Splashes of Color in an Otherwise Neutral Landscape

Winter –

img_1679If there is snow we see a season of white

Otherwise we see shades of brown and gray

But walk slowly and look closely

and you will see colors of spring and summer

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One Winter’s Day

I stood alone amongst swaying trees

Reminents of Bamboo grass in the winter garden

Groaning,  creaking bark rubbing against bark, branches entwined cracking

Winter tress in the lower gardens

A cold, damp wind permeated my soul

Aging Bowling ball pyramid in the lower gardens

I sought refuge with the Dreamer…

The Dreamer in the labyrinth

and realized I had not been the only one

Deer track in the snow lower gardens

I pulled my scarf tighter around my neck and clutched my coat hoping to keep the cold at bay

The labyrinth under ice and snow

Even on frozen days the garden’s beauty shines through

Bronze sculpture sitting in the snow

The garden is a refuge,  not only for me but also for those who prowl its paths after dark

Cat print in the ice

Frozen

What was once a liquid is now a solid

Ice on evergreen

It wraps itself around all it touches

Ine encrusted honeysuckle berries

Ine encrusted honeysuckle bushes

Freezing as it follows paths dictated by gravity

Ice encrusted apple leaves

Ice encrusted apple leafAlmost invisible to human sight small imperfections glisten like encrusted crystals

Ine encrusted pear bud

As warmth creeps back into the valleys what is first an almost imperceptible sound becomes louder as the melting ice releases itself from branches and berries and crashes to the forest floor

Ice on forest trees

Ice on berries

 

Under a New Fallen Snow

There is a peace that permeates one’s being while walking through a garden after a new fallen snow.

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But along  with that peace comes a feeling of sadness as the realization of knowing another season comes to an end.

Blood Red Maple leaf on Praying Hands hosta

Endings may be not be what they appear

Purple Alyssum

Look into hidden corners of the garden and see what emerges from the snow cover ground

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Allow your eyes to be drawn to vibrant colors in an otherwise neutral landscape

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Rejoice in knowing this is not an end, only life passing through celestial cycles

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The Beauty of Butterflies

As the sun sinks lower on the southern horizon his rays do not provide the same intensity of heat as on summer days.

These fragile creatures search for the last of summer flowers to rest and feast upon.

To watch them glide on invisible currents  my heart aches for what is to come.

 

Common checkered-skipper Pygus communis
Common checkered-skipper Pygus communis

“This species is separated from the White-checkered skipper with confidence only by dissection and examination of the male genitalia.” from butterfliesandmoths.org

 

Female Clouded Sulphur Colias philodice
Female Clouded Sulphur Colias philodice

Halloween Surprise – Milbert’s Tortoise Shell Butterfly

Temperature fluctuations have encouraged creatures not normally seen in the gardens of Valley View to stop and  share the garden’s mid-autumn bounty.

One such creature  new to the gardens is the Milbert’s Tortoise Shell butterfly, (Nymphalis nilberti)

Milbert's Tortoise Shell butterfly, Nymphalis nilberti
Milbert’s Tortoise Shell butterfly, (Nymphalis nilberti)

This butterfly lives in wet meadows and swampy edges of deciduous forests.  It can be found coast to coast in Canada and the northern United States, in mountains south to West Virginia.  It can be spotted on warm winter days, spring and summer. *

Milbert's Tortoise Shell butterfly, Nymphalis nilberti

October 31st was a relatively warm day.  We’ve had a few killing frosts so the only flowers still in bloom are mums and Alyssum. Nectar feeding insects frequent these flowers. Also the gardens are at the edge of an Eastern Broadleaf forest, with a spring seep directly across from the gardens. A perfect day and perfect habitat for this butterfly to appear!

Green Fly and Spotted Cucumber Beetle
Green Fly and Spotted Cucumber Beetle on yellow daisy mum

*from National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders