Saturday, January 29, 2011

Woods Hollow Weeds

Another beautiful balmy day with still unