Under clear frosty nights in winter soft ice crystals might form on vegetation or any object that has been chilled below freezing point by radiation cooling. This deposit of ice crystals is known as hoar frost and may sometimes be so thick that it might look like snow. The interlocking ice crystals become attached to branches of trees, leafs, hedgerows and grass blades and are one of the most prominent features of a typical ‘winter wonderland’ day. However, the fine ‘feathers’, ‘needles’ and ‘spines’ might also be found on any other object that is exposed to supersaturated air below freezing temperature.
Quoted from WeatherOnline. In simpler terms, hoarfrost is frozen dew.
This is the uncropped shot of the first photo. It is the wall that runs along the back of the main house, with golden creeping jenny resting on the concrete block.
Small grape hyacinths, Muscari armeniacum, are planted and self planted all over the garden. Those along the wall must hold more moisture along their leaves for these ice crystals to form on the edges. They are like ice spears. These blades are not damaged by the continuous freeze and thaw cycles endured here until the last frost date of mid April.More densely packed is the frost on this annual dianthus. These are likely to survive several winters here even though the labels read to the contrary.Out front at the street, a cold spot and the lowest elevation finds a wild white aster flowerhead and Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Moudry’ encased.Spent heads of Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’ front Artemesia versicolor ‘Seafoam’ in the yellow/white bed. A single strand of golden creeping jenny, Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’ rests lightly of the frosted stems at lower right.Decorated with star frost are these perennial peppers, Capsicum-unknown. Click here to read the post about these winter fruiters.Standing at the top of the stair way to the knot garden and looking to the east, the eye rests upon the frozen muhly grass, Muhlenbergia capillaris upheld by the wintergreen boxwood hedge.Many efforts have been made to get a representative photo of the striking color on the coral bark maple, Acer palmatum ‘Sango Kaku’. This day the camera found a couple of hanging on leaves to focus upon while gauzing the coral stems in the background.Another effort at capturing that hot pink trunk was taken looking through the remnants of the Joe Pye weed. The Canon refuses to recognize the maple once again.As the sun hits the garden, the frost disappears, erasing the geometrical magic of the ice crystals. But the magic remains undaunted, for discovered among the green Chamaecyparis is an embedded praying mantis egg case! Oh joy of joys, it looks like a fresh one too, ensuring a replenishment of that population next spring when the little wee ones emerge in great numbers to guard and defend the Fairegarden. Ah, how pleasant it is to think of spring.