Sunday, February 26, 2012

Winter palette, perennials and subtlety

As a gardener I am ready, ready, ready for springtime, annuals and gardens. But as an art appreciator, I enjoy the subtlety of late winter colors, especially in the perennials, shrubs, and trees that have hung on through the cold. The characteristic colors are mainly divided between early, early reds and later bright yellows and whites. I especially enjoy the interplay of dark reds, browns and grays.

My heucheras haven't done that well. I am afraid that I may have lost several of them. I won't know for a while, but I think the spot is too wet for them. The ones that have survived are showing great late winter, early spring color. Perennials often retain color and put out early growth here where I live and it helps me anticipate March and April and summer to follow.

The nandinas also develop an intense dark red before they begin sprouting their new season green growth. A few of these really brighten up a flower bed. And the maples are one of my favorites. I watch for the sap rising in the stems along the lake. One February day I look closely and the twigs and branches are red. I missed it this year, so I was surprised to look up at my workplace and see the trees already flowering.

Subtlety by definition is something easily missed. That is one of the things that makes it so enjoyable. It sneaks up on us, and gives our mind and senses time to engage and be in the moment. A lot of life isn't like that. All kinds of things happen and " smack us up the side of the head".  Subtlety is an invitation to engage our senses and savor life.


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