Hiking in the woods of Florida's parks is what inspired me to garden in the first place and whether you're religious or not, the most beautiful scenery in nature sure does look just as planned as any botanical garden. That's why the most powerful garden designs are massed with textural plantings like a carpet and give your eye a place to rest, because that's the way it works in nature.
Ferns drape the floor of a cypress swamp in Highlands Hammock, thriving in the moist shade.
At Corkscrew Swamp, adjacent to the Everglades, abundant sun and water combine with seasonal burns to encourage this extensive field of coreopsis.
At Guana River Preserve, a limited variety of clumping grasses like muhly grass glow like golden filaments in the strip between salt marsh and maritime hammock habitats.
A lush field of grasses blankets the ground beneath cedars in dappled light.
The coreopsis are even more profuse at the edge of the cypress swamp where they receive afternoon sun.
Sabal palm's fire blackened trunks pierce into the glowing lush grasses.
A roseate spoonbill punctuates the calming swath of spartina grass, sifting for breakfast.
Native muhly grass and South African bulbine create a naturalistic composition at the Jacksonville Zoo..
Though many of these scenes are hard to recreate exactly, the last picture illustrates that you can implement texture in the garden with more readily available plants. If you really want to make your collection of camelias or hibiscus pop out, consider providing a calming groundcover that frames your plants and allows the eye to rest. Even mundane plants like bordergrass, asiatic jasmine, lily of the nile and purple fountain grass can be stunning in numbers, especially when combined with contrasting architectural plants like cannas, agaves, gingers or ti plants!