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Posts Tagged ‘Elephant Ear’

Texture is an important element of design

tex·ture [teks-cher], noun

the visual and especially tactile quality of a surface

Now that the weather has evened out it is time to fill in empty spots in your planting beds. Before you rush to the local nursery to pick up the typical flats of Impatiens and Marigolds, consider an alternative way to approach your garden this season. Texture is a commonly overlooked element of design in the landscape.  Most people gravitate towards pops of bright color and showy flowers, but texture can provide just as much interest while providing for a more elegant and restrained feel in the garden.

The first picture is the view outside my apartment window.  The power lines certainly detract from the overall picture but I could spend hours admiring the leaf textures found in this natural hedgerow.  There are a variety of trees including Pines, Sassafras, Maples, and Locusts.  This shows that while a landscape can be monochromatic, it certainly doesn’t lack in interest.  Click for an enlarged image to truly admire the variety!

This Rooftop Garden Uses Texture and Foliage For Interest Instead of Showy Flowers

Plants such as iris can be used to provide vertical lines in the garden and break up a low planting bed .  Grasses provide a soft feel while tropical plants like Elephant Ear or Canna provide bold visual exclamations with their structural habits.  Use plants with finer textures to fill in all the little empty spaces in the garden. Creeping Jenny or Creeping Fig have delicate leaves which provide a good contrast in texture to many cultivated garden plants.

Article and photography by lilyofthevalley for Jeffrey Erb Landscape Design.

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Self-proclaimed landscape designer Julianne Moore charmed us with her quircky expressions and quintessential landscaping outfit in “The Kids Are Alright.” Her indulgent newfound passion was terribly entertaining as she described her vision to her newest client. Moore felt that “more was more” and opted for a “lush and fecund” garden overgrown like a tropical paradise.

Maybe she was channeling her tropical landscape experience from The Lost World (yes I was surprised to remember she was in Jurassic Park 2). Though NYC is in stark contrast to southern California where the little Jade plants we buy in 3″ containers grow into hedges, we can still incorporate a piece of lush paradise into our gardens.

Think of “house plants” as seasonal annuals for outdoors. They offer so much diversity in foliage texture and colors that can kick you landscape up a few notches. With the humudity we get here in NYC during the summer months, tropical plants thrive as long as they have the correct sun/wind exposure. Some of my favorite tropical plants to use in the garden include:

1. Ricinus communis (Castor Bean) I love the size and feel of the palmate leaves. By late summer the plant can grow to over 6′ tall and produces spiny seed pods with a bright red color. It makes quite an impact in the landscape. The seeds of this plant are poisonous and children should be educated about this.

2. Colocasia esculenta (Elephant’s Ear) You can’t go wrong with this one. It is so forgiving and easy to grow. It likes moist soil and can even be grown as an aquatic plant. Don’t let it dry out.

3. Amorphophallus  bulbifer (Voodoo Lily) This unusual plant has a long skinny trunk with white and green spots all over it and a canopy of deep green leaves at the top. Few plants have this kind of form so make it a focal point in the landscape. Read more about the life cycle of this plant here: http://www.rareflora.com/amorphophallusbul.htm

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