The Dirt

Texture Extremes: Plant ID’s

Get a dynamic design by pairing the boldest of bold plants with the finest of the fine

“The best gardens are a beautiful blend of color, form, and texture.” This could be the opening line from almost any book on garden design. But what is texture? This question has haunted me since my first days of gardening. It seems like every garden designer I ask has a hard time defining it, as well. Most of us know what it is in theory—but explaining it, and infusing the right amount of it in a landscape, is when things get tricky.

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Photo/Illustration: Danielle Sherry

  1. Mexican feather grass (Nassella tenuissima, Z 6-10)
  2. Lantana (Lantana camara, Z 9-11)
  3. Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii cv., Z 4-9)
  4. Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha, Z 9-11)
  5. Purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’, Z 9-11)
  6. ‘Yellow Wave’ New Zealand flax (Phormium ‘Yellow Wave’, Z 8-11)
  7. Oriental fountain grass (Pennisetum orientale, Z 5-10)

Photo/Illustration: Danielle Sherry

  1. Giant red aeonium (Aeonium ‘Cyclops’, Z  9-11)
  2. White valerian (Centranthus ruber ‘Albus’, Z 5-9)
  3. New Zealand flax (Phormium ‘Dazzler’, Z 8-11)
  4. Chinese fringe flower (Loropetalum chinense cv., Z 7-9)
  5. Festival™ cordyline (Cordyline x ‘JURred’, Z 8-11)

Photo/Illustration: Danielle Sherry

  1. Giant yucca (Yucca elephantipes, Z 9-10)
  2. Mexican feather grass (Nassella tenuissima, Z 6-10)
  3. Black rose (Aeonium arboreum  ‘Zwartkop’, Z 9-11)
  4. ‘Rainbow Warrior’ New Zealand flax (Phormium ‘Rainbow Warrior’, Z 8-11)
  5. Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea cv., Zones 9-11)
  6. Jerusalem sage (Phlomis russeliana, Z 5-9)
  7. ‘Cherokee Chief’ dogwood (Cornus florida ‘Cherokee Chief’, Z 5-9)
  8. Chinese fringe flower (Loropetalum chinense cv., Z 7-9)
  9. ‘Gulf Stream’ heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica ‘Gulf Stream’, Z 6-9)


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  1. user-7008228 08/25/2016

    In the last photo above the plants are numbered 1-10 yet only nine are identified and of those, clearly #7, 8 & 9 are mislabeled and #10 is not named at all.

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