November 15, 2011

Transition time

I don’t recall a November as mild as this one. While writing this post, I sat on the screen porch listening to the wind chimes, the bird calls, and the kids across the street playing ball.

I’d think it was spring, except for the musky smell of decomposing leaves, the bare tree branches, and the lack of flowering plants. A few blossoms still survive—Mums, Liatris, and a few persistent potted annuals. But frankly, the more interesting features of the current landscape are the patterns and textures.

When I learned that Donna of Garden Walk, Garden Talk planned to focus on “texture” and “pattern” for this week’s “Word 4 Wednesday” meme, I was pleased. I’d planned to do a post on that theme for a while.

Often in the quest to photograph the most beautiful blooms in the garden, I find myself just as fascinated with intricate patterns and textures. Especially upon very close inspection. For example, when photographing Cosmos blossoms recently, it was the texture of the backlit petals that really sparkled.

From a distance, Moss just looks like a mass of green matter. But close up, the intricate textures and patterns of the tiny plants are mesmerizing.

Moss grows on the patio, too, giving the bricks more character.

Lichen forms on word surfaces in asymmetrical patterns.

Striations and Lichen on a granite rock tell stories about its history.

The unending Oak leaves I’ve grown tired of raking have a unique earthy structure that’s captivating—even if they are a boring brown.

The thickness and shiny surface structure of the evergreen Hellebore leaf showcase the plant’s hardiness.

The Shagbark Hickory appears to have a heart—I wonder if someone carved it there, or if it naturally formed this way?

Pine cones and branches lined up for winter kindling hold the promise of warmth in their fire-friendly form.

Blue Spruce is equally captivating on its own and with a dressing of white snow (which I will share another day).

The Cotoneaster shrub branches out in waves of green and crimson.

A child’s decorated rock from years gone by nestles next to translucent, decomposing Hosta leaves.

Apples stored on the porch look like perfect winter food—despite their lovely imperfections.

Flowers of all sorts come and go. Snow soon will fly and overstay her welcome. There are seasons to celebrate their splendor. I’m appreciating other simple things today—the patterns and textures of transition time.

(Be sure to head over to Garden Walk, Garden Talk to see the other Word 4 Wednesday posts.)


  1. Mild is right! Window boxes of cascading petunias are still in full bloom in mid-November!

  2. You brought up a very good point that was not covered yet in the use of texture in the landscape. One so important, that slipped my mind when I was writing my post and one everyone should be aware. You mentioned CHARACTER. And with character comes STORY. I hope no one interested in the tools of texture and pattern misses your post. Love your images too and noting the importance of seeing the textures close. That is the mystery too, the act of discovery, such an important tool in landscape design. Wonderful post and I am glad you were planning to do this one awhile ago.

  3. Wonderful post and I too loved that you mentioned character. Everyone's garden reflects their character and what they want it to say...the texture helps...I think this time of year is so lovely because we can see those patterns and textures better and then they are accentuated by frost and snow giving them yet another texture...lovely!!

  4. aloha,

    i loved seeing all the natural elements in your macro shots, they are works of art onto themselves.

  5. Loved looking at all your texture photos. I agree that the closer we look at something, the more texture we see, and more of its beauty.

  6. Great photos!! I love taking pictures of texture like this too. I could spend hours outside taking pictures like this! :-)


  7. Great selection of photos! I love the texture that you show in the garden and like others commented character is really what is at the heart of it all!

  8. @Phytophactor: Cascading Petunias! Wow, I can't claim that. But it does feel like October here. Great for last-minute garden chores.

    @Donna: Thanks! I don't think we notice the textures as much when there's so much color and drama during the other seasons. Sometimes when I peer around the bright leaves or the eye-popping blooms, the textures and patterns seem just as beautiful even though they play a supporting role.

    @Donna: Yes, I agree. I guess that's one benefit of having dramatic seasonal changes. We have a chance to really see the textures and patterns that form the foundations for our gardens.

  9. @Noel: Aloha! Thank you, you are very kind. I was looking at an Apple the other day and realized how beautiful it was--nearly perfect, but not quite.

