January Squares: Snowdrops Glisten

Snowy landscape with snowdrops backlit by the fading sun
Snowdrops glisten under silver birch trees in a snowy winter garden

Interaction between the camera lens and the sun’s rays has sent rainbows tumbling from the top right. I’m not sure if that’s a feature or a flaw… perhaps a bit of both.

Pockets of snowdrops are barely distinguishable from the snow at first glance but, once your eye tunes in, they seem illuminated like tiny, ankle-high lamps. Long, narrow tree shadows accentuate the ray effect while the shade and golden rays together capture that feeling of warmth and exposure we Northerners associate with winter… the lucky ones, that is, who have the means of keeping warm. Continue reading “January Squares: Snowdrops Glisten”

Witch Hazel In Winter Gardens

Bare branches with red spidery flowers

Here’s a closer look at witch hazel (Hamamelis). Ancient lore accords these flowering shrubs medicinal, cultural and even religious value, but here I’m focusing on their decorative quality. In the UK, witch hazels drop their leaves in autumn, then produce colourful flowers that are particularly welcome in the winter garden.

Bare branches with orange flowers

The flowers appear to float, held up in the air on slender stems that would otherwise go unnoticed in deciduous plantings. The rusty orange one particularly attracted me. Rich purple calyces provide a beautiful contrast, and the colour palette just seems to get better as the older petals wither.  Continue reading “Witch Hazel In Winter Gardens”