Monday, December 12, 2011

Today in the Garden: Looking Harder

I had occasion today to run the business end of a rake over the crunchily frozen ground of my yard, and as I worked, I saw that, despite the approach of winter leaching a lot of the life out of  my plants, there's still some color, and life, and even some surprises, back there.  I just have to look harder to see them. 

Like the ice crystals.

Here it is December, very late fall though not quite winter.  It's the latest I've ever done my raking.  The freaky Halloween snowstorm this year knocked the fall yard chores off schedule.  I'm raking so late this year, in fact, that the ground crunched under my feet, and when I looked down, I saw it was covered with these ice crystals:  

Ice crystals
When I saw those crystals, I envisioned this same tiny tableau, recreated in fiber, with silk for the leaves, embroidery for the tiny tufts of moss on the lower right, and beads for the crystals.

There are still more surprises back here.  Look at Lonicera Sempervirens Blanche Sandman, for example, still blooming after all this cold:

This lovely honeysuckle has won my heart time and again.  Here it is in its glory:

In that full-flowered role, it became the model for Honeysuckle Eve, a quilt I concocted for a competition titled A Touch of Magic.

So it did my heart good today to see Lonicera Sempervirens Blanche Sandman still blooming, despite December.  I almost cut off the tiny bloom and put it in a tiny vase with some lamium White Nancy and called it today's bouquet. 

It's also good to see the other growing things that aren't daunted by the cold.  This hellebore, for example, looks leathery-lush.  It likes the cold weather.  That's why some people call it Lenten Rose or even Christmas Rose:
This hellebore will make my day this spring because it will be one of the first things to bloom.  Meanwhile, its leaves stay richly green all winter. 

This is how the hellebores will look in the spring.  These leathery flowers are long-lasting as a floating centerpiece in a glass bowl.

And look at the rich mahogany color of these epimedium sulphureum, draped like a wintery scarf around the base of a mountain laurel.

How about the vivid purple of this ajuga Burgundy Glow?!  Don't you love plants that keep on giving you color even when the temperatures get down into the 20s?

Like the epimedium, this ivy also takes on a rich mahogany cast.

In other pre-winter garden news, this year we bought a thermostatic heater for the birdbath, which will make it available to the birds all winter long.
Ladies, does this thermostatic birdbath heater remind you of anything?
Like the honeysuckle, this birdbath has also been an inspiration for me .  One of my upcoming projects is to reproduce this image in fabric, with three-dimensional leaves knitted in metallic golds and bronzes.  It's going to be called Offering because I think it looks like an offering plate full of coins:

Well, I'm sorry winter is coming.  But I'm glad that, until it's covered with snow, my tiny yard can still yield up surprises.  I just have to look harder to see them.

1 comment:

  1. The plants that are still flowering in the winter really brighten my day. I spend a lot of time walking in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden pushing strollers around. The flowers help a lot!