During the act of gardening we are constantly touching and connecting with plants, soil, tools and materials. This makes it an immersive and visceral experience. By gardening we are not only creating with our hands but we are manipulating and understanding elements of nature, too, which is what it’s really all about. Matt Keightley’s Jeremy Vine Texture Garden, went beyond the act of gardening alone, and looked at combining the textures of different material finishes and plant structures to create a great garden to interact with and relax in.
Make it happen
Use plants (such as Pinus mugo and Melica altissima) to extend the range of visual textures in the garden. Architecturalleafed plants (acanthus, rheum, fatsia, tetrapanax) can be contrasted with something far softer for effect ( grasses, helichrysum, Californian poppy, bronze fennel).
Incorporate a variety of plants specifically for touching that are easily accessible – close to paths or seating is ideal. Consider something rough (dwarf pine), smooth ( silver birch or paperbark maple) and soft ( Stachys byzantina or Stipa tenuissima). Clipped rounded shapes in box are also irresistible to the touch.
Expose some of the garden’s hidden structure for contrasting texture, whether it’s a brick or rendered wall, a stone path or an overgrown area of gravel.
Take black and white photos of your garden and study them. Monochromatic images help to bring out the texture and you’ll be able to see if a planting scheme works without any colour at all.