Cold Artistry Or Here Comes The Sun

november-22-2008-078Having some moisture to form ice crystals is a condition that our drought ravaged landscape sees only occasionally. The woman wrapped like a mummy in swaddling dashes out the door at first light to calculate when that warming light will rest upon the frozen garden.november-22-2008-067Pockets of protection can escape the frost, like this hip triptych of Rosa ‘Veilchenblau’ hiding behind the shed and backed by a row of twenty foot tall hemlocks.november-22-2008-068The temptation is great to use the many macro shots we have been having fun with after reading the owner’s manual, but the long view can be gratifying as well. november-22-2008-019The shriveled fruit of the Black Pearl pepper is a study in light and shadow worthy of a Renaissance chiaroscuro as the rising sun illuminates the ice encrusted skin.  The peppers of this vegetable emerge purple/black and ripen to scarlet.november-22-2008-089Our ever faithful muhly grass, Muhlenbergia capillaris, is in the process of tranforming to the faded chintz stage. Only slightly pinkish if we squint and use our imagination to remember the cotton candy look  sported a few weeks ago, the contribution to the garden now is limited to the movement all the grasses offer when the wind blows.november-22-2008-069Not a mirror but rather a salvaged window from the house next door that was purchased to knock down and build the garage on the site nevertheless is reflecting the view out over the house. A mirrored medicine cabinet from the same house is duplicating that view in the lower left pane from the opposite wall inside the shed.november-22-2008-021A favorite of butterflies, Verbena bonariensis wears no blooms now but is handsome standing straight and tall. The still blooming yellow button mums dot the background grasses.november-22-2008-033Poufs of Artemisia versicolor ‘Seafoam’ remind us of a coral reef covered in hoarfrost.november-22-2008-003-2Our buddy Mister Cardinal, nickname of Fluffy, is cackling in complaint about who knows what as he sits in the butterfly bush branches. The feeder is filled to the top with black oil sunflower seeds, so why is your beak flapping? Don’t you see that….november-22-2008-057…the sun is rising?

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35 Responses to Cold Artistry Or Here Comes The Sun

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Lovely shots of your garden Frances. All that frost. I especially like the ‘coral reef’ description.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. All that frost is unusual for this time of year here. The seafoam artemisia is aptly named isn’t it? It looks kind of oceany.

  2. Gail says:

    Good Morning Frances…Wow to the fantastic macro shots and wow to the beauty of frost…I do like the first flower shrouded in frost best!
    Have a warm a pleasant day in the garden and the kitchen…I know the festivities are in the works! Gail

    Hi Gail, thanks. We are in the countdown to cooking madness here, most of the cleaning is done, thank goodness. Now for the fun part! Yet another very frosty day outside again today, waiting for the sun to get a little closer to showing before going out with the camera. Temps in the sixties for the big day is forecast, hooray!

  3. I so adore mr. Fluffy I wish he could come and visit me. Beautiful pictures Frances and as always lovely reading.
    We still have snow storm here and it is a small chaos( I love it)/ Tyra

    Hi Tyra, thanks. Mr. Fluffy would look so handsome against your white background, what a photo that would be! I love your small chaos, the best kind! 🙂

  4. Frances – lovely post, lovely pictures. Somehow it looks “other-worldly”

    Hi Karen, thanks. That is exactly the way it feels in the early morning as the sun just begins to show, the frost just enhances that feeling.

  5. Zoe says:

    Would love to have a bird like Mr Fluffy come visit me, he is SO exotic.

    I really like the photo of the Black Pearl Pepper, it reminded me of a frenchman’s beret!

    I spent some of my birthday money and bought myself a whizzier lens – and a remote, so that I can set the camera up in the garden focused on the bird feeders, and then from the warmth (and it doesn’t scare the birds away) take close up images that previously I couldn’t have dreamed of! I am still practising, but when I get it right, Ill post some.

    Zoë x

    Hi Zoe, thanks. funny that you think of the cardinal as exotic, they are common here. I am more than excited about your camera for taking the bird shots!!!! Being outside in the warm while getting good steady shots is the best. I can’t wait to see your photos. I must tell the Financier about this. 🙂

  6. Jan says:

    It amazes me that I was planting petunias yesterday to enhance my winter garden, and you have ice crystals enhancing yours. Each is pretty in its own way.

