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The Tactile Garden: Texture and Form

The beauty of color in a garden can take my breath away but I also get great pleasure from touching my plants. Rough, silky, smooth, papery, sticky, bumpy, lacey, fuzzy, slimy, puckered, hairy, and fuzzy all describe textures I can feel when I touch the plants or various parts of the plants. Here is a list of plants arranged in groups of similar textures. Assume the flowers are the most interesting part unless otherwise indicated.

Pussy willow Salix discolor
Woolly thyme Thymus praecox (leaves)
Lamb’s ear Stachys byzantina (leaves)
Mullein Verbascum sp. (leaves)
Woodworm Artemisia sp (leaves)
Floss flower Argeratum sp.
Silver Sage Salvia argentea (leaves)
Jerusalem Sage Phlomis fruticaosa (leaves)
Moss (leaves, sporangia)
Christmas fern Polystichum spp. (fiddlehead)

Cape jasmine Gardenia jasminoides
Southern magnolia Magnolia grandiflora (leaves and flowers)
Lily Lilium sp.
Poppy Papaver nudicaule
Hardy hibiscus moscheutus
Rose Rosa sp.
Darwin tulip Tulipa
Sundew Drosera capensis

Honest/Money plant Lunaria annua
Globe Amaranth Gomphrena globose
Strawflower Helichrysum breacteatum
Obedient plant Physostegia virginiana
Liatris Liatris spicata

Ornamental Kale Brassica oleracea acephala
Lichens (on a rock)
Bells of Ireland Molucella laevis
Lacebark pine Pinus bungeana (trunk)
Grape hyacinth Muscari armeniacum
Red-Hot Poker Kniphofia cvs.
Hosta sieboldiana Francis Williams (leaves)
Perilla frutescans var. nankinensis (leaves)
Coneflower Echinacea purpurea
Globe thistle Echinops ritro
Cockscomb Celosia cristata
Feather Stipa pennata
Fountain/foxtail grass alopecuroides ‘Hameln’
Hare’s Tale Grass Lagurus ovatus
Statice Limonium latifolium
Squirrel-tail grass Hordeum jubatum

Cosmos Cosmos bipinnatus (leaves)
Fennel Foeniculum vulgare
Lady fern Athyrium filix-femina (fronds)
Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald ‘n’ Gold’
Algae (on a rock)

Here is a list of plants that have plant parts with interesting forms that you might like to touch. Assume that the flowers are the most interesting form unless otherwise indicated.

Bleeding heart Dicentra spectabilis
Columbine Aquilegia Aquilegia vulgaris
Snapdragon Antirrhinum majus hybrids
Foxglove Digitalis pupurea
Fushia Fushia sp.
Calla lily Zantedeschia spp.
Balloon flower Playcodon grandiflorus

Ornamental onion Allium affatunense (inflorescence)
Hyacinth bean Lablab purpureus (fruit and leaves)
Hops Humulus lupulus ‘Aureus’ (fruit)
Crocosmia Crocosmia spp. ‘ Lucifer’ (inflorescence)
Love-lies-bleeding Amaranthus caudatus (inflorescence)

Hens and Chicks Sempervivum spp. (stem, leaves)
Henry Lauder’s Walking stick Corulus avellana (stems as well as flowers)
Winged Euonymus Euonymus alatus (stems)

Canna Canna x generalis cvs. (leaves)
Elephant’s Ear Colocasia gigantea
Little Leaf boxwood Buxus microphylla (leaves)
Siberian iris Iris sibirica (leaves as well as flowers)
Cyclamen Cyclamen hederifolium (leaves)

The over all form of plants varies too including round (English boxwood Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’), vase shaped (Yucca filamentosa ‘Golden Sword’)
columnar (Japanese holly Ilex crenata ‘Fastigiata’), and prostrate (Juniperus Sabina ‘Tamariscifolia’).

Be sure that the plants you touch are not sprayed with pesticides.

Let us know:
Does anyone have some favorite plants to include?