Texture and Line in the Garden
Plants aren't always just foliage or flowers as a point of interest, although bark texture and trunks don't often get the respect they deserve in a garden setting. These two plants in combination provide wonderfully compatible lines as well as textural contrast in my back garden. I find that the year round interest of colorful trunks or interesting bark are particularly valuable in seasons when there isn't much in bloom. The particular plantings in this shot aren't something that translates across the country, but there are equally hardy plants that could also give the same sorts of effects in a northeast garden.
This is a combination of a South African tree from the veldt of the low lands of the Eastern Cape, Cussonia spicata, or the Lowveldt Cabbage Tree. It has both fascinating bark, nearly always leaning trunks, and tropical looking foliage on a mop head that makes it look vaguely palm-like until it starts branching, and it is related to the common Ivy, as the eventual blooms make obvious. The bamboo in this photo is one that has become quite popular for use in coastal California, and is a selected form named for a prominent San Diego landscape designer and horticulturist, Bill Teague. It comes from the foothills of the Himalayas, Himalayacalamus hookerianus 'Bill Teague', The culms of this bamboo have a waxy coating that is a brilliant blue once the sheaths drop off, and will retain the coloring if not rubbed off. This bamboo is particularly useful as it tends not to obscure the beautiful trunks with lower side branching, and is demurely clumping rather than aggressively spreading, and reaches about 20 foot in height at maturity.
Here is a link that might be useful: Blue Bamboo and Cabbage Tree