Friday, December 12, 2008

A winter garden

Frozen toes and fingers are forgotten in the magic of a winter garden. Fanciful shapes and sculpture created at the whim of whirling winds. Diamonds dusted atop pristine white. Prisms of ice reflecting color back into the light.

Most of last season is covered and hidden. Only the occasional blackened, withered foliage left to hold a place against the coming of spring.

Mary Oliver's words capture a little of the eerie silence and unnatural light of a snowfall.

The First Snow
~ Mary Oliver

The snow
began here
this morning and all day
continued, it's white
rhetoric everywhere
calling us back to why, how,
whence such beauty and what
the meaning; Such
an oracular fever? Flowing
past windows, an energy it seemed
would never ebb, never settle.
Less than lovely? And only now,
deep into night,
it has finally ended.
The silence
is immense,
and the heavens still hold
a million candles; nowhere
the familiar things;
Stars, the moon,
the darkness we expect
and nightly turn from. Trees
glitter like castles of ribbons, the broad fields
smolder with light, a passing
creekbed lies
heaped with shining hills;
and through the questions
that have assailed us all day
remain--not a single
answer has been found--
walking out now
into the silence and the light
under the trees,
and through the fields,
feels like one.

A tiny snowbird suns himself on the russet stalks of Autumn Joy.


Anonymous said...

Oh how lovely, Marnie. The silence of snow is a wonderful thought. Your little snowbird, Junco? on the sedum is a winter joy!

Sherri said...

I love the snow junco (the little bird) on your autumn sedum. They are so cute! Thanks for sharing your beautiful snow and winter garden pics with us!

F Cameron said...


I want snow this year! It's been awhile since we've been graced with as pretty a picture as you've posted.

Your little Junco is one of my favorites! They are all over my garden every morning in the winter. They forage the ground and never use our feeders.


Jan said...

Hi Marnie, I have no idea how I've missed visiting your blog. Your name is very familiar and I think I've been here before, but honestly, on 2nd look I'm noticing how beautiful it is here. I was just reminded to come over here by reading Tina's recent post. WOW, it's like finding a gold mine! I love your bird photos in your sidebar (kind of looks a little like mine:) I'm a bird lover, too. These garden walk photos are are all of yours. I've joined your followers list, if that's ok? I'm shocked that I haven't done it before now. But, what a treat to discover it now:) Jan/ThanksFor2Day

Cosmo said...

Gorgeous post, Marnie. Your sedum is so striking coming up out of the snow--the junco must have known it would be the perfect backdrop for his photo. I guess I wouldn't mind a little snow here--but not until school starts again (I want my snow days!)

Unknown said...

Everyone knows by now that I cannot get enough of the snow photos, just beautiful!!! The silence of snow....mmmmm, it's really silent in this area. haha

flydragon said...

Love seeing photos of other people's snow. We have lots of snowbirds here too, but so far they haven't brought the snow with them, just a few dustings. That's okay by me, but I'm sure it won't last for much longer.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Frances, yes I always have dozens, sometimes hundreds, of juncos foraging under the feeders. Some have learned to use the simple feeders like the platform and the coconut shells.

Hi Sherri, I wish I could tell the little bird how popular he is with bloggers.

Hi Cameron, I see more of the little juncos on the hanging platform feeder and in the coconut feeders. They never seem to learn how to use the tube feeders.


Roses and Lilacs said...

Hello Jan, thank you so much for stopping to visit and leaving a message. I love finding new gardeners and birders to share ideas with. I see you are lucky enough to have bluebirds. Even tho I have fruit trees I've never seen a bluebird on my farm. I have houses up if they ever visit me.

Hey Cosmo, I know what you mean. I would miss the snow if we went a season without any. If we could only schedule it for special occasions like Christmas eve.


Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Darla, don't we always want what's on the other side of the hill. Right now warm weather, orange groves, and green plants seem perfect to me. You have those things and dream of snow;)

Hi Flydragon, a little snow goes a long way;) Last year we had a lot of snow. It's looking that way again this year.


marmee said...

lovely words along with lovely photos, especially the bird on sedum. our birds seem to be having fun in the snow this morning like little frisky things.

tina said...

Just beautiful. One thing that strikes me in the poem is the 'silence' of snow. That makes it all the more wonderful.

Phillip Oliver said...

We got snow yesterday and I took some photos this morning. It is so pretty!

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Marmee, thank you. I really enjoy marking these little occasions on the blog. BB (before blogging) a lot of things went byunnoticed. Ho-hum one more snowfall.

Hi Tina, not only is snow silent when it falls but it muffles all sound. A heavy blanket of snow makes an oddly silent world around you. Kind of insulates your senses.


walk2write said...

What a lovely, peaceful scene, Marnie. It makes me almost wish for snow. I actually thought we might get some here yesterday when I heard that New Orleans got some and even Biloxi was expecting it. Wow, is it ever cold outside! Did you get the effect of full moon light on the snow last night? I remember it being almost impossible to sleep with that kind of glow outside.

Anonymous said...

Awesome! I love the curves of snow hills around the plants. It is peaceful and exciting at the same time.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi W2W, I heard it made quite a mess in New Orleans. I agree, even when the moon isn't full, there is strange reflection from the snow.

Hi FlowerGardenGirl, I agree the shapes of drifted snow can be more beautiful than sculpture.


Barbee' said...

Lovely post!

Anonymous said...

I love Mary Oliver's poems, I am going to post one for Sat..

troutbirder said...

What a lovely poem. I'm not a winter person really but you've reminded beauty is everywhere. Even in the leftover's of summers winter garden. Thanks Marnie!

Balisha said...

