Winter Interest - The Eye of the Beholder

Posted by @evermorelawnless on
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Maybe. But I’d argue that the phrase is six words too long. Beauty is. It just is. And if anything needs to be tuned, it’s the beholder’s eye. That’s true in my case, at least. This article illustrates how my vision has changed…or, better, maybe I’ve opened my eyes to things I was blind to previously.

I’m not a big fan of winter nor have I heretofore been much of a gardener. I spent my summers on a farm/ranch and didn’t pay very much attention to growing things, apart from seeing them as crops…yields…fresh corn that was on the stalk when I put the water on to boil. But in the last few years, I’ve taken a more active interest in first the aesthetics of gardening…and then the process itself. And my vision has changed…or, better, maybe I’ve opened my eyes to things I was blind to previously.

So this Winter Interest piece is going to be from my point of view – the point of view of a middle-aged guy with, effectively, toddler’s eyes. I’m new to much of this and expect that I’m seeing stuff from a relatively immature point of view (compared to many of the rest of you).

Parenthetically, this has been a rather strange year on the western slope of the Rockies. Last year, we had two feet of snow still in the foothills in February. Yesterday, it was sixty-five degrees here. We dodged most of the brutality of winter this year, so many of the pictures in this piece don’t reflect normal here. But it was and still is winter…and that variability might be part of a broader point.

I’ve been thinking about this article in two rather broad (and arguably artificial) categories:
1) The annual cycle of gardens and the individual entities therein
2) The aesthetics of a winter (dormant) garden

I have a few thoughts on each, which follow. Also, thanks to the neatest woman I’ve ever met (mostly because she tolerates me and even seems to like me), the unwashed cetacean (@dirtdorphins), for many of the pictures that appear here in this article.

The Circle of Life
Last fall, I started this thread: The thread "The Circle of Life: everything else" in All Things Gardening forum
The introduction reads, in part:
Most of the time when we photograph plants, we do it at the apex of their beauty. But there's clearly a purpose for the entire life cycle of a plant or flower. It has a job to do (and is doing that job) from sprouting to growing to flowering to seeding to dying - and then starting the cycle again.
I find beauty in the entire cycle - from the potential in the seeds themselves to the contribution of the decomposition that gives the next generations a chance to complete their leg of the ever spiraling cycle(s).
So this thread is about anything but the apex of what we think of as youth's beauty...and finding beauty throughout the cycle. And, of course, this is probably a metaphor for other things, too ;).

I'll start. Here's a hibiscus about three days past its prime. I defy anyone to tell me that there's not wonder in it still:

Thumb of 2014-11-13/evermorelawnless/0027ac

I was gratified with the reception, response, and participation. There truly is beauty in all aspects of the life cycle of living things…and the systems in which they are able to cycle. The entire thread is worth looking at, to be sure. Here are a few photos that Dirtdorphins and I contributed (or should have contributed if I didn’t post them there). I'm very much running out of time for this, and I promised this article, so for now these will remain captionless, but the bees and early bloomers are from January and the first couple of days of February (look closely for the frost flowers blooming on the window. So, excuse the random order and have a look at the thread. Others have contributed magnificent shots not seen here. It's worth your time to look at them. It really is.

Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/cc87e6 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/11d8f0 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/b02a4b Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/523be8 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/3c306a Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/a3feb2 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/fe3db1 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/8f259a Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/9cf1e8 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/9ec4c8 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/dcf7f7 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/0220bb Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/7ac7e5 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/a2ad1b Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/b62319 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/48f3d1 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/4f504b Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/bad0aa Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/1c0a92 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/92aa3c Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/835965 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/86ba98 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/1eb288 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/973a10 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/6183ff Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/8b9738 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/fcfb8c Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/616475 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/90c29e Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/fbe746 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/d8773e Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/c41362 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/a95315 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/d5c6ef Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/37fc48 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/e5815e Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/0e0000 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/554fef Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/4cc4c5 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/74e044 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/4a57ba Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/8d725e Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/2d6d71 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/605d2c Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/ba0c22 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/5d8845

Other examples of winter shots and circling life can be found in these threads:
The thread "Budget close-ups - Adding a flash to the mix" in Photography Tips & Techniques forum
The thread "The Classifieds, $35.00, and closeups (or the end of a notsosane obsession?)" in Photography Tips & Techniques forum

Winter (and seasonal) Aesthetics
I’ve often called Dirtdorphin’s gardens fireworks in slow motion. From early spring until snow falls, there’s always something interesting going on. But it wasn’t until this year that I noticed that she selects plants not only for their winter aesthetics, but also for the design of the gardens themselves – the shapes and colors of the boulders and the plants and the trees and even the ornaments and fixtures/infrastructure all work together to please the eye and the heart, irrespective of the season - or for each season or part of the cycle specifically. Her gardens and their design create a stark contrast to the municipal or industrial rows-of-box-store-marigolds-and-petunias-pull-them-out-in-the-fall-leaving-nothing-but-bare-earth “gardens” that one often sees. And another wall of photos...but each displaying winter's potential beauty. Feel free to stop clicking once you're sated. The photos below were mostly taken by her own garden.

Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/759771 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/b0869e Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/474f60 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/9ae1ca Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/28c8d9 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/29df3b Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/00a6f8 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/b23efa Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/7f1125 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/6fb799 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/85bad6 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/e5ce2d Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/38acd2 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/879984 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/6de138 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/de50d6 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/c4edd1 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/475ae9 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/8fe476 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/712a67 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/3353ed Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/2177bd Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/b400f4 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/916eab Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/98d3ea Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/55c0db Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/10c8f4 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/abfbc9 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/a1b585 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/72c4ae Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/4bc8aa Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/03805d Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/d2f307 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/79c19c Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/7aaac5 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/d78055 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/5205c1 Thumb of 2015-02-13/evermorelawnless/66e963

Comments and discussion:
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Winter garden by MS Feb 21, 2015 9:04 AM 0
Beautiful! by crittergarden Feb 21, 2015 8:38 AM 2

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