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Southeast Gardening: Texture Makes a Garden Great

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Lowe's Southeast regional gardening contributor Linda Askey offers examples of textural shrubs from her garden.

 Oakleaf hydrangea's big leaves
 Dwarf cryptomeria adds a soft visual texture.

Putting big leaves in the garden is like putting potato chips on a sandwich. Both add another dimension of experience. Big leaves add punch; potato chips add crunch. Either way they get your attention.

Bold foliage catches the eye because it is a dominant texture. This is texture to be seen rather than touched. It is the relative size of a plant's leaves compared with its neighbors' foliage.

 Try these shrubs for interesting textures.

Consider boxwood for example. Planted amid mondograss, boxwood foliage's texture could be considered coarser. However, next to a hydrangea boxwood's texture would be finer. Plant all three together and the hydrangea's texture is coarse, the boxwood's is medium, and the mondograss's is fine. It's relative, and having textural contrast keeps the garden interesting whether plants are blooming or not.

 Click on the photo to view the video about texture.

I repeat: It is too easy to focus on big leaves, forgetting that you need smaller ones to make the big ones stand out. It's the contrast that counts.

I use foliage texture in my planting designs to be sure I have interesting plant arrangements that look good all the time. Because I garden where broad-leaf evergreens thrive, a garden can be interesting, even in the dead of winter.

To see some of my favorite shrubs for adding textural interest in the garden, watch my video.