WPC: Vibrant

January 29, 2016 vibrant 009

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“Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing?

Can one really explain this? no.

Just as one can never learn how to paint.”

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Pablo Picasso

This week’s photo challenge topic is just what I needed today:

“This week, share a photo of something vibrant.
Vivid colors, a lively portrait, or perhaps a delightfully colorful landscape, if you’re in a warmer climate.
Let’s wash the web with a rainbow of colors to keep the winter gloom at bay.”

What a wonderful idea!  We could all use some rainbow colors right about now, as January melts away into February.

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Sunset Wednesday evening along the James River. When I saw the colors in the sky reflected in the river, I just had to stop and try to capture it in a photo.

Sunset Wednesday evening along the James River. When I saw the colors in the sky reflected in the river, I just had to stop and try to capture it in a photo.

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“Let me, O let me bathe my soul in colours;

let me swallow the sunset and drink the rainbow.”

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Kahlil Gibran

There hasn’t been a great deal of color outside, lately, and I miss it.  Snow still blankets parts of the garden.  Other parts remain cloaked in wet brown leaves.  Bright moss peaks out here and there, but nature’s range of color has shrunk into winter neutrals.

But this photo challenge inspired me to go on a treasure hunt today, searching for glorious vibrant colors in the garden.  I was amazed to find how quickly many of our plants have recovered from last weekend’s winter storm, and regained their color and vitality.

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January 29, 2016 vibrant 004

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“Mere color, unspoiled by meaning,

and unallied with definite form,

can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways. ”

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Oscar Wilde

This color speaks to me of the miraculous power in the life force of plants.  These cabbage leaves froze last night, and spent several days under a dome of frozen snow.  Yet what color!  These leaves survived, and the plant is steadily growing new ones from its heart.  I had to observe closely, but was able to find gold and red, purple, green, pink and orange; living colors in the midst of winter.

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Yes, this dandelion is blooming in our garden today like a tiny sun ....

Yes, this dandelion is blooming in our garden today like a tiny sun, blazing with energy and optimism ….

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“The beauty and mystery of this world

only emerges through affection, attention,

interest and compassion . . .

open your eyes wide and actually see

this world by attending

to its colors, details and irony.”

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Orhan Pamuk

Robin, at Breezes at Dawn, has been participating in the Three Day Quote Challenge.  She was invited by our mutual friend, Eliza.  Both have  issued a general invitation for any of their followers to join in.  Robin published a quotation today from one of my long time favorite authors, Benjamin Hoff.

How can I resist?  Robin and Eliza, I am joining your challenge, and inviting my other blogging friends to join us as well.

The rules are simple:  Post an inspirational, uplifting quote for three consecutive days, and invite three other bloggers to join you.  If you are reading this, please consider yourself invited.

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We adopted this lovely Yucca 'Color Guard' from Brent and Becky's shop in Gloucester late last summer. It seems to be holding its own through the cold.

We adopted this lovely Yucca ‘Color Guard’ from Brent and Becky’s shop in Gloucester late last summer. It seems to be holding its own through the cold.

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Just as ‘… two colors, put one next to the other sing…’ ;  this is often true with people, too.  We find a harmony together, and each brings out the best in the other.

I feel this way about Eliza and Robin, and the conversations we have with one another and the inspiration we offer one another through our presence in our blogs.  If you’ve not met them yet, I hope you’ll follow these links to find their beautiful photos and thoughtful quotations from the quotation challenge.

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Purple Sage, still growing despite the cold.

Purple Sage, still growing despite the cold.

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It takes a little more energy and effort to remain vibrant through the winter months.  But what beauty shines now, for those who seek it out.

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January 29, 2016 vibrant 017

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For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge: Vibrant

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January 27, 2016 Parkway 040

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Woodland Gnome 2016

 

Wordless Wednesday

February 17, 2015 leaf garden 011

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“Endurance:

It is the spirit which can bear things,

not simply with resignation, but with blazing hope.

It is the quality which keeps a man on his feet

with his face to the wind.

It is the virtue which can transmute the hardest trial

into glory because beyond the pain it sees the goal.”

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Anonymous

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February 17, 2015 leaf garden 012

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

Winter’s “Flowers”

Ornamental Kale

Ornamental Kale

 

Look at what is “blooming” in our garden! 

We are just past the Winter Solstice, and the coldest weeks of winter stretch before us.  Our days may be growing almost imperceptibly longer, but frigid Arctic air sweeps across the country, dipping down to bring frosty days and nights well to our south.

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Lichens

Shelf fungus

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Our garden looks a very different place at the moment, mostly withered and brown.  But even now, we enjoy bright spots of color and healthy green leaves.

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January 4, 2014 garden 054.

Some we planned for, some are a gift of nature.

All are infinitely appreciated and enjoyed!

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Ornamental Kale with Violas and dusty miller

Ornamental kale with Violas and dusty miller

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We garden in Zone 7b, here in coastal Virginia.  We are just a little too far north and a little too far inland to enjoy the balmy 8a of Virginia Beach and Carolina’s Outer Banks.  We will have nights in the teens and days which never go above freezing… likely later this week!

But there are still many plants which not only survive our winters, but will grow and bloom right through them!

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Camellia, "Jingle Bells" begins blooming in mid-December each year, just in time to bloom for Christmas.

Camellia, “Jingle Bells” begins blooming in mid-December each year, just in time to bloom for Christmas.

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I saw the first scape of Hellebore rising above its crown of leaves yesterday, topped with a cluster of tight little buds.  Our Hellebores will open their first buds later this month.

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Hellebore with a new leaf emerging.  Bloom scapes have emerged on some plants in the garden.

Hellebore with a new leaf emerging. Bloom scapes have emerged on some plants in the garden.

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Snowdrops are also poking above the soil line now in several pots.  Snowdrops, named for their ability to grow right up through the snow as they come into bloom, open the season of “spring” bulbs for us each year.

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January 4, 2014 garden 057.

Camellias and Violas remain in bloom, and our Mahonia shrubs have crowned themselves in golden flowers, just beginning to open.

There are several other shrubs which will bloom here in January and February.  Witch hazel, Hamamelis virginiana, is on my wishlist, and I hope to add it to our garden this season.

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Mahonia

Mahonia

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Our Forsythia are covered in tight yellow buds, ready to open in February.  Our Edgeworthia chrysantha has tight silvery white buds dangling from every tiny branch.

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Edgeworthia

Edgeworthia

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They look like white wrapped Hershey’s kisses, or tiny ornaments left from Christmas.  These will open in  early March into large, fragrant flowers before the shrub’s leaves appear.

Although many of our garden plants are hibernating under ground, or are just enduring these weeks of cold until warmth wakes them up to fresh growth, we have a few hardy souls who take the weather in their stride.

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January 4, 2014 garden 065.

This is their time to shine. 

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014-2015

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Male flowers have appeared on our Hazel nut trees.  We will enjoy their beauty for the next several months.

Male pollen bearing “flowers”  have appeared on our native  Hazel nut trees. We will enjoy their beauty for the next several months.

 

 

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