Saturday, March 15, 2008

Garden Textures

Yesterday I discussed color in the garden. Today I would like to talk about texture.

When I started to write about this topic, I realized that perhaps I needed to define "texture" to best make my point. The best definition I found was on Web Dictionary: Texture - "the characteristic appearance of a surface having a tactile quality."

Texture on a plant is about the surface of the leaves and flowers. Are they smooth? Are they rough? But the garden as a whole has its own tactile quality. The garden's texture is about leaf shape and size, varying heights of plants AND the actual physical structure of the leaf. All combine together to give the garden its characteristic appearance. The garden's "tactile quality" can be viewed when standing outside viewing the scene in person, but it is even more apparent in a picture. The pictures I've included here are good examples of this. (These pictures, as yesterday's, were taken at Uncanoonuc Mt. Perennials.) The light in the garden weaves through the plants, playing off the different forms and making the textures come alive. In a 2-dimensional photo, the shaded areas give the forms strong shape and highlight their variety. Rocks, petals, grasses, thorny spikes - all add variability in the garden's texture to create interest. the way light plays off of them is of particular interest.

Even a garden with mainly one color can be attractive if you create it with texture in mind. In the green garden in the middle (above) notice how the light weaves in and out of the leaves to create strong shadows. When you add a little color to a very textured scene, the interest value is peeked. Here a little blue increases the appeal of the texture with just a dash of color.

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