November 27, 2010

Hoary frost

For some reason, the term “hoary frost” is sticking in my mind today. It’s that beautiful white, hairy frost that coats and clings to branches, leaves, and buds early in the morning before the sun has a chance to melt it. Several sources explain that hoary frost (or hoar frost or hoarfrost) forms when the air is humid and warmer than the ground temperature.

It’s a beautiful sight—although not something I’m planning to capture in a photo because I’d rather be in a warm house looking out at it. But you never know, I might get bold.

Here’s a great explanation and photos of hoary frost:

I’ve also been thinking about that Star Magnolia tree and its plump, furry buds. I went back this morning to try to capture a shot. I snapped this mediocre photo and ran back to the car because I was cold and in great need of some coffee:

I think I’ll go back tomorrow and try to get some better shots. Maybe one of these days I’ll even capture a shot of the hairy Magnolia buds coated in hoary frost.

“…Seed-time and harvest, heat and hoary frost. Shall hold their course, till fire purge all things new.” - John Milton, Paradise Lost


  1. Dear Beth, Hoar frost is indeed a wondrous sight and only comes, as you say, when the weather conditions are just right. Meanwhile the Magnolia buds are in their fur coats....just exactly what is needed at present!!

  2. Hi! I wanted to let you know that the blog carnival “How to Find Great Plants, Issue #1″ was published today and includes your post on peonies. Thanks for participating!

    Your hoary frost photo makes me think of when my sister and I were little. We picked the fuzzy pods off the Japanese magnolia tree and pretended they were rabbit's feet.

  3. Edith: It's such a joy to hear from you. I'm enjoying your blog, too.

    Eliza: Thanks for including me in your blog carnival!

  4. I enjoy the way each season has its beauty. It is challenging to take pictures in the winter, and I have trouble because the sun is always so low on the horizon. When it is extra cold, my batteries don't last long. :)

  5. Yes, the battery power is an issue, along with my frosty fingers!