In Search of Winter Color

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The Interplay of Color and Texture

The last snowfall, now several days past, and the sustained cold days have added a new element of beauty to Nevada City and its surroundings. Snow still lingers in many places, creating a stark contrast to wintertime colors, while pools of frozen water reflect deep blue skies. Every morning one can find hoar frost –a collection of frozen crystals formed by our current conditions of freezing temperatures and clear skies- along pine needle pathways or crowning winter grasses. Meanwhile, the sun’s rays, while lower in the sky, seem to have the intensity of a spotlight and highlight the variety of winter color provided by Hawthorn and Toyon berries, rose hips, colored bark, the burgundy leaves of Oregon grape, and dormant grass foliage. Sometimes, it may be less obvious and more like stumbling across hidden treasure, as with certain bright blooms that can still be found. The Salvia nemerosa has been blooming since summer. Others, like Camellia, are just beginning to bloom.

These days, the evenings are also an incredible time to catch the complexity of winter color. In Nevada City, with our mixture of evergreens and deciduous trees, some of which still carry a handful of leaves, the setting sun can light up an entire hillside in a display of rich golden-green color and textures.