Airy plants add space. Fine-textured plants have several functions, including the ability to make a garden feel more spacious by seeming to recede into the background.
Photo/Illustration: Steve Aitken
Walk outside and look around. No doubt your eyes will fall upon at least one fine-textured plant. These plants are often so subtle, so refined, that it’s easy to take their beauty for granted. Ubiquitous, they can sometimes go unnoticed until we see them en masse or on a grand scale. Whether it’s the wispy blades of native grasses; the delicate, lace-cut leaves of ferns; or the feathery foliage of threadleaf bluestar, fine-textured plants demand a closer look.
These plants may not be flashy, but their function in the garden is crucial. They act as a binder among plants, adding grace and elegance to the landscape and accentuating the form and color of more flamboyant, larger-leaved garden beauties. Without them, our gardens would feel visually heavy, overwhelming, and ultimately unappealing. By using a few simple strategies, you, too, can incorporate airy plants into your landscape for a more cohesive look.