The Gift of Frost

These photos were taken on Christmas Day. I was cook for the day, so was busy all morning with my turkey, listening to Woman’s Hour, peeling a mountain of sprouts, parsnips, carrots and potatoes. I just nipped outside to empty my peelings onto the compost heap.

There had been a sharp frost overnight, and it didn’t thaw through the day: these photos were taken just after midday.

What struck me, returning from the compost heap with my empty kitchen caddy, was how the sunlight was shining through the frost. There was a corona of light around the plant forms. What seems so dead and lifeless at this time of year, was touched with light.

This umbellifer was transformed into a glistening diadem.

It is at the interface between living thing and the outside world where the magic happens.

These raspberry canes were backlit. The outline of white emphasised their fine curlicues. They still have their dignity.

At our edges we are most vulnerable. These flowerheads of Hydrangea are paper-thin. With vulnerability comes delicacy, subtlety and grace.

The frost on Rosa rugosa emphasised their thorny spines. They are well-protected. The spikes are sparky. They provide a structure for spiders to weave fine threads.

The rosehips are topped with a twisted coronet. A little disorder and dishevelment is more interesting than perfect symmetry.

I was mesmerised by the textures of Rosa rugosa. There is a softness here, amongst the snags. It is a complex creature.

The pear tree is well-armoured for winter. It is wound around with a fleece of moth-eaten lichen, and strung with pearly cobwebs. New buds are waiting to burst, if we give them time.

Where at first glance it looks like this bed is bereft of all life, there is a hummock. Something is just starting to push through.

I didn’t hang around for long, but it was a lovely stolen moment on Christmas Day. The gift of frost meant that I looked carefully, and saw a little winter magic. Life can’t be all sunshine and roses. We need some hard frost to give us our edges and our definition.

The Mindful Gardener likes to bring you these stolen moments. If you would like to share them, you can click on the social media links below. And if you would like to receive an email notification for my twice-weekly posts, then click on the big ‘Follow’ button at the very bottom of this page.

43 Comments Add yours

  1. Emma Cownie says:

    Oh how beautiful! The frost and your photos.

  2. Heyjude says:

    Not to mention killing off a lot of pests!!

  3. I love how the skeletons of the garden come to life. Such beautiful photos!

  4. The category “little pops of wonder” caught my eye. So too your description, “At our edges we are most vulnerable.”

    1. That thought really struck me Angela. At first because my finger tips and nose felt the cold, but then because I realised it was the bits that interact with the world.

  5. Hooray for frost. I loved that phrase “interface between the living and outside world.” I wish I had thought of that! Great job Ali!!!!

    1. Thank you; I was not sure whether I would be able to communicate that message. I am glad I did. Thank you as always for reading.

  6. bcparkison says:

    It is fun to share your magical moments in the garden

  7. Poetry in pictures and words, Ali. What a lovely post – thank you for sharing your magical encounter with frost.

    1. Thank you; it was an unexpected moment.

  8. So beautiful! – both the pictures and your sentiments

  9. Those are so very beautiful. You were lucky to have such a lovely frost. I’m hoping now it has turned colder that we might get some!
    Happy New Year to you and yours. 🙂

    1. It is nice to have a wake-up blast, isn’t it?

    1. Thank you for the link, your support it much appreciated! Interesting what you say about L.D. Braithwaite – he is on his last chance this year in my garden!

  10. I loved visiting your frosty garden, Ali. Since I didn’t grow up with snow in winter, I’m well acquainted with gardens covered in frost, roof tops, too. Bare branches evoke a scene from Swan Lake ballet, and dried hydrangeas are the ballerinas tulle skirts.

    1. There are some plant forms that seem made for frost, aren’t there?

    1. Thank you for your lovely supportive words, Carol. x

  11. Cathy says:

    Well observed magic moments. Ali

    1. Thanks Cathy. By the way, your three rooted Salvia cuttings are giving me so much pleasure on the kitchen windowsill!

      1. Cathy says:

        Oh that’s so good to know, Ali. The phlox you gave me is doing fine, but the salvia cuttings didn”t take

      2. Shall I get some cuttings going and send them when they’re rooted?

      3. Cathy says:

        Ooh that would be lovely if you could, Ali. although I have found my later cuttings (end of Oct onwards) haven’t rooted yet…although are still looking healthy on their pots

  12. Jane Lurie says:

    A beautiful and thoughtful break from cooking. Wonderful frosty close-ups, Ali. 🙂

    1. Thank you Jane. They were very hurried and next time I will take a little more time over them, but they did capture a little bit of what I felt.

  13. Beautifully captured frosty details Ali! We’ve not really had any real frost so far this winter so I’m secretly hoping for a short-lived weather event here. Every one of your posts is a joy to read! 💖 Happy New New!

    1. That is such a lovely thing to say, Sabine. Thank your for your thoughtful comments. I always enjoy a sudden snowfall – it is so magical and always a welcome interruption!

  14. Luffy says:

    Beautiful photos. And I agree with your sentiments. Love a frosty day in which nature shows us a different face to the garden! ☺️

    1. It constantly amazes me how different the garden looks in different conditions.

  15. You really have a gift for capturing the beauty of all the seasons. I have struggled finding beauty on my last couple of walks. I need to pay more attention, I think.

    1. Some days it comes easier than others.

  16. Ann Mackay says:

    Lovely photographs and I very much enjoy your descriptions too – they bring a real sense of serenity and love of the natural world. 🙂

    1. Thank you Ann, I am so glad you liked it.

  17. I live in California so I don’t see much of this, but it is truly beautiful. I’m glad you had a few stolen moments to devote to your art. Best in 2019!

  18. It’s interesting what you see when you look!

    1. It is, Cynthia. There is always something we’ve never noticed before.

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