Great post Marnie,
It was a real treat reading this today. I love the snow photos and of course the little favorite... a junco.

Melissa said...

beautiful 'little' landscapes - and the junco is so sweet...

F Cameron said...

I don't use platform feeders because of the squirrels. I need to figure out a solution. The cardinals use the hanging tube feeders just fine.

beckie said...

Marnie, you have a lovely snow-ours has all melted. Mary Oliver's
poem does capture the magic. And I love the picture of the junco. Have a great Holiday!

joey said...

Smitten by your fanciful shapes and sculpture created 'at the whim of whirling winds' ... a stunning photo that warmed my heart, Marnie.

TC said...

First snows are always the prettiest. And not meaning to sound cynical, second and third ones are no longer wanted.

Gorgeous photos Marnie.

Pat said...

Amazing, you made snow look so inviting,almost dreamy with your photopraphy skills. Now I'm starting to wish we had snow :)

BrightBoy said...

So beautiful, the description and the picture. We get very little snow here.

The first photograph looks fanciful enough to come from a Dr. Seuss book, the way the thin, lazy trees droop next to the great curving mound of snow and bushes.

oldcrow61 said...

A beautiful poem. The pictures are marvelous.

Cindy said...

Oh, I love your little snowbird! Ever since it has snowed here the other day I have been itching to get outside and walk in the woods. Today I'll get my chance, I can't wait.

Rose said...

This is such a beautiful post, Marnie! While I do get tired of the snow as winter wears on, the pristine white of the snowfall before trampled on by humans is lovely. I'm beginning to be quite a fan of Mary Oliver; the perfect poem for your photos.

Joe said...

Beautiful pictures...snow is so lovely.

TYRA Hallsénius Lindhe said...

Hi Marnie, I'm amazed by your photos today, just love the light, mild and very 'Decemberish' / I wish you a lovely Advent/ Tyra

Q said...

Dear Marnie,
Lovely snow garden! The Junco just adds the perfect touch.
Thank you.
These are inspiring photographs. Looking at the gardens as is and seeing the beauty is what it is all about.
I am looking forward to a snow storm coming in tomorrow.

Meems said...

Hi Marnie,
I do love seeing the beautiful photos of snow laden earth. The words, "it's white rhetoric everywhere
calling us back to why, how,
whence such beauty and what
the meaning" struck me this cool Florida morning. I'll look forward to enjoying the snow through your lens this winter.

The Birdlady said...

This is very beautiful.

Nan and =^..^= said...

Hi Marnie,
I also love the snow and all of the birds one sees in peaceful, quiet and beautiful.

We have experienced an ice storm here in Maine, which is a different story especially when you lose power for over a day without any backup heat.
It started Thursday night and caused so many power outages, many still don't have it back. Ours returned on Sat. afternoon...the house reached a low of 44 degrees. By Friday afternoon the sun appeared
and we never got snow, just rain that froze on everything! This storm affected many states including New Hampshire, Massachusetts, parts of Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania. We are so happy to have the heat back on and lights!

Take care,

Cordwood Cabin said...

Gardens are so beautiful in the winter ... I always find something a little beautiful but forgotten in those dried stalks and seed pods, the vines twisted and frozen by Jack Frost (or Mother Nature's featherbed, as the case may be). Your photos are beautiful (and making me long for a white Christmas!)

sweetbay said...

Great pictures -- snow is so beautiful when it's new.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely display of winter sculpture in the garden! I just love the way new snow makes a garden look so interesting!

Gail said...


Lovely just lovely snow scenes. Mary Oliver's poem is perfect but you last line... is very nearly a haiku and beautiful


Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Love the snow drifts and the snow bird. We had rain overnight, all night. RAIN! I ask you!
~ Monica

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Barbee, thank you for the kind comment;)

RamblingWoods, I've become quite a fan of Mary Oliver. Guess you are too.

Hi Troutbirder, I'm not a fan either. If you live in the north as we do, it's just something to endure and make the best of.


Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Balisha, more fan mail for the junco;)

Hi Me, thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I really appreciate everyone's thoughts.

Hi Cameron, when I lived in the south, the cardinals used various hanging feeders. These birds up north are apparently not as smart;) I have squirrel problems too. I have baffles on everything.

Beckie, thank you. She has so many nice poems about nature.

Hi Joey, I'm glad you liked the snow scenes.


Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi TC, if only we could wish them away.

Hi Patsi, snow is much nicer in photos or on the warm side of a window pane.

BlackenedBoy, thank you for visiting and for taking the time to leave such a kind comment.

Roses and Lilacs said...

OldCrow, thank you, I appreciate your kind thoughts.

Hi Cindy, I hope you had a lovely walk.

Hey Rose, another snow storm this afternoon. Winter hasn't even officially started yet.


Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Parsec, thank you for the comment. I'm happy you stopped by.

Tyra, what a nice comment. Thank you.

Hi Sherry, I hope you got your lovely snow and are enjoying the beauty.

Hi Meems, as I enjoy seeing the lush colors of Florida here in the frozen north;)

Birdlady, thank you.


Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Nan (and the cats;) I heard about how severe the storm was on the national news. I visited your page and was glad to see they got your power back on. Fingers crossed for you and everyone out east in that ice storm.

Hi Cordwood, I agree snow really emphasizes the shapes and textures.

Sweetbay, yes, when it is still white with no boot tracks and dried brown grass showing thru.


Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi PerennialGardener, that's one of the benefits of leaving the perennials standing all winter.

Hi Gail, I have to admit I'm don't know anything about haiku;) Guess I need to read a little about it. I see in mentioned a lot.

Hi Monica, as long as it isn't freezing rain. We expect that here on Thursday.