November 19, 2013

November's Tiny Gardens

This morning I woke up to a snow-dusted landscape, but yesterday was mild, with temperatures in the 50s. I had done a load of laundry in the morning and when I realized how warm it was I decided to hang it outdoors, for perhaps the last time this season. As I stepped into the backyard, I noticed that the colors of the dried plants were enriched by previous night's rain; I also saw that the mosses, refreshed by recent rain and snow, were back to their brilliant greens. Looking at them closely is like entering worlds in miniature, with mountain peaks and deep valleys, with primeval forests and hanging gardens.

On the same plum tree stump as the garden above is this decorative frill of lichen, delicate in color but extravagant in form.

The stone walls surrounding the yard are now covered with life: mosses, small plants, grasses. The lush green is set to engulf the stone.

A black rock sparkles with a pattern of small dots and the cups of fruiting bodies, making a beautiful haze of color. *As always, you can click on the images to enlarge them to see more detail.

Another tiny forest covers a rock, with fruiting bodies like towering ancient trees.

This lichen surprised me with its repeated circular forms, looking as though carefully designed in color, shape, and placement.

Dead ferns are gracefully arranged on a green ground, having some of the elegance of Art Nouveau's organic patterns.

When I looked from the stone walls toward the Burning Bush in front of the barn, I saw a green haze of branches topped by red twigs, the green a similar shield lichen to the one shown on the plum tree stump. Branch and trunk and rock host life on their surfaces, but we have to pay attention in order to see it.


  1. How often have I tried to capture these little worlds in terrariums? Beautiful shots.

    1. Thanks, Lisa. I've never tried to grow a terrarium, but I always love looking at them.