Friday 27 November 2009

Surrounded By Beauty

Glorious Sunset

At this time of year, when the plants in the garden are dying back and the weather is getting colder, we gardeners have to look elsewhere for beauty and sustenance to keep our spirits up. With me, pleasure is often to be found in skywatching. At the beginning of November, just after we had changed the clocks, we had a succession of stunning sunsets which lasted over a few nights.

Fiery Sunset

The intense beauty never fails to takes my breath away, for beauty is all about things which touch our heartstrings. I love how the pale pink rays merge with the deep blues of the evening sky, and change dramatically into deep, burnishing gold. They remind me of Turneresque skies reflected in his beautiful sea paintings.

Beautiful Sunset

One evening I took a little video, panning across the horizon, when, all of a sudden, the sound of bleating lambs broke the silence, as if they were crying out at the wonder of it all. Y-e-e-e-s-s, y-e-e-e-s-s! If you listen carefully, you will hear them at the end of the music which I chose to accompany the footage...and it had to be Agnus Dei, of course.

Whooper Swans and Bewick Swans

Two fields away from Barleycorn, with all the weeks of incessant rain we have been experiencing, the local river has flooded its plains. This is a boon to the thousands of greylag geese and the hundreds of swans which migrate from Iceland and Siberia every year to overwinter here.

Whooper Swans, Bewick Swans and Lapwings

Whooper swans have longer necks than our resident Mute swans, and have yellow and black beaks as opposed to the mute's reddish-orange beak. Bewick swans are also smaller than Whooper swans and have more yellow on their beaks. Whoopers bugle with a whooping sound which gives them their name.

Greylag Geese

Greylag geese have pink or orange bills and pink feet, which distinguishes them from other geese. They can also be recognised by their sheer bulk, being bigger and paler than other grey geese, and, in flight, they look completely grey. In our area, they arrive in their thousands each morning, flying overhead and feeding in the river estuaries, flooded grassland and arable fields, often to the farmers' annoyance. I, however, welcome them, and take every opportunity to observe them.

Frost On Honeysuckle Berries

Apart from the rain we have also had some of our first frosts of Winter. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than wrapping up warmly and going for a wander around the magical garden. Overnight, Jack Frost had waved his magic wand and transformed the dying-back of the year into a Winter wonderland.

Frost On Pond Grasses

Isn't it wonderful that Mankind has no control over the weather? Imagine the wars that would create...deciding who would have sun and who rain, or wind or snow! A frosty walk in Winter brings so much pleasure. At the very least, it makes us thankful to warm ourselves indoors afterwards. At best, it is an opportunity to observe detail in the garden more closely while everything in it, from the tiny lichens to the tallest tree, is outlined in fairy frosting.

Frost On Alchemilla Mollis

Why does frost seem to heighten the magic of the garden? The exquisite hairs on a leaf outlined in frost, the frozen pond with life still swimming underneath the ice, the veins of grasses decorated in frosting, the stiff needles glistening on the cedar, one's nostrils like a dragon breathing smoke...all to be savoured...a red-letter day, which seemed more precious than the day before because of the magic in the night. Yes, we have the science to explain it all, but, our hearts tell us a different story, for gardening, and beauty, are all about feelings.

Taz, The Barn Cat

Taz, the barn cat, ever faithful, ever by my side on my walks around the garden. If you listen carefully, you will hear him speaking to me too. Y-e-s, y-e-s, very beautiful, I'm sure. Don't forget to turn up the volume to hear the wonderful Agnus Dei, a fitting tribute to all the beauty surrounding me.


sandy said...

Your photos are gorgeous and oh...the frost on the blueberries, beautiful. Good to see a new post.

sandy said...

whoops make that honeysuckle berries.

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

There is such delicate beauty in the morning frost, and Taz is such a delightfully willing subject. But I don't think there is anything more beautiful than a sunset. The colors you captured are spectacular. It is good to hear that some small good has come of all the torrential rains the UK had. Imagine all the snow it could have been if it had been just a few weeks later!

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Hi Wildy, wonderful photos and thoughts. I always find beauty outside, though my home isn't in as open an area so I don't have as broad views of sunset--but the skies sure get pretty, anyway. This time of year I love Christmas--I love vintage decorations and am tickled pink each year to set everything up. Happy is where you make it.

