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Layering Plants And Adding Texture To A Landscape

Think now about opportunities to layer more plants in your own landscape next year.

A pond surrounded by a Japanese garden elaborately textured with various plants, flowers, trees and shrubs.

Photo: **Mary**

Gardens such as this Japanese garden are given layers through the strategic use of color and texture.

When we look at a mature landscape we see many layers that provide dimension and depth to the overall pattern. Trees and large bushes offer solidity and varied shapes and foliage types to a garden. Herbaceous perennials and annuals merge with the trees and shrubs and knit them together to form an overall tapestry of form, color and texture.

Ideas for Adding Texture to Landscape

  • There are usually sentinel plants that stand straight and tall and spreading plants with horizontal arms and others that mound and weave.
  • A layer of ground-hugging, large-leaved hostas may circle the base of a tree or may be massed under trees and bushes.
  • Burning bushes, for example, can be limbed-up to accommodate a skirt of hostas to contrast with their vivid red foliage in the fall.
  • Other deciduous or evergreen shrubs, and roses, too, look elegant with low growing plants that creep around their ankles.
  • Try some cranesbill perennial geraniums like the long blooming Rozanne to set off the pink flowers of Clethra or a New Dawn climbing rose.
  • Low-growing catmints with grey foliage are also good companions to creep among tall annuals such as cleome, gladioli and nicotiana.
  • Low bushy or mounded plants are also good company for the pale pink Lycoris lilies with their tall bare stems that give them the common name of Naked Ladies.
Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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