Sunday, February 8, 2015

Awaiting the Turn from Brown to Green

American beech (Fagus grandifolia)
As we move into February, warmish and sunny days tease our senses. We long for spring, but these are some of the brownest days of all. 

Perennial stems, once tall and straight even in death, have collapsed under the rains and cold nights. Their ragged, soggy limbs lie crumpled against the withered leaves of fall.

Sparkling rays of sunshine fall on empty seed capsules, highlighting their vacant vessels. Their job is done and their emptiness has a beauty of its own. After all, the capsule is a testament to their fertility.

Hibiscus coccineus capsule

Among the brown, in Georgia, there are spots of green. They are plants that never really go away; they are just dozing in the sunshine. I’m sure they are gathering energy; I've never known nature to let good stuff go to waste.  

A Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides) here, an ebony spleenwort (Asplenium platyneuron) there … plus a scattered assortment of perennial herbs like green and gold (Chrysogonum virginianum) and the leafy rosettes of cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis).  

Tiny Christmas fern in the grass

I am glad to have the green, but by now I yearn for more than that. I want flowers. I want flowers, not just for themselves but for the rest of life that they bring. With flowers come insects: bees, butterflies, moths and caterpillars. Even flies (flower flies, that is) would be welcome. With insects come birds in abundance. The whole place comes alive!

A few more brown days I must endure. Nature comes in her own time, but … I just saw a single trout lily leaf (Erythronium umbilicatum) poking through the pine straw. The end of brown is near.


  1. I am waiting for the green, too.

  2. I'm itching for spring blooms. I too have grown weary of brown. It's time for a change.