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Pattern and Texture

Donna from Garden Walk, Garden Talk is again hosting her fortnightly “Word for Wednesday” meme – this time the word is Texture. Well actually, its two words this week, Pattern and Texture. I don’t often take part in this meme because the quality of the photography and writing of the participants is intimidating, but this week the theme intrigued me. Donna’s post was incredibly informative and I learnt a lot (Donna is a landscape designer). After reading and absorbing her design advice, I trawled through my photo archives to see what photos depicting Pattern and Texture – as it applies to my garden – I could find. I was quite surprised to discover that I had about thirty reasonable looking photos that spoke “texture” or “pattern” to me and once I’d culled the collection down further, I was left with twenty photographs that I’d like to share.

What I found to be very valuable was Donna’s suggestion of desaturating an image … Donna suggests: “A designer trick is to desaturate an image to better see pattern and texture. It is a good tool to see why a grouping works or does not. The lights, darks and small detail are more evident, and that is an important aspect in textural differentiation“. I have been working on foliage combinations in my garden of late. Some work better than others, as I’ve now seen.  I took all the photos I showed in this post of yesterday and “desaturated” them and what surprised me was how well most of the groupings seem to work. (Interesting to me, the combination I like the most, is the least appealing using this method – too many similar plant types, i.e. spiky grass-like plants grouped together). We live and learn!

I’m showing two repeats from yesterdays photos because I believe they fit the theme of “Pattern & Texture”, and I’ve taken Donna’s suggestion of desaturating the images to show why these combinations may work. (These were in fact my least favourite – but now I look at them this way I think they do work). You can click to enlarge the photos to see the full effect.

Do they work?

[one_half]Pattern on leaves, Texture of grassDuranta and Festuca scoparis[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Now the leaves sparkle, grass contrastsDesaturated - love the look[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Pattern on grass, texture of barkNewly planted: Miscanthus sinesis "Zebrinus"[/one_half]

[one_half_last]I think it works well for contrastWorks well desaturated[/one_half_last]

Below are the photos I chose from my archives that speak to me of “Pattern and Texture”. The first two I’ve shown as  large photos because they speak loudest to me …


You can’t dispute that Mother Nature is an artist of the highest order when you examine a flower as beautiful as this. Look at the intricate, beautiful patterns she has woven into the petals of the Iris, like a painting on silk …

Patterns on the Iris


And for texture you can’t beat the contrasting softness of the fur on the Persian cat and the rough texture of the weathered bench …

Soft fur of the cat and rough wood of the weathered bench

Other random images depicting Texture and/or Pattern:

[one_half]Texture of the tree trunk (I see pattern too)Texture of the tree (I see pattern too)[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Texture of the delicate Rose petalsTexture of the Rose petals[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Texture of and pattern in the nestTexture of the birds' nest[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Texture of the grass and leavesTexture of the grass and leaves[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Paper thin petals of the AnemonePaper thin petals of the Anemone[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Texture of stones, pattern in the layoutTexture of stones, pattern in the layout[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Texture of bark contasts with petals of the LilyTexture of bark contasts with petals of the Lily[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Texture of grasses is appealing to manyThe texture of grasses is very appealing[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Dry, brittle leaves and lush green onesDry, brittle leaves and lush green ones[/one_half]

[one_half_last]More paper thin petals …More paper thin petals ...[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Hard texture of cement against foliageHard texture of cement[/one_half]

[one_half_last]… I see pattern in the repetition of the blooms... and pattern in buds and blooms[/one_half_last]

Happy Gardening (and photographing)

By Christine

Dominated by large trees on a medium sized property, my garden is very shaded. With no “full sun” areas I have to plant shade and partial shade loving plants. I love shrubs and flowers including camellias and azaleas but Roses and Irises are my favourite and getting these to thrive is a challenge …

11 replies on “Pattern and Texture”

The desaturation technique is interesting. Texture and pattern (or shadow) was something that, back in the days of black and white film photography, a photographer had to be more acutely aware of. We always taught to think differently about the composition when shooting in black and white, versus color, at least if the image was to be truly engaging, so I see how that method translates into grouping of plants too. I agree too that when it comes to Nature, she is the ultimate artist. The Iris is truly gorgeous, in all its forms. A true beauty!

Hi Christine, i am reading all the posts for W4W and summarize and learn through all of them. This meme by Donna has been so inspiring for us and make us think as well. If i will go full time in gardening I will follow also your ‘desaturation’ technique, inspired by Donna. But your photos are all too beautiful, I wonder why you said the previous posts are intimidating, which I don’t believe because my post is there! LOL!

Christine, wonderful perspective on the w4w. I know just what you mean, I think I went through a thousand photos before I gave up and went with what I had. There’s so much texture and pattern in the garden, isn’t there? (And I had a photo of my dog, too, but didn’t use it.) I’m so glad you showcased your lovely cat and the chair, such different textures.

I feel the same way about being intimidated by the others who join up for the meme, but you certainly don’t need to be! Your post was fantastic!

I am glad you tried desaturating your photos. If it does anything, it makes you see the garden differently and see things you might not see when color is capturing your attention. It simplifies and make things clear and concise. It also identifies the medium plants that are medium in tone, ie lacking contrast of depth. I too think you should join more. Your images are very nicely done. You showed in them today the juxtaposition of contrasting textures really well.

And you have a very pretty cat there. You also added another dimension to the discussion, you talked about papery texture of petals and showed, but not mentioned, the sharp feel of the grass edges. Some grasses are very soft, while other cut like paper. Thanks for joining, Christine.

Hi Donna – I found the desaturating trick very helpful and its shown me quite a few areas I can work on in bringing in more broad leafed plants.

I do try to join in – promise – but you all write SO well. I’m trying …

I for one think you should participate more often. Your writing and pictures certainly are excellent. I love how you you worked through texture here using Donna’s design tips…your pictures are beautiful!! I hope you will join W4W again…

Hi Donna – You are too kind, thank you! I do try to do the W4W every time but most times I end up not publishing because I just don’t think my posts are quite up to scratch. I will keep trying though 🙂

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