W4W: Weathered

Weather Report: “Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there’s really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather” ~John Ruskin

How we all love to talk about the weather, especially gardeners. And this winter one could say the weather has been particularly unusual. So it is apropos that the Word for Wednesday hosted by Donna at Garden Walk Garden Talk is Weathered. Be sure to link over to read Donna's in depth post on our changing climate as well as to see other interpretations of weathered gardens.

I searched my photo archives for any images I had taken that demonstrate how my garden had been altered in color, texture, composition or form from exposure to weather. It was more challenging than I anticipated. What I did find were some more artistic expressions of "weathered" in nature.

The hosta leaves that were hit by a hard frost earlier this month begin their decay but still provide interesting shapes.

Some old, weathered bird houses in a friends garden have seen better days but provide pops of color.

This picture was taken this summer in Pascagoula, Mississippi near my in-laws farm. The cypress trees found in the swamps along the coast provide protection against erosion and flooding in this area. These forested swamps are like a "speed bump" for the storm surge caused by hurricanes.

These roots near Falls Park in Greenville, South Carolina have been exposed from years of erosion and weathering. People have also left their mark with carved graffiti on the bare roots. You can check out an interactive image of this Medusa tree here.

I love the creative elements that are naturally produced in gnarled limbs, fallen trees and stumps giving them a worn appearance.

A wasp hive, long abandoned, sits amongst the fallen leaves to decay and return to nature provides some interesting texture to the winterscape.

While the snow and cold altered the structure of the fungi on this fallen tree making them sag and droop giving them a tatty look.

Freezing temperatures created a shear of ice on parts of this flooded area in a Michigan park we visited over our Christmas travels to my family. Living in the south I don't often see both ice and water like this. It is beautiful.

When we visit in summer we spend a lot of time along the Lake Michigan coast which is made up of sand dunes. These dunes are constantly eroding due to winds blowing shoreward at up to 25 mph.

Lichens, fungi, mosses, grasses, wildflowers, shrubs and trees are all part of the dunes ecosystem. These plants have evolved to adapt to the harsh environment. The dune grass helps hold the sand in place and protect from the wind erosion.

This time last year north Georgia was covered in a blanket of snow. December this year has been much milder with temperatures a good 10 degrees or higher than average. These extremes really create unpredictable conditions for plants. I have plants blooming already that under normal conditions don't bloom until February.

Japanese Flowering Apricot 


How does your weathered garden look?


  1. I love the picture of the ice on the pond in MI and the reflection in the water. Beautiful!! So much art in nature :-)

  2. I too love the image of the ice on the water. I clicked to make it bigger and ended up seeing all the images in slideshow format (worth it too), but once I clicked, I could not backspace. I must have missed the 'Back to the Post' button. I really enjoyed your weathered foliage and tree roots too. It is amazing what nature withstands like that Medusa tree. The Niagara Gorge has many trees hanging on for dear life with exposed roots, but it is often very dark in these areas to photograph. Thanks for adding your post during this busy holiday week. I love seeing how others approach a word.

  3. I loved the pics of the roots - so interesting, almost eerie. And the sand dunes! I never knew there were sand dunes in Michigan! And I love the quote. I think plants take the weather so much better than we do! They must live by that quote!

  4. Mine is white now ....what beautiful weathered images from all over during your travels...stunning!!

  5. Wow!!! You have some beautifully weathered images there...I'm not sure which ones I even like best. I kept scrolling down thinking, Oh! That's my favorite...no! That one is! etc. etc. :)

  6. same here with the weather...cold last year, warm this year. we have snowdrops already blooming, and several perennials have never stopped since they started back in the spring. do you have any new growth on your hostas? i do! that's kind of scary this time of year.

  7. Toni, there really is. I always look to nature for inspiration.

    Donna/GWGT, it was really cool to see the ice and water together. I am glad that my photo did it justice. It is amazing how some trees and plants can survive in really miserable conditions. It really demonstrates how resilient nature can be. So maybe there is more hope yet than what we think for survival.

    HolleyGarden, oh I agree...plants are much better troopers when it comes to the weather than I am! FYI, Michigan's shoreline represents the largest fresh water dune in the world.

    Thanks Donna, where was that snow when I traveled north? I was hoping for some interesting photos ops and my kids were looking forward to playing in the snow. Alas it was just very cold!

    Thanks Hanni! This was a fun post to search for photos. I often take photos because I find objects interesting so it was nice to be able to put some of them to use.

    Daricia, crazy isn't it! I will have to check my hostas. I keep wondering if I shouldn't go out and plant bulbs that I never got around to putting in the ground this fall.

  8. My weathered garden just looks dormant, instead of poetic. It has very little winter interest. I really loved your photos. The pix of the two holes in the tree stump looks like a pair of eyes.

  9. Your photos are fabulous. I especially like the one of the tree trunks in water and ice. I love the quote at the beginning of your post. I was just recently thinking about the bit of snow we had last winter and wondering if we might get some this year. Frost and snow does make for some beautiful winter scenes!

  10. This is a beautiful representation of the W4W "weathered." There is beauty in nature even as it withers, decomposes, and recycles. Lovely post.

  11. Thanks Greg!

    CM, I thought so too! Each year I am trying to add more to my garden to provide winter interest so it doesn't look so dull especially against the gray winter sky.

    Debsgarden, agreed! It looks like we will be getting some more winter like temperatures next week but I don't think we have any snow in the forecast...maybe some frost!

    Thanks PlantPostings! I am really fond of spent blooms and the structural elements they provide. I was obsessed with my milkweed pods earlier this month. Took tons of photos of them. :)

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  13. Hi Karin - I haven't been able to comment on your blog for a while.
    Enjoyed your interpretation of "weathered" - especially the roots (shame about the graffiti).
    Wishing you a Happy New Year!

  14. B-a-g, glad you were able to stop by! I appreciate your support! All the best for 2012!

  15. Your images are remarkable. They remind me of Andy Goldsworthy sculptures. Thanks for sharing the interactive link. It was fun to pan in and out. What an awesome tree!

  16. Gorgeous pictures! I love the one of the gnarled wood. Those cypress trees are so interesting.

    This has been such an unusually warm winter in NC as well. My poor plants are so confused! A lot of the bulbs I planted are coming up already, and my irises are budding.

  17. The art form of the gnarled tree roots and trunks is gorgeous. Beautiful expression of weathered! Wishing you and your family a joyous New Year, Karin! Thanks for all your comments and encouragement throughout 2011. You're a much treasured gardening friend ;)


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One of my favorite things about blogging is the conversation with readers. Leave a comment and let's get talking. ~Karin

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