As the color fades

turkish hazel bark


By now the colors are definitely more muted in the garden.  Some remains —  a few  trees hanging on to their yellow leaves, the calendulas  STILL blooming. Today what really began to stand out as I  prowled the garden with the camera, was texture and shape. (duh). I am so entranced with– intoxicated by– color through spring, summer, and fall, that I forget to look with a more discerning eye for the shapes of things.  The unbelievable variety in the shapes and textures of the leaves that are yet green, and those that are not. The bark —  rough, smooth, furrowed, flaking,peeling, cracking, in many subtle shades of browns and grays.  The difference in the way the top and undersides of the same leaf reflect the light. The difference in form of the trees. Some tall and narrow, some spreading; twiggy or sparse, some with buds for next year standing out against the sky, and some with buds hidden.

rhododendron leaves

Then standing back: the landscape itself. The lack of color  allows me to see the big picture. One of my favorite things about the Botanical Gardens is the stone walls. These were built in the 1940s by the Work Projects Administration during the Depression. They are beautiful and well made. The contrast of the stones with the plants is wonderful and the walls have great texture on their own. They create the “room” of the main garden where the stage is. A little bit of clearing this past year has made some sections more visible. My early spring photos always include the walls because the delicate new foliage and flowers against the rough and enduring stonework is an irresistible image. Now, in this more subtle  season, the walls add texture, shape, and a sense of permanence to the landscape.

WPA plaque


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