    @Holley: Thanks. I was so thankful to have a little warmth while the photography is still comfortable. Soon I'll dread frozen fingers on cold camera buttons.

    @Amy: Me, too. Especially when it's warm and comfortable. I'm going to figure out what to do to motivate myself for winter photography. :(

    @Karin: Thank you! It's so wonderful to share the character, texture, and patterns from all of our gardens.

  10. You've taken some cool texture photos! Great post and lucky you enjoying the mild fall. I shouldn't complain because we had a nice one last year but not so this fall. It feels more like it's been winter already for the last month. :-( Maybe that will mean an early spring? I'm trying to be optimistic!!

  11. Lovely selection of photos for texture and pattern. This topic is expressed more fully, i realized, when someone has a close-up or macro lens, my wishlist.

  12. I share your love of texture and pattern, and I love your images of leaves, bark, stone. It pays to find the beauty in the detail, and you have captured it all beautifully. Great post!

  13. Great post! I love the textures in a photo of nature that hasn't been altered... (Love the heart in the tree)!

  14. Beautiful photos! I think this time of year when we're not overwhelmed with blooms we notice the smaller details and interesting images around us. You've captured some intriguing ones.

    It certainly has been a strange November--one day like summer and the next like winter. It makes me wonder what the upcoming months will be like.

  15. Loved the heart on the shagbark hickory. So many things we walk right by on a daily basis and the beauty is simply there, even in the moss on the bricks. Great post!

  16. Our fall has been mildish, too. I enjoyed all of your textures and such. I see you put your moss as your background. How cool!

  17. @Kathleen: Thank you. Our nice weather started late in the spring, so I guess it evens out. I'm sure the first snowstorm will seem especially shocking to the system this year.

    @Andrea: Thanks! You might be surprised by the shots you can get with a good digital camera. My previous camera was pretty basic and with enough light, even the macros were decent.

    @Janet: Thank you. I really enjoy these kinds of memes and photos. I find some of the patterns sort of hypnotizing and relaxing in a Zen kind of way.

  18. @Rebecca: Thanks! Yeah, the Shagbark image was sort of a surprise. I've looked at that bark for years and thought it was nifty. But I just noticed the heart recently!

    @Rose: You said it regarding the weather! On the weekend the highs were in the low 60s, and then last night the low was 22! We're being teased before the deep freeze hits.

    @Karen: So true! There's always something new to notice in the garden--even during the "boring" seasons. :)

    @Sue: Thanks! Yeah, I've been thrilled with our weather since May. A little cold last night and today, but no complaints--we've just been very fortunate this year, I guess.

  19. (blogger gave me an error on prvious comments so trying again in case it did not go through)
    but just wanted to say what a lovely textured patchwork you've put together. The amount of warmnth and sun we've had here has brightened the most boring of browns.

  20. You have been having fun - there are some great images here.

  21. Beautiful post! It's been fun reading all the blog posts about pattern and texture. It's just as important to design as size and color.

  22. Lovely seasonal photos! I like the moss background for your blog ...

  23. @Laura: Thank you! This was a very fun meme for me. I could take texture shots all day. Sorry about the Blogger hiccup.

    @Catharine: Yes, it was great fun! Thanks!

    @TS: Yes, I agree. The texture and form make a big difference. Someone mentioned taking black & white photos to really see the texture. Thanks!

    @Sheila: Thank you! Yeah, I'm going to try to use my own textures for backgrounds from now on. Soon the textures will be white and sparkly.

  24. Great post. Well done. Somtimes the close up view and attentions to the details is much more interesting. You sure did that..Thanks.

  25. Wonderful textures and patterns, and, mostly, I loved your Cosmos.
    Enjoy your mild fall, it's cold and foggy here in Venice, as you have seen... :(

  26. @Troutbirder: Thank you! It sure is fun. Not just taking the photos, but also the treasure hunt for fascinating patterns and textures.

    @Dona: Thanks! Yeah, it's been an amazing fall and it sounds like it will continue through Thanksgiving, at least. Hope the fog isn't keeping you down too much. I think fog is fascinating, if you have time to take things slowly.