    Always Growing

    Hi Jan, it is amazing. The ice should not be here, in my opinion anyway. I am hoping it warms back up soon. I do love your little ducky yellow petunias, they are so cute.

  7. Randy says:

    As always Frances, lovely pictures. That cardinal sure is puffed up. Maybe he fussing that if you keep putting those seeds out he’s going to get fat. 🙂

    Hi Randy, thanks. He does look a little rotund, doesn’t he? Maybe that is how he is staying warm in this silly cold weather we are having. 🙂

  8. Rose says:

    Lovely photos, Frances; I enjoy your super-macro view of the garden. The Renaissance artists would have welcomed you into their group:)

    Hi Rose, thanks so much for that, what a nice thing to say. I am merely trying to capture what nature is painting, a humbling experience. Glad you aren’t getting tired of me playing with the camera too. 🙂

  9. Beautiful photos! Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family.


    Hi Cameron, thanks. May you also enjoy the holidays.

  10. Siria says:

    Hi Frances! You always have such gorgeous photos and descriptions of your garden! I also love that current header. The skies this time of year over your garden must be majestic. Have a wonderful time cooking and enjoying your family this Thanksgiving. With all that is going on in the world today, we still have so much to be thankful for!

    Hi Siria, thanks so much. The sky photo has gotten to stay up for a while, it has suited the last several posts and cheers me to see it. We do have much to be thankful for and I do enjoy it when the family comes though they are a bit rowdy! 🙂

  11. Marnie says:

    I love you frosty morning photos;) My cardinals are the very first to rise every morning. They are alway excited to see me filling feeders and scattering seed over the drive.

    Hi Marnie, thanks. The cardinals and titmice are the first ones up here, I can hear them before I even open the shades at first light. Bless their little hearts!

  12. Dave says:

    Some very cool shots Frances! The muhly grass will still be attractive throughout the winter. I was curious how well it reseeds for you? I’m always looking to make more plants I guess! Mr. Cardinal there definitely looks chilly.

    Hi Dave, thanks. It reseeds by itself sporadically, but since I have left it standing longer this year it might do more. I have gathered the seed stalks, made a trench and buried them to plant also. They are so easily divided, that is the way I have had enough to spread them so much here. Poor little Fluffy, he does look cold, it was cold!

  13. tina says:

    Just absolutely beautiful Frances. Even the cackling Mr. Fluffy. I have a question, how does the Sea Foam do for you? I purchased it this summer up in Maine and have been happy with it so far. Yours looks quite big and healthy so I am thinking it does well? But then everything does so well for you:) in Faire Garden.

    Hi Tina, thanks. I am loving Sea Foam. It looks rather pitiful in the wintertime, but I did nothing to it and it grew nicely over the summer. That was a tiny plant that I ordered fall of 2007. Good drainage and sun is essential. One of the reasons we have good luck with some of these plants is the drainage I think, can’t help but have that with this slope! 🙂 Good luck with yours, don’t be tempted to trim it up though, let it go.

  14. Phillip says:

    Beautiful photos Frances. My favorite is the verbena close-up.

    Hi Phillip, thanks. I like that one too. I am still dreaming of your roses! 🙂

  15. easygardener says:

    I think Fluffy is shouting – These are my sunflower seeds, stay away! stay away!

    Hi Easy, he just might be, they are not into sharing, even with their females, except during mating season! HA

  16. Brenda Kula says:

    Looks like my foul mouth flapping. I don’t have to have anything whatsoever to flap about, but I flap nonetheless. If I didn’t have pets to chatter at, the neighbors would think me mighty strange. Wait…I think they already do! Frances, these are absolutely phenomenal photos. It’s so fun to meander out in the gardens and inspect everything we see as a prospective still life. You have great talent with a camera, my dear!

    Hi Brenda, thanks, you are so funny! I talk to the cats all day, sometimes they get up and walk away mid sentence, how rude! 🙂 I’m glad you like the photos, I am just having too much fun with the frosty mornings, hope no one is getting tired of it. I’ll quit soon. Maybe.

  17. Racquel says:

    What lovely descriptions of the going ons in your garden right now Frances. I love the look of frost on plants, they sparkle in the sunlight. 🙂

    Hi Racquel, thanks. I love the look of the frost in the early mornings. I do want some warmer weather for when my family comes in though. I wish I could capture that sparkle, so far no luck.

  18. Barbarapc says:

    I was looking for that red hat – now I know where it got too. Looks much better on him than it did on me. That lovely first photo – could you tell me what the flower is pls?

    Hi Barbara, HA you are too funny! Thanks for visiting, the first photo is a closed up little pansy trying to stay warm, poor thing.

  19. Benjamin says:

    Must be colder in TN than NE! Yay! I went back and followed your camera posts, because I’ve been thinking of asking for a “grown up” camera: i.e. the bigger black kind (a Canon) with different lenses you can put on. I have a very nice, slim, and light Canon SD800IS 7.1mp. Very happy with that, and it has more more options than my previous Canon. However, I want even more detail and sharpness, and more options via macro and such. If I didn’t have a garden I probably wouldn’t be thinking about this. I think it’s ok to have 2 cameras: one for local, detailed shots, and one to travel lightly with. Right?

    Hi Benjamin, so glad you see something to cheer about with our recent cold spell. Of course it is okay to have two or more cameras. The whole point of the interchangeable lenses is so you will always want the next one up than what you have. The industry is geared to you never being satisfied, good for the economy. 🙂

  20. Philip says:

    Hi Frances!
    Hi Fluffy!
    I love the hoarfrost morning.
    Your post got me thinking about hoarfrost festivals and other such things…turns out their are as many types of frost as Eskimos have words for snow!
    I love all the images, but the window and mirror reflection is really something, certainly thought provoking…
    I love the Artemesia reef!
    What a bright and fun morning!

    Hi Philip, sorry, wordpress thought this comment was spam because it had that link. I de-spammed it but it is farther down the stack now. Thanks for trying again. I am so glad you liked the window photo, it is my favorite, there is so much going on there.

  21. Kathleen says:

    Frances, the image of you, swathed like a mummy, gave me the giggles for some reason. I suppose that is the only way to brave the elements on an early frosty morn. You are turning into a bonafide artist behind the lens, I do declare. I love the macros myself (I’m sure you’ve seen they are irresistable to me!!) and that first shot of the pansy(?) from behind is magnificent. I am almost wishing for frost to give it a try. NOT!!!!

    Hi Kathleen, thanks, I am funny looking with so many layers on, but don’t care what I look like just trying to stay warm and dry since I often have to get down on the ground to take a photo. I do appreciate your compliment, your photos as just divine. The macros are addictive! BTW, I am making your pumpkin chocolate cheesecake bars for Thanksgiving, only using a store bought chocolate cookie crust instead of the teddy grahams. Hope it is a success, yours sounded so rich and decadent, perfect after a heavy meal! 🙂

  22. Philip says:

    Hi Frances,
    I love these images you have taken on a frosty morning.
    The Artemisia reef, what a fun thing…I love the word hoarfrost, too. It brings up thoughts of Midieval hoarfrost festivals…
    all so fun on a bright and frosty mornig at sunrise!

    Hi Philip, thanks. I think we like the same things, all things medieval appeal to me, the costumes and festivals especially. I love the sunrise and frostiness makes it magical. Thanks so much for stopping by.

  23. VP says:

    Lovely photos Frances. I’m glad to see someone else runs round the garden like mad when there’s frost around before the sun melts it all 🙂

    Hi VP, thanks. You too? We have to be quick, don’t we, or the magic disappears! 🙂

  24. joey says:

    Frosty mornings are a gift for the photgrapher, Frances, and you were there to capture some beauties. Wishing you, your family, and Fluffy a ‘Happy Thanksgiving’!

    Hi Joey, thanks so much and the same to you, minus Fluffly! I was just looking at the files of frost photos that have been taken the last few days with amazement at what the sunrise and ice do to the looks of the garden. It is transformed.

