Yesterday, I wrote about using texture in your garden. If you’re like most gardeners, many of the plants in your garden are medium texture plants. That’s fine, but to make your garden sing, you need to add some Drama Queens. Some of the bold texture plants that just seem to grab attention no matter where they’re planted.
To get you started thinking about adding bold texture to your garden, here are a few easy-to-combine Drama Queens…
Trees & Shrubs for Bold Texture
Aesculus parviflora (Bottlebrush buckeye): This native shrub with large palmate leaves sports even bigger white flower panicles in the summer. A hummingbird favorite, bottlebush buckeye likes moist soil and thrives in full sun – part shade. Hardy in zones 4 – 8.
Hydrangea quercifolia (Oakleaf hydrangea): Even if oakleaf hydrangea never flowered, it would still deserve a place in your garden. Huge, hairy dull green leaves, shaped like, you guessed it - oak leaves, turn the most amazing shades of red and purple in the fall. A great woodland plant, oakleaf hydrangea like moist, acidic, rich soil and flowers even in fairly dense shade. Hardy in zones 5 – 8.
Rhododendron maximum (Rosebay rhododendron): With so many rhododendron cultivars available, it’s easy to forget about this humble species, native to Connecticut and much of the eastern US. A useful evergreen for a privacy screen (it can get 15′ tall), rosebay rhodi has pale pink flowers in July, long after other rhododendrons have put on their show. Rosebay rhodi is also an excellent plant for attracting wildlife. Hardy in zones 4 – 8.
Perennials & Annuals for Bold Texture
Alchemilla mollis (Lady’s mantle): Lady’s mantle is a fantastic front-of-the-border foliage plant. Leaves are round, pleated and look like upside-down umbrellas. Light airy yellow flowers seem to combine well with almost every flower imaginable. Hardy in zones 3 – 8.
Colocasia (Elephant’s ear): An annual here in my Connecticut garden, elephant’s ear definitely adds a tropical feel to gardens with its extra large matte leaves. Available in a variety of colors, some with speckles and dramatic coloration, Colocasia grows best in moist, rich soil.
Ligularia: Ligularias are large-leaved perennials perfect for moist shady spots. Yellow flower spike in late summer add to this drama queen’s attractive nature. Large heart-shaped leaves with toothed edges add to the bold texture. You can find ligularias with green or burgundy leaves. Hardy in zones 5 – 8.
Rheum (Ornamental rhubarb): This veggie is gaining popularity with ornamental gardeners because of the wonderful texture it adds to mixed beds. Ornamental rhubarb grows in sun or partial shade but demands evenly moist soil. There are cultivars that are only about 3′ tall and others with colored leaves or brightly colored stalks. Hardy in zones 5 – 9.
Check back tomorrow for a look at a few underused fine texture plants for your garden.
But before you go, please leave a comment and let us know who’s the favored Drama Queen in your garden.