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Garden Photo of the Day

The Ultimate Texture Combo

Succulents and grasses are a pairing that always hits the mark

Today we bring you a series of photos from gardens in the Midwest and California—gardens that feature a unique pairing of succulents with ornamental grasses. It’s hard to imagine a starker pairing of contrasting textures; the grasses with their feathery and fluffy appearance and the succulents with their bold, fleshy look. Planted in concert the combination is both interesting and striking.

'Elijah Blue' blue fescue (Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue', Zones 4-8) has frosty coloring and incredible fine texture, which is highlighted by the coarse and colorful leaves of the nearby assorted aeoniums (Aeonium cvs., Zones 9-11).

The paddlelike leaves of the aeoniums (Aeonium cvs., Zones 9-11) and agave (Agave cv., Zones 9-11) enhance the wispy blades of the Mexican feather grass (Nassella tenuissima, Zones 6-9). The killer form of the large-bladed New Zealand flax (Phorium tenax, Zones 8-11) adds a big more boldness to the scene.

Fine textured grasses, native California shrubs, and even a lacy Japanese maple (Acer palmatum cv., Zones 5-9) set the textural tone while an smattering of aeoniums (Aeonium cvs., Zones 9-11)  and agaves play at their feet (Agave cvs., Zones 9-11).

A plethora of fine textured ground cover sedums (Sedum cvs., Zones 3-19) and hens and chicks (Sempervivum cvs., Zones 4-8) set the stage—along with 'Elijah Blue' blue fescue (Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue', Zones 4-8)—for the boldness of the agaves (Agave cvs., Zones 9-11).  and yucca (Yucca filamentosa, Zones 5-10) to truly shine.

Have a garden you'd like to share? Email 5-10 high-resolution photos (there is no need to reduce photo sizing before sending—simply point, shoot and send the photos our way) and a brief story about your garden to GPOD@taunton.com. Please include where you're located!

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View Comments


  1. frankgreenhalgh 12/26/2017

    Yes interesting contrasts. The scene at the location of pic. 3 would be amazing on a clear day. Cheers from Oz
    PS. Gee whiz, all the current festivities and the eating of excessive amounts of food (gum leaves) have totally exhausted 'me'! !

    1. user-7007498 12/26/2017

      Great picture, Frank. Nice way to spend the afternoon.

    2. DeeinDe 12/26/2017

      Haha! Just the way I feel this morning!!

    3. Maggieat11 12/26/2017

      Love it. Thanks for sharing, Frank!

    4. chelleisdiggin 12/26/2017

      This little guy really made me smile. Thanks, Frank!

    5. user-4691082 12/26/2017

      I want one!

    6. User avater
      meander1 (Michaele ) 12/26/2017

      Uh, oh, what does it say about me and my holiday eating that I very much identify with the relaxed pose of that adorable fellow. Hmm, this could represent pretty much how I feel...

      1. frankgreenhalgh 12/26/2017

        Yep got the same content pose - but the arm of the couch/sofa is a bit more comfortable than the limb of the eucalypt, Michaele.

        1. User avater
          meander1 (Michaele ) 12/26/2017

          It just occurred to me that one of the advantages of having the seasons flipped during these eating heavy holidays is that you don't have to bundle up (and feel even fatter) to go outside. You can go out to do gardening tasks or vigorous fishing (reeling in some of those big ones has to use up calories) and feel justified in eating some more!

          1. frankgreenhalgh 12/26/2017

            Good point about the clothes, but a nana nap occurs with me before going outside for the usual cricket match with the family - it is serious stuff so I have to be on my game!

      2. Meelianthus 12/26/2017

        I think your kitty needs a 'New Years' diet ! ;)

    7. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 12/26/2017

      Doesn't take a holiday to get me feeling this way, Frank!
      Great photo. Thanks.

    8. Meelianthus 12/26/2017

      Did your grandchild leave his stuffed bear in the tree? ;) So precious.

  2. sithanthialfred 12/26/2017

    Every bit of your garden is artistic delight,loved the uncommon combinations of grass and succulents!

  3. Maggieat11 12/26/2017

    Great photos of some wonderful contrasting plants.

  4. chelleisdiggin 12/26/2017

    I love agaves! Doesn't fit with my lifelong midwestern climate but they captivate me. The photos today feel like a Christmas gift.

  5. User avater
    meander1 (Michaele ) 12/26/2017

    It's always so fascinating to me to see succulents (like agaves and aeoniums) thriving in a zone they are meant to grow in. The pictured combinations above are beautiful and inspiring. Speaking of being "inspired", I have Cherry Ong (Perennially Crazy) to thank for the idea of putting cranberries on the sharp tips of an agave that is spending the winter indoors.

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 12/26/2017

      Cranberry-bedazzled Blue Glow? Charming!

    2. Meelianthus 12/26/2017

      So clever and so VERY cute. Happy Holidays Michaela.

      1. User avater
        meander1 (Michaele ) 12/26/2017

        All thanks to Cherry for leading the way and showing how even an Agave can wear some holiday finery!

  6. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 12/26/2017

    Great photos and amazing textures. I love Aeoniums and was recently drooling over mine, all hidden in the basement under fluorescent lights. They're stunning right now, but I have to go to the basement and push grow lights out of the way to even see them. They are less than stellar outdoors in my summer as they begin to go dormant. I need a greenhouse!

    1. User avater
      meander1 (Michaele ) 12/26/2017

      Yes, you do...start a GoFundMe page with a compelling enough story and watch the donations roll in.
      Your wintered over succulents are lucky that you care enough to give them grow lights. Mine are getting long and straggly from the light provided by a window. The location the agave is in is an exception and it doesn't look to be struggling...shhh, don't tell the others but I love it best.

  7. User avater
    Vel Rhodes 12/26/2017

    Absolutely love the photos! I'm a real lover and collector of grasses and succulents as well but unfortunately have to keep the succulents in pots as I live in a zone 7 with a lot of rainfall in the colder months.

  8. user-6536305 12/27/2017

    Your succulents collection is beautiful and they combined really well with the grasses. You are a true artist in term of plant combination. Also, thanks for the botanical names of succulents and grasses and zones. Thanks for sharing and happy new year!

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