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Embracing scruffiness

I love a good hoar frost. A week or so ago I was looking at my neglected garden, with the fallen leaves turning to mush and the borders still bristling with the skeletons of last year’s herbaceous perennials. Around them the noses of snowdrops were poking through, some just showing, others at the upright “white spear” stage, and a few clumps actually in flower.

Galanthus elwesii, early flowering clone

Galanthus elwesii, early flowering clone

And so I was thinking, as I always do at this time of year, “I really must get out here and tidy up the old dead stems, so we’ll be able to see the bulbs properly…” but then I thought, as I always do at this time of year, “No, leave them a bit longer, we might get a hoar frost, they always look so fantastic after a good frost…” and voilà! Both Thursday and Friday nights brought the most magical transformation, extravagantly edging stems and leaves with glittering spines of purest crystal.

Hoar frost on bramble

Hoar frost on bramble

This (above) is a bramble, or blackberry if you prefer – a very spiny plant. But plenty of prickle-less plants had been fully armed by the frost. (Click on thumbnails below for larger images)
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Hoar frost on twig and buds

Hoar frost on twig and buds

All photos are copyright © Simon Garbutt. Larger files of these images are available.
Please email me if you’d like to use them elsewhere.

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