One Word Photo Challenge: Seafoam

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Seafoam; such a soft pastel color hovering between green and blue.  This color always transports me back to the color palette of the 1950s.  It feels cool.  It tastes minty to the eyes.

Definitely a watery color, it remains far more chic than the fluffy beige foam which washes up on east coast beaches.



Artemesia last October


This color proved a challenge for me this week, in case you were wondering, Jenny.  The closest I could find in nature were the greenish greys of Artemesia and Lichens.



Which is how this week’s challenge inspired a newly minted moss garden, using a tiny pot purchased from the artist.

The pot was probably made by local Williamsburg artist John Watters.  I can’t quite read the signature to be sure, but it was made in 2013.  John works with delicious glazes in lovely blues and greens.  There is no drainage in this little pot, but I laid a layer of gravel, sand and glass chips below the soil.


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The plant is a tiny Begonia Rex surrounded by mosses and lichens scraped from the garden.  It will grow on happily here for a few months until I can transplant it into something larger and set it outside in the shade.

Do you see the sheen of silver on its leaves?  In the bright sun earlier today it looked as though its leaves were covered in finely ground garnets.  So beautiful!


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And we had beautiful sun today.  Each sunny day now feels like a gift.  Each day brings us closer to spring, and will make it that much easier to find color in the garden once again.

With appreciation to Jennifer Nichole Wells

and her One Word Photo Challenge:  Seafoam


Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014-2015

To Delight A Passerby

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A fallen tree, teeming with life, caught my eye as we were out driving last Sunday afternoon.  Lush and green, it stood out against our wintery landscape of greys and muddy browns.


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It has been fallen for a few years, from the look of it; lying where some forgotten windstorm left it, normally hidden from view in the edge of the forest.

But the leaves are down now, allowing glimpses into the hidden places.


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It is an interesting geography of ravines and ridges, creeks and fallen timber.

One glance piqued my curiosity enough that we made a point of stopping on the way home.


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The ravine is steep enough that I didn’t climb down to take photos close up.  Perhaps another day in my climbing boots I’ll make the hike.

We’ve had abundant rain for a while now, supporting luxuriant moss, lichens, and shelf fungus.


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And I can only imagine the hidden colonies of tiny insects living below this green carpet of moss, in the bark and interior of the tree.


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Such a wonder!

Nature uses every resource, allowing nothing to go to waste.  And does it in such style, creating this lovely garden on a falling tree, to delight a passerby on a cold and grey wintery day.


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“The Holy Land is everywhere”

Nicholas Black Elk


*  *  *

“Knowing nature is part of knowing God.

Faith directs us to the invisible God,

but leads us back from God

to the entire visible world.”

Arnold Albert van Ruler


Woodland Gnome 2015

Green World

December 24, 2014 green world 008.

What to get for the guy who has nearly everything?

A world of his own, of course!

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Welcome to “Green World.”

This little environment is almost self-sustaining.  Did you get interested in terrariums when they were popular back in the 1970’s?  Those were often completely enclosed, needing little to no attention for months at a time.

What was old is new again, and terrariums have come back in fashion.  Today’s terrariums are a little less rigorous, with small openings to allow fresh air to circulate.


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This little terrarium is made with divisions from plants I’ve kept going this winter.  In addition to the mosses, collected from the garden during a break in the rain, there is a tender lady fern, strawberry Begonia divisions (Saxifraga stolonifera) , and some bits of of moss fern,  Selaginella pallenscens.

The plant divisions are a bit spare now, but within a month or so they will begin to fill in.  And it will get a bit crowded and need division by this time next year.  This fern is especially vigorous, growing to about 14″ tall and sending out many runners.  The strawberry Begonia gets its name from the tiny plants it produces on the tips of long stems.


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As you look closely, you may notice lots of little plants growing up through the mosses.  There are several different varieties of moss, and bits of lichen.

The lichen on the branch will continue to live, drawing moisture from the air.


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Examining the tiny plants is relaxing.  It is a beautiful, green respite in the midst of December.  A tiny breath of spring…

The little landscape is completed with quartz and apophyllite crystals.  The cluster of very bright crystals is apophyllite.

Bright, indirect light and occasional watering to keep things moist will keep this little green world alive and growing.  It is a Christmas gift for a special member of my family.

It is Christmas Eve, and our preparations are now completed.


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Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Woodland Gnome

Still Playing Around With Wreathes

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Today I’ve translated my ideas for some unusual wreathes into substance.


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Eliza Waters makes the excellent point that we make our wreathes and arrangements for the joy of doing it.  We do it for our own pleasure, and the pleasure of our loved ones.  (in the comments, here)

The judgement or approval of others is not really a factor when we’re just “playing around.”


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And I’m still playing around with using moss, sticks, lichens and ivy in winter decorations.


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My partner likes these, and so do I.

We have so many birds in our garden that most years they’ve tried to build little nests in our wreathes.

We have to be very careful how we open our door that we don’t invite one inside accidentally.



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So we took it to the extreme, and peopled our wreathes with little wooden birds to begin with.

Do you think the real birds will still visit the wreathes? 



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I’m guessing they’ll find the moss irresistible for lining their nests, and I may need to patch these up from time to time!

The sticks are dead branches from Azalea and Mountain Laurel.  I gave the Mountain Laurel a light wash of white acrylic paint for contrast against our door.



The shells come from the coast of North Carolina, picked up a few years back on vacation.

The moss is all purchased from the crafts store and glued on to the straw wreath forms with hot glue.

The ivy is all alive, roots tucked into a little plastic wrapped package of soil and wet moss.  I hope it will grow additional roots into the wet moss over the  next few weeks.



We love having  these  living, growing wreaths for Christmas.  They reflect our garden and the things we enjoy. 



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Woodland Gnome 2014


Holiday Wreath Challenge 2014

Our Forest Garden- The Journey Continues

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