Snow day

I love how snow can reveal or highlight patterns that otherwise remain hidden. A sudden change in weather, or the gradual dance from season to season changes our perspective. Scenes and plants that we have grown accustomed to suddenly pop in new, surprising ways.

Snow in the foothills of the Oregon Coastal Range
View from bedroom. I was debating whether I should get up because there was a 2 hour work delay.

We had just a smidgen of snow on February 23rd. Just enough to change things up and freshen my outlook. There is something magical about snow shadows. That stark contrast between the snow and the areas underneath the trees where little has fallen. I like walking through a forest on days like this, looking out from the shadows into the quiet light.

Snow shadow underneath the grand fir tree
Snow shadow underneath the grand fir

Honestly, I also like how a good snow can make everyone hibernate at home for a bit. The quiet is revealing. No cars and trucks zooming by, no constant blah blah blah echoing everywhere to distract you. Snow makes a good respite for introverts, if you’re paying attention and can get out in it before everyone else.

Snow on the greenhouse
A second debate ensued about whether I wanted go out and take pictures. Yes, yes I did.
But not before I had one of our Semla and some coffee. That's a cardamom bun with almond paste and fresh whipped cream.

The potted plants look more decorative in this state. I like how snow hides a lot of ugly.

Snow even makes an old black plastic look better. The wine barrel rings that I saved for some undetermined future project almost look like an artistic statement in an of themselves. Accidental elegant design through laziness.

Pausing to admire this simple, yet classy device (the folding chair) for keeping precious seedlings up out of reach from the rabbits. There is a flat of seedlings on the seat. The buckets are collecting rain water. Not very glamorous, I’m afraid. Hoping this is a temporary measure for a “temporary” rabbit.

Okay, enough of that. Heading to the back yard to look for those hidden patterns.

Rock garden covered in snow
Looking up into the woods from the rock garden
Hummingbird feeder covered in snow
The hummingbirds were not pleased. I took a moment to fix the situation.
Pittosporum divaricatum plant covered in snow
Pittosporum divaricatum looking good in white
Euphorbia wulfeniis plant covered in snow
Euphorbia wulfenii

Now heading to the gardens along the side of the house.

Phygelius plant in the snow
I liked the little black teardrops of last year's dead flowers on this Phygelius
Snow on a sword fern, Polystichum munitum
Polystichum munitum, one of our native ferns
Snow on climbing rose
Snow on a climbing rose
Snow on Muehlenbeckia astonii
Snow highlighting squiggly branches of Muehlenbeckia astonii
Snow on an opuntia cactus
Cylindropuntia of some sort enjoying the weather
Snow on Pinus mugo Winter Sonne
Pinus mugo 'Winter Sonne'
Snow pattern on bricks
Pattern on the walkway
Differential pattern of snow on crushed basalt driveway
A hidden pattern in the driveway. We hadn't driven over this yet. I was thinking about why the snow might melt faster on top of the gravel that had been compacted by our tires.
The even distribution of pine needles and other fallen debris revealed by snow on the driveway.
The even distribution of pine needles and other fallen debris revealed by snow on the driveway.

Moving to the front garden. I tried to get a good photo of the snow and how it highlights the branch structure of Aristotelia fruticosa. I wasn’t very successful, but I am going to make you look at three pictures of it anyway because I like this plant a lot and think its form is worth showing off.

Aristotelia fruticosa
Overall form of Aristotelia fruticosa
Snow on Aristotelia fruitcosa
Looking up into the branches, you can see how each little branch arches down. That is unusual.
Snow on Aristotelia fruticosa branches
Closer view of branch structure. Not good enough! At this point, I was getting cold.
A dwarf ivy covered in snow
A dwarf ivy (Hedera helix) I picked up from somewhere. This one is in no danger of escaping. Grows 2" or less each year. Pagoda-esque in the snow.
Yucca recurvifolia 'Margaritaville' in the snow
Yucca recurvifolia 'Margaritaville'. I'm sure there's a joke in there somewhere
Yucca linearifolia in the snow
Yucca linearifolia. Pattern is much more stiff and spoke-like than Y. recurvifolia
Moai head out in the snow
Moai head looking stern and cold. There are a few glimpses of yellow winter aconites tucked in nearby.
Snow on shrubs
A favorite color combination. Rich shades of rustic brown (Fagus sylvatica) and dark green (Garrya elliptica) contrast starkly with the snow. Better in person.
Spines on Ribes lobbii covered in snow
Prickly and cold, Ribes lobbii

Heading to work. I had to stop and take a few more photos.

Tire tracks in the snow
This was too beautiful to pass up
Tire tracks in the snow
Can you imagine this pattern on a leaf?
Young Douglasfir covered in snow
Roads were still snowy, but not too slick to drive.
Douglas-fir covered in snow
Douglasfir covered in snow. The scene reminds me a bit of Norway.
Snow-covered oak on a snowy road
Old, snow covered Garry oak (Quercus garryana) next to the road
Snow covered road in western Oregon
Driving through the trees
Snowy road in western Oregon
Soon after, looking out from the snow shadow underneath the Dougfir trees

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Kris P

    The patterns are very interesting! Snow always makes everything look mysterious and, in my imagination at least, the affected area seem silent. Of course, snow’s mostly a foreign concept for me as I’ve only seen it a half-dozen times in person. I suspect that’s true of many long-time residents of coastal Southern California and why many recently had difficulty distinguishing graupel (soft hail) from snow.

    1. Garden Curmudgeon

      I think I would miss it if we didn’t get snow at least once per year. Once is enough. I always think I will go up into the mountains to enjoy it, but I never do.

    1. Garden Curmudgeon

      I also didn’t get 10+ inches of snow this year. It is getting a little old to get snow every few days though.

  2. Anna K

    I love a good snowfall! Great captures of so many beautiful patterns. Those last landscape shots made me miss living in a place with real winters. Sure, it’s colder, but they are not as dreary and gray. I appreciate how it brightens my days during the colder months. Your semla looks positively mouthwatering! I didn’t make any this year, and now I regret it. 🙁

    1. Garden Curmudgeon

      Having spent part of my childhood in the Midwest, I miss a good snowfall too. Of course, we didn’t have so many broadleaf evergreens to worry about breaking under the weight of the snow. I was reading that semla are often made for Easter, so it’s not too late. Honestly, there so good that I would make them any time.

Leave a Reply