Gardeners' World - - Feelgood Gardens -

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.

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