom, you have been quiet today. Maybe you are in the garden? No, I don't think so since it is so cold and rainy up there. Hope all is fine. That's right, you had the game today and the memorial tomorrow. g'night all.

  17. Hi Skeeter --sorry I missed the post about what type of aloe you use. I'm guessing as long as it works it's all good. I forgot your kitty cats would eat plants. Probably the very same reason I don't have any plants inside --well except one peace plant that FINALLY got a flower on it when I put it out on the deck:) (my kiddies) LOL
    Hi Lola --your ggs will be so close to us when he comes up this way. You will have to let us know if you come up this way too --I have 4 kiddos that would be great company for those little guys:) And, a backyard just ready for a bunch of little people to run all over.
    Hi Tina --hope you got all your housework done --I tend to let mine slide on the weekends but pick it back up on Monday when the big kiddos are off to school. Yes, it does bother me when I don't vacuum --and my crumb droppers could feed another family with the amount they drop. Now, dust that really doesn't upset me --smudgie windows --ACK!!! Although my mom says I will miss those in a few years --she loves to come to my house to see smudgie windows --okay maybe not but she thinks they look cute --
    Boy number one is practicing piano now --it sounds very good --better let him know it's bed time:) Ciao!

  18. Dawn lambs ear has a small flower and is sorta a cross between purple and pink and like Tina said the leaves are fuzzy and a green/silver color and spreads well (I never minded spreaders, just yank em out if you don't want them). It can grow to a foot or 2 but stays fairly slender It does grow up here and does well and comes back every year. Nana and I both grew it.

    Good job for Nikki and her team!!!
    Maybe now she will wanna go to the one on the 17th.

    Skeeter that is funny cause I used to do the same thing in the mirror and I also thought I was the best. That is really sad cause I now know I sucked!! I musta had a big ego!!

    Some lambs ear wrapped in a damp paper towel in a zip lock bag would never harm a new car or anything else.

    Ya quiet today as I went to the game and then did a little shopping. Went to Brooks Farm and Feed and got my veggie seeds. Hope to get everything planted this coming week. Most of the seeds I started inside are a foot and half high. Will be so so so darn happy to get them outta the house. I almost bought some Sweet William at Brooks but it was raining and they were outside and did'nt have a color on it so I said the heck with it and went inside. And anyway I was trying to hurry as I had to pee soooo bad. But now I could kick myself for not getting some.

    It was a pretty ride to town. The Forsythias are so bright this year. Funny how some years are just more brilliant than other years. DD'S, Tulips, Magnollia Trees and Rhodies all over the place.

    Sounds like everyone else had a very good day also. :)

  19. Mom, did you see the forsythias at the crossway from the overpass? Oh my gosh, hubby and I were commenting to each other how awful ours around here look, yellow on the bottom only.

  20. Maybe all that snow you guys had hindered the forsythias, cause they are just so gorgeouse around here this year.

  21. I fail with this one almost completely! Really....I moved all the original day lilies to a bed in front and it transitions quickly to green...I have added more perennials but it isn't there yet.


  22. Oooh! Don't forget the velvet curtains and silk bedspread. Textures are wonderful. I have lamb's ear in my garden too.