WPC: Wall of Bald Cypress Roots

March 12, 2015 watershed 054

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Walls are supports as well as barriers.  They add a decorative touch in gardens; a sense of enclosure and privacy.  Walls offer structure to our landscapes as well as to our homes. Walls give us protection from the elements and a sense of  security.

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March 12, 2015 watershed 044

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This week the Daily Post’s  Weekly Photo Challenge asks photographers to share photos of walls which reveal a sense of place; telling us something important about that place.

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The Chickahominy River flows into the James, then on to the Chesapeake Bay.

Knobby roots of the Cypress trees form a wall along the beach, protecting the river’s bank.

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Roots of the Bald Cypress trees growing on the bank of the Chickahominy river form a wall, a barrier, along the beach.  Bald Cypress, Taxodium distichum, one of the hardest of hardwoods, is recognized by its rock-hard knobby roots which grow out in all directions from the tree’s trunk.

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March 12, 2015 watershed 051

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Cypress can be found growing along rivers and in swamps throughout our region.  A deciduous conifer, the Bald Cypress is an ancient tree.  Fossils prove they were growing in this region more than 8 million years ago, and a single tree may live for well over 1000 years.

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March 12, 2015 watershed 058

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The Cypress roots which line this beach also protect it.  They hold the soil and sand in place to control erosion during flooding and storms.

They form a protective barrier for the beach, a living, breathing wall of roots.

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March 12, 2015 watershed 053

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Woodland Gnome 2015

Finding the Moon

December 20 sunrise 006

Again this morning, I was up and moving well before sunrise.  In fact, I was at the computer, watching for lightening skies through the window blinds when I was summoned.  “You have to see this!” my newly risen partner called. And when I followed the call, what beauty filled the skies.

December 20 sunrise 010It was a pink and golden dawn.  I found the camera and took photos of the trees silhouetted  against the sunrise skies towards the east.  But then,  looking around a bit more, was thrilled to find we had a 360 degree panorama sunrise this morning.

The sky was beautiful towards the north and west as well, where the waning moon was nestled in the branches of a tree.  Finally, I had found the moon.

Our shortest day of the year is tomorrow, with the sun not rising until nearly 7:30 in the morning, and setting before 5 PM.  The moon won’t even appear until after 8 PM.  The tea time hours darken so quickly this time of year, with night descending over the landscape with firm finality.  December 20 sunrise 012

I was on the road yesterday, racing to be at home before darkness had settled on our rush hour streets.  I was delayed leaving by only a few minutes, but still drove the last 20 miles in ever deepening twilight, straining against the glare of headlights to weave through traffic and find the way home.  My reward was the beauty of Christmas lights in front yards along the way.

As we approach this longest night, every minute of daylight seems that much more precious; and every brightly wrapped tree and lit window more appreciated.  It is a good time to gather with loved ones to celebrate the many joys and blessings of the year.December 20 sunrise 015

This solstice time is full of beauty and promise.  As surely as the sun and moon follow their tracks through the sky, so our days will lighten and lengthen yet again.  The buds will swell, seeds will sprout, and the new year will unfold.

“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape, the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. 

Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn’t show.”

Andrew Wyeth

December 20 sunrise 017

All Photos by Woodland Gnome 2013

PaintThe Sky  (Forest Garden)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Let There Be Light!

Bruton Parish, on Duke of Gloucester Street in Colonial Williamsburg.

Bruton Parish, on Duke of Gloucester Street in Colonial Williamsburg.

The Grand Illumination in Colonial Williamsburg is this coming weekend, on Sunday evening, and I’ve wanted all week to walk on Duke of Gloucester Street to see the wreathes and decorations while they’re fresh.  Each day lately has been filled to the brim, and so the trip was pushed into this afternoon.  And then it rained.  So much of the United States is preparing for a winter storm with snow and ice; but we are looking at a stretch of rain here in Williamsburg, just as the town fills with visitors for one of the biggest events of the year.

Lights are already lit inside the church.

Lights are already lit inside the church.

The rain stopped in early afternoon, but it looked like dusk by 2:30.  The air was heavy with moisture, every surface wet, with patches of lichen and moss thriving on trees trunks and wooden roofs.  Candles shone from windows here and there, and twinkle lights outside of restaurants were already lit.

Twinkle lights dress the Crepe Myrtle trees on Duke of Gloucester Street.

Twinkle lights dress the Crepe Myrtle trees on Duke of Gloucester Street.

A grey December day; but it didn’t affect the crowd.  Parking scarce, it was business as usual for a weekday afternoon on Duke of Gloucester Street.  And Christmas decorations are just going up in preparation for the weekend.

Colonial Williamsburg’s decorations are made mostly with fresh and dried botanicals.  Dried citrus slices, cones, seed pods, dried flowers, and evergreens are mixed with fresh fruit, spices, feathers and ribbon.  They are all hand made in the days leading up to the Grand Illumination.  Each year the designs are a little bit different, so it is always a surprise to walk around and see what the designers have created.

Ready made wreathes are offered for sale in the CW garden.

Ready made wreathes are offered for sale in the CW garden.

Wreathes and arrangements are available for sale at the garden across from Bruton Parish Church, as are the materials needed to make ones’ own.

Williamsburg is much greener today than it was in Colonial Times.  Trees were cut in the 17th and 18th century for timber and to clear land for farming.  Over the years many old and stately trees have grown back, so the area is lush today with gardens, hedges, and beautiful trees.December 5 2013 DOG St 037

In spite of a heavy brooding sky, lowering with more rain as we walked, CW felt bright and festive today.  Happy visitors strolled from building to building enjoying the decorations, the horses, the lush gardens, and the novelty of finding such an interesting place set down in the middle of a beautiful town.

There was plenty of light for a December afternoon.

A wreath for sale at the garden.

A wreath for sale at the garden.

Deck the halls with boughs of holly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Tis the season to be jolly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Don we now our gay apparel,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la.
Troll the ancient Yule tide carol,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

December 5 2013 DOG St 024See the blazing Yule before us,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Strike the harp and join the chorus.
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Follow me in merry measure,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
While I tell of Yule tide treasure,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

December 5 2013 DOG St 014Fast away the old year passes,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Hail the new, ye lads and lasses,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Sing we joyous, all together,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Heedless of the wind and weather,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Traditional

16th Century Welsh Carol

All Photos by Woodland Gnome 2013

Our Forest Garden- The Journey Continues

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