When it’s cold but dry outside, I sometimes wander around in the yard looking for some beauty in forms or at least, something unusual.
These Coneflowers (Echinacea) are a good place to start. I like their spiky ball shape and the way the light creates different color tones. The name Echinacea comes from the Greek word meaning sea urchin. That spiny center certainly looks like one.
This past year Coneflowers became one of my favorite flowers because the petals and central disk have bright colors and demand attention.
The branches and seed pods on this Blue Curls (Phacelia congesta) strikes me as interesting. In a state known for its Bluebonnets, this native loses out on the spotlight. But it has beautiful light blue bell shaped blossoms that grow on curling stems.
The dried flower heads of Gomphrena (Gomphrena haageana) in their winter gold make me anxious for their bright red color to return. Lots of seeds should have fallen to produce a good crop this coming spring. Another fave.
A few orange-rust colored leaves cling to this Flame Acanthus (Acanthaceaae Anisacanthus wrightii) creating a stained glass window look. Maybe my imagination is too strong.
Bare branches emphasis a characteristic of the Chinkapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii). The bark loses its outer layers on the trunk and larger branches.
As with other white oaks, the Chinkapin is a hardwood used in building construction.
The curly leaves of Woodland Ferns take on an artistic look in the winter. They are crisp and look like they would crumble easily. But past experience reminds me that they are difficult to pull out of the bed to prepare for new shoots in the spring. So I use loppers to chop them off at the ground.
With little shade in my yard, they occupy the only flowerbed that receives almost no direct light.
How fortunate we are to live where the skies are clear and vast. When I think of all the millions of people who only see smog when they look up, it makes me sad for them.
Love the buttermilk sky.
Plants, trees, and skies remind of God’s daily grace.
“Counting other people’s sins does not make one a saint.” Unknown