  25. nancybond says:

    Jack Frost certainly has an artistic hand — beautiful!

    Hi Nancy, thanks. I bet you and your camera could make some real art with this frost, it is full of magic. And good luck with your new best/worst friend too. We are rooting for you! 🙂

  26. Crafty Gardener says:

    Great macro shots from your garden. I really don’t think of you as having frost … I mean you do live way down south from me.

    Hi Linda, thanks. We should not be having this frost, not this frequently and not at this time of year, we are way below normal in the temps. We are waiting for a warm up.

  27. Amy says:

    Beautiful as always Frances. There is such a small window of time to get those photos before the sun burns away that lovely frost.

    Hi Amy, thanks. You are so right, that is why there is no waiting for the weather to get warmer, cold is the photographers friend in this case. I often wonder if my breath will show up in the pictures! HA

  28. marmee says:

    i especially love the closeups of the frozen pansey, pepper, verbena! and the leaf with the backlit sunshine. every season is beautiful!

    Hi Marmee, thanks so much. Not nearly as wonderful as your *tree fruits*! Have a happy holiday.

  29. brokenbeat says:

    looking at and reading about your frosted garden coupled with a glockenspiel-accordian combo on my stereo puts me in a mental space that is as close to and open as a dream as possible. though topic and picture changes are always welcome, i personally wouldn’t mind if your pursuit of crystal bloom photo ops continues until the last frost of spring. see you in two days. much love.

    Ah my dear Brokenbeat, I have so missed your comments. There will be many crystal bloom photos for you to peruse when you get here. Can’t wait.
    Love, Frances

  30. Lola says:

    Great shots Frances. I just can’t decide which one I like the best. All of them are gorgeous. Running around to catch the frost is like running to catch the dew before it goes away.
    I wish you & your family the “HAPPIEST THANKSGIVING EVER”

    Hi Lola, thanks so much. The frosty moments are fleeting and the rocks and paths can be slippery! Hope your holidays are wonderful too.

  31. chuck b. says:

    I didn’t know you have ‘Veilchenblau’–I got that one when I got ‘Moonlight’. (Also ‘Felicia’ and ‘Gardenia’, just to get it all out of the way in case you have those as well.)

    Hi Chuck, I was on a hybrid musk thing a few years ago and added Penelope, Danae, and Joanne D’ Arc. I did have Felicia in Texas, it was a beauty. Have a happy holiday and enjoy the cooking and the company.

  32. Winter is beautiful in your garden Frances! Happy Thanksgiving.

    Hi Shirley, thanks for visiting. We are having yet another frosty morning today too. This is really not normal for us at all, better grab the camera again! May you and yours have a wonderful holiday.

  33. Titania says:

    Hi Frances, while I am busy in my garden planting and weeding and… has yours been transformed into a fairyland. Your garden looks now different but still so appealing and wonderful.

    Hi Titania, thanks for stopping by. We do have winter weeds to pull here, just a couple though, very manageable. The ice covering is so magical and very quick to disappear when the sun hits it too. A special time of day.

  34. I’m guessing he was a cold little birdy. I love seeing all of them start going to the feeders. It drives our cat, Sophie, nuts. You macro photos are beautiful.~~Dee

    Hi Dee, thanks, he was no doubt cold, maybe his feathers fluffed gave him some extra insulation. It is bird time here too and they keep us busy filling the feeders. Our cats love to watch them too. I moved the wire nugget feeder to the hook right next to the window where the hummingbird feeder had been to discourage the squirrels from raiding it. It works for that and the little wrens and woodpeckers are so close you could touch them. Have a wonderful holiday with your friends and family.

  35. Weeping Sore says:

    The frosty garden pictures are gorgeous, but they make me shiver. Now, I’m ready for the cranberry sauce.

    Hi Weeping Sore, thanks so much. It was pretty but shivery taking them. I am tired of this frost every single morning, the romance is over! The cranberry sauce is ready to eat, and I am tired of cooking and the big day isn’t until tomorrow! Better do a little blogging to relax. 🙂 Have a wonderful holiday.

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