Ramblings of a "New American" Gardener

Weather traces … funny moods

December 1, 2014

First snow, November 13, one-half inch, but heavy and wet. Though the snow flattened much of the garden, it recovered in a day.

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But I like its temporary flatness.

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The sprawling grass blades, the stippled blacks, browns and golds recall the ironic beauty of disarray and destruction in an Anselm Kiefer painting.

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The mood is lively. More birds are out now that the leaves have fallen from the trees. They’ve lost their forest cover and come to feed on berries and seed heads.

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Though this snow could have ended the garden for the year, I’m rather delighted with the energetic mess of colors and shapes. On days like this the garden has a crazy atmosphere of change. It lifts my spirits.

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The house rests like a stable ship above the disorder of a rollicking sea of vegetation and frozen precipitation. Comic, happy-go-lucky spirits are at play …

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… at play for a while. All this will soon end.

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The garden’s become a joke, coated with wet snow, slipping, trying to stand, but mostly unsuccessfully.

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Salix kyoryanagi ‘Rubykins’ bends easily but whips upright as soon as it sheds the frozen weight.

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Believe it or not, this Miscanthus giganteus lying flat behind a Button bush and a tall dried Silphium laciniatum was totally upright the next day.

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A hosta trying to rebloom, but too late.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Zem December 2, 2014 at 3:54 am

It’s winter, ‘t is cold, but the pictures above give me happy feelings.
Greetings, Zem.

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James Golden December 3, 2014 at 7:26 am

Greetings, Zem. We have had very early cold, cold weather, and now early snow. This was one happy day.

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Christina December 3, 2014 at 3:37 am

The blue sky makes everything beautiful, I think if it had been grey, your mood and that in the images would have been very different.

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James Golden December 3, 2014 at 7:30 am

How right you are. So much depends on the weather, especially in my garden. Sunlight and blue sky make the happy mood I feel inside and the playful atmosphere of the garden.

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Pat Webster December 3, 2014 at 12:09 pm

James, as always, your photos are fabulous. They convey such a sense of place, atmospheric in a way that pleases me enormously. I also like the flatness, especially knowing that most plants will rise again.

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James Golden December 3, 2014 at 11:32 pm

Thank you, Pat. I’ve been working to learn to capture atmosphere and mood, which are coming to be the most essential aspects of the garden.

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Jason December 5, 2014 at 5:24 pm

You have a healthy attitude toward having so much of the garden weighed to the ground. It’s nature’s slapstick, not nature’s vandalism. Though I was glad to see that my switchgrass was able to right itself after being weighed down by ice and wet snow.

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James Golden December 9, 2014 at 11:26 pm

I like that. “Nature’s slapstick.” My grasses did upright themselves, but we had a snow and ice storm over Thanksgiving from which most of the plants will not right themselves. That was the end of the garden for this season. I may still get some interest if we have good frosty mornings. Waiting to see.

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Desert Dweller / David C. December 8, 2014 at 11:11 pm

I really enjoyed this break from my work, and I can only imagine the feel of the cool, crisp air after that snow and in that light. Thanks!

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James Golden December 9, 2014 at 11:27 pm

Thanks, David. I hope winter in the desert is treating you well. We have friends who are thinking about moving to Sante Fe. At this time of year, the southwest does sound attractive.

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Scott Nickerson December 11, 2014 at 2:26 pm

What marvellous photos James. Thanks so much for this blog.

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James Golden December 14, 2014 at 7:18 pm

Thanks, Scott. Though it’s the end of the season, seeing the plants flat in snow somehow reminds me of spring.

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