Laura Paine Carr said...

I am always (with good reason!) excited to see that you have done a posting: Again, exquisite. I love the geese, and imagine the awesome joy of being near their migration habitat. It is a meditation to take camera in hand and wander (nice to have a cat to accompany one!). Thank you ! I return to savor...

A wildlife gardener said...

Good Morning, and a warm welcome to our little corner of paradise :)

* Great to have your company, Sandy :)

Glad you enjoyed the post...and I enjoyed seeing the frosted honeysuckle berries, as if the fruits had been crystallised :)

* Welcome, once again, Morning Glories In round Rock...lovely to see you :)

I agree, the glorious sunsets are spectacular to see... and we have them infrequently in those magical colours which makes them extra special :)

* Lovely to see you again, Monica :)

You are so right, happiness is where the heart is...and this is such a happy season :)

* Dear make my day with your kind thoughts and comments :)

It is a blessing to have the swans and the geese for company throughout the winter. When the garden is dying back the wildlife bring us joy :)

Deb said...

Such gorgeous photos & sweet Taz looks like a wonderful garden companion ♥

joey said...

Wow, I always know I'm in for a treat when I visit! A delightful journey with you and your beautiful Barleycorn ... awesome music choice for your video. May the coming holidays fill your heart with joy!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your nice comments about my Baltimore Oriole pictures on my Birds Blog.

I do like all of your photos of birds I never see in my backyard. So I don't have any photos of anything to compare with your pictures on this post today. I did have a female mallard duck land in my back yard once and I got some pictures of her before she decided to leave.

Naturegirl said...

This visit with you was so calming and good salve for my soul.thank you for inviting me..a wonderful place to heal and of course the kitty made me smile!
purr-Zzz. =^>^= NG

Jeanne said...

Absolutely beautiful my darling one
Everything you share is exquisite
Love you

A wildlife gardener said...

Good Afternoon, One and All, and welcome to our little corner of paradise :)

* I always appreciate you visiting me, dear Deb...and thank you for your generous comments :)

* So glad you came, dear Joey...and thank you for mentioning the misic as it takes me a while to decide something appropriate...Blessings to you and yours :)

* Thanks for coming by, Dear Abe :)

As I love all your photography I'll take it as a compliment that you enjoyed the post :)

* Dear Nature Girl, you are most welcome...I am so glad you found respite here in the garden...job done, as far as I am concerned :)

* Lovely to have your company, as always, dear Jeanne, and thank you for all your encouragement :)

Wanda said...

Good Morning....thanks for stopping by and reminding me to come over and enjoy your beautiful post.
Every picture is to die for... You bring such beauty to us.

May I ask permission to use your photo "Beautiful Sky" for my Sky Watch Friday picture this week?
I will link back to your post, so all the SWF people can enjoy your array of beauty.
Love and Hugs

Marie said...

Gorgeous post!

Hug from Marie :)

A wildlife gardener said...

* A warm welcome back, dear Wanda...I am so glad you enjoyed the post :)

It would be a pleasure to share the Beautiful sky photo with you :)

* Wonderful to see you, as always, Dear Marie :)

Cheryl said...

Dear Wildlife Gardener....I leave you full of emotion....your choice of music fits so beautifully with the world that surrounds you. Each and every day my heart fills with joy as I walk my gardens.....

I love Taz....he is such a sweet barn cat......

Duxbury Ramblers said...

Hi WG,
I love looking at photos (always have) the sunsets are fantastic, Taz is lovely and the honeysuckle, grasses and the ladies mantle all frosted took me straight back to my childhood stories of Jack Frost out with his paint brush all night long :)


A wildlife gardener said...

* Good Morning, Dear Cheryl, you and me both love walking in our gardens where we find joy and peace and sustenance for the soul...we are such kindred spirits :)

* Dear Duxbury Ramblers, I, too, am taken back to the excitement of my childhood when I'm in the garden on frosty days. I sometimes even skip along...just to give my Hubbie a laugh! I used to when I was a child :)

Shirley said...

Hi again Wildlife Gardener, I poured myself a coffee… sat back in my chair and thoroughly enjoyed your monthly show :-D

Wonderful photos through skies and frosts with a video for you to treasure too. Thanks for sharing November in your garden. You’ve set me up for the day… now back to the panic that is food prep for the holiday season. My freezer is defrosting… bags of veg await… it’s a day for making soup and… ;-)

Wishing you a magical December at Barleycorn :-D

A wildlife gardener said...

* Good Morning, Dear Shirl, always a pleasure to have your company in the garden :)

Thank you for your encouraging comments...praise indeed coming from someone who is a master (or should that be mistress?)at videoing wildlife in her garden :)

Leigh From Larrapin said...

It is so wonderful to see your lovely blog again. Thank you for sharing it with us!

A wildlife gardener said...

* Good Morning, Tony. I am quite happy with my diary on Blogger, thank you. Thanks for visiting and for your encouraging words :)

* Welcome, Leigh...I am glad your enjoyed your visit. Come again :)

Laura Paine Carr said...

Hello again, Ms. Wildlife!

It has become impossible for me to reach Bimbimbi's blog... and I do not have her email. Would it be possible for you to reach her and request she email me?

Yes. That is roundabout, but that is as far as I can think at this moment!


Ruth Welter said...

Hi WG, I couldn't agree more, at this time of the year, we gardeners need something to focus on....for me it is my inside garden.

Your sky photos are just beautiful...gorgeous photography as always. Beautiful kitty as well. Take good care.


A wildlife gardener said...

* Good morning and welcome back, dear Swallowtail...I am sorry I do not have Binbimbie's email address either. On her blog she says she is taking time off for a while :)

* Lovely to see you, dear Ruth :)

I have no doubt your indoor creativity will keep your spirits up, what with all your lovely artwork :)

Sorrow said...

I often feel that The vibrant colors of a winter sky fill in heavens need for the lack of flowers.
Your garden rests, and what do you do oh wonderful artist?

A wildlife gardener said...

* Good morning, dear Sorrow, and a warm welcome, once again, to our little corner of paradise. It's wonderful to have your company :)

You ask what occupies me in the winter garden. I concentrate on light and beauty, as always.

The greenery of the conifers, the holly, the cedar and the ivy comes into its own - punctuating the garden as they do - standing out bold against the silhouettes of the deciduous trees.

I enjoy observing the variety of birds at the feeding stations, feasting on the abundance of seed my Hubbie has put out for them.

I look for the miracle of life under the frozen pond.

I wander around, camera in hand, aiming to capture the intricacy of spider's webs, or the magic of Jack Frost, or the silhouetees of trees against the winter sky.

Indoors, I bustle about, baking and cooking and filling the freezer for my hungry brood coming home for Christmas, as if I were expecting the 5000.

I clear away a mountain of clutter on my desk with a view to drawing some more family portraits in the Spring... :)

Sheila said...

WG your post and lovely video are an oasis of calm in an otherwise far too busy week for me.
The sunsets are glorious.
In case I am unable to get back here before Christmas, let me wish you and hubby a very Happy Christmas, and thank you for the love and support you have shown me this past year. It is appreciated so very much.
big hugs

A wildlife gardener said...

* Wonderful to welcome you on this chilly Monday morning, dear Sheila :)

I am glad you found the video calming for that was my aim. We all seem to lead such frenetically busy lives nowadays. I think we put too much pressure on ourselves and don't take enough time to 'stop and smell the roses'...

Thank you for all your faithful and gracious comments this past year...and I will email you shortly :)

Q said...

Thank you for a delightful and beautiful walk in your world. The sunsets and frosts are just perfect!
I also feel the need for winter walks. I am looking out of my home office window this morning. The gardens are blanketed in a layer of snow and the birds are coming and going to the feeders.
It is cold 9F-,(-13C). This afternoon I will bundle up and feed the birds.
I have been posting on my main blog, Q's Corner. My walking blog has been dormant for some time since my husband and I began walking in the evenings.
Always a joy to visit you.
Stay warm,

A wildlife gardener said...

A warm welcome to you, dear Sherry, on this frosty day in december :)

Your landscape sounds dreamy to me...all that snow with delightful birds to observe at the feeding stations :)

I will pop over and pay you a visit on your other blog...

Thank you for all your generous comments...a joy to have your company :)

Barbara said...

The title of this post is indeed perfectly chosen. You are surrounded by pure beauty and it was a pleasure to walk around with you! Wishing you all the very best for 2010! Happy New Year to you and your family!