Picture This: Winter’s Beauty

My thanks to SpiritKeeper on YouTube for the above reading of Winter’s Beauty by William H. Davies.

Gardens Gone Wild has a photo contest for January with the theme of “Winter’s Beauty”.  As is usual it’s a theme that offers lots of opportunity for interpretation and selection.  The classic picture for me in wintertime is the Ice Cardinal that I posted for the November contest.  But since this is for joy and sharing I ruled out any repeat submissions.  So we shall go prospecting for “Winter’s Beauty”.

It’s always interesting to see how the world looks after a snowstorm, but sometimes the results after an ice storm are even more striking.

Japanese Maple in Ice

But it may be even better when you get closer up to the plants.

Blueberry Row in Ice

What’s missing from these pictures though is the spot of color that Ice Cardinal had.  So another approach is to look at these emerging Winter Aconite fighting back an ice patch.

Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) closed up for cold weather

Another traditional example of Winter Beauty  is the Japanese Flowering Quince which is ready to flower at the drop of a hat.  Snow is only a minor inconvenience.

Japanese Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles japonica) in the snow

But when you stop to think of it “Winter’s Beauty” isn’t just about the snow.  It’s all around you if you take time to look.  The leftover Northern Sea Oats are still there waiting to be seen against the winter sky.

Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) against the winter sky

So just following that lead and ignoring ice, snow, and color, I’m going to go with what is an ongoing Winter’s Beauty highlight for me.  Every morning’s trip to the mailbox takes me past a Star Magnolia that increasingly unveils the buds that will in late March open up to beautiful white flowers heralding another spring.  The buds have the soft furry texture of cat’s paws and the little gray-white hairs reflect the light dramatically.  That’s my “Winter’s Beauty”.

Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata) bud in January

9 comments on “Picture This: Winter’s Beauty

  1. Salix

    Hi John, that magnolia bud is really beautiful – close up and personal. The eranthis is one of my very favourite flowers.

  2. Noelle/azplantlady

    I love how the Japanese Maple looks all covered with white while the surrounding landscape is untouched. Just beautiful.

  3. joco

    Well…….you were cutting it fine this month. I was beginning to worry. And yes, that red cardinal in the rimed tree is iconic. Forever locked in my mind’s eye. But you have reinforced what this contest is for: playing with photos and giving us joy.
    Do you stroke that bud whenever you fetch your mail in?

  4. Meredith

    Lovely, lovely shots. My favorite is the Japanese maple, which is so glorious and filled with such delicate details, almost as if the fairies have been busy sculpting with the ice.

    I went back and looked at your cardinal shot, and I agree with joco that it is iconic. Great work on both occasions!

  5. Jean

    I love all your photos! But I like seeing the fuzzy magnolia since it’s different than many (i.e. different from snow and ice). I can also see the wind blowing on the sea oats. Very nice.

  6. bloominrs

    They’re all so beautiful it’s hard to pick a favorite. I really like the ice on blueberry row, and the northern sea oats against the sky. I’m so envious of your blooms. Will be a little longer before I see anything poking its head up.

  7. Beth

    John, I love these pictures. You have found amazing beauty in a time of year that many people dismiss as “not gardening season.” If they only knew…

  8. Laura

    Well, last-moment-as-usual-John, you have a lot of striking beautiful images on your site. I especially love the northern sea oats dancing in the sky. Amazing you could capture them without movement blur. I love them and have trouble getting them to stand still long enough for a portrait.

    1. jw

      Thanks for visiting. You have very nice website yourself. Beautiful layout and interface, not to mention the pictures…