December 1, 2015

Dried Plants: Color, Shape. Pattern

Before the ground is covered with snow I want to celebrate the browns and grays and dirty yellows, the interesting shapes and patterns, of plants whose growing season is over. It's a very different beauty from the greens of spring and summer, but the subtleties I see now have very attractive qualities. The mallow seed heads above are delicately veined and translucent, opening to show the black seeds inside. There's a burst of weathered red, worn and shrunken, of a rose hip.

Thin lines of dried daylily leaves make paths across a granite rock.

The cut-back leaves of Siberian iris are a burnt sienna hue, and have a texture like a head of unruly spiked hair.

There are also tall columns of stately leaves....maybe phlox?

One of my favorite plants––baptisia, or False Indigo––has leaves and seed pods that turn black in the fall.

Some leaves curl upwards, like gently closed hands, showing different colors inside and out.

The dried leaves of the annoyingly invasive Canary reed grass are a bright light ochre at this time of year, and seem to catch light.

Then there are the ferns, whose rich red-browns add a deeper tone to the landscape. Some ferns are a complex tangle....

....and others have simpler, more elegant curves. This dried frond looks especially beautiful alongside the gray-green lichen. Even the dying end of the year has its loveliness.


  1. Your eye and words transform the split second.

  2. Absolutely.
    He or she who has eyes to see....let him or her see!
    How blessed to be able to see at all!

  3. So beautiful in that moment before the first snow. I love the way everything morphs into new colors and configurations. I have a large bouquet of dried items from the garden with a lot of ferns and they have all dried and curled in vastly different ways.

  4. Thank you, all, for looking at this loveliness with me.