Tag Archives: birch trees

Winter is Here!

December 17th, 2014 | 2 Comments »

Snow came early this year — our first snowfall was in the middle of November.

A light snow frosts rocks by the driveway.
A light snow dusted rocks by the driveway in the year’s first snowfall.


The light snow added glamour to slightly tattered bergenia leaves. Sunlight shining through exposed the veins and highlighted the range of colours.


The range of colours warms a cold day.
Even a thick leaf can look transparent when the sun is at the right angle.


The snow didn’t last, thank goodness. In fact, we had a few days of almost warm weather, tricking the magnolia into thinking that winter wouldn’t come.


A fuzzy magnolia bud: a promise of spring.
A fuzzy magnolia bud: a promise of spring.


Blooms on the witchhazel (Hammamaelis virginiana) added a touch of gold.

How would you describe these blooms?
How would you describe these blooms? Like feather dusters? Like a sweater unraveling?


But winter did come, of course. And with a real dump of snow.

Snow covers the front steps.
Heavy snow covering the front steps meant lots of heavy shovelling.


Last year about this time we lost power for almost a week, thanks to a horrendous ice storm. A large birch tree by the driveway was bent over, almost to the ground, under the weight of ice. After a few weeks, when the storm was over and power restored, we winched the tree upright and secured it with cables to a tree on the other side of the drive.


Cables attached to the birch tree on the right are holding it erect.
Cables attached to the birch tree on the right are holding it erect. Look hard and you can see them silhouetted against a cloud.


We plan to leave the cables in place over the winter, then release them in the spring. We think the top of the tree will pull to the right then and straighten up.

This weekend’s storm added a cap of snow to the sculpture I made several years ago to honour my husband’s career as a journalist. I call it Webster’s Column: for many years he wrote a column for two different newspapers, one in English and one in French, so the shape of the sculpture was a given. Filling it with newspapers seemed fitting as well.


Webster's Column in the snow
Webster’s Column stands up to the snow. I like the reflections of bare branches in the glass: they connect the sculpture to the world around it.


The last few days have been an arrangement in black and grey (Whistler’s mother has not been seen.) The weather will change, of course, bringing more snow and the glorious days when blue skies reign over a frosted world.

We haven't seen a day like this so far -- but it will come.
We haven’t seen a day like this so far — but the day will come. It always does.


Until then, happy holidays!

Vertical Gardens: how high can they go?

February 24th, 2014 | 3 Comments »
Worth Avenue defines high end shopping in Palm Beach, Florida. High end appears in a different guise at a junction beside the avenue, where a vertical garden clothes a bare wall. Eleven different types of plants make up this wall. Late day shadows make the wall look less interesting than it is, but a close-up shows some of the variety of textures and shades of green that create the 840 square foot wall. In total, almost 11,000 plants create a stunning curvilinear design. Four textures and four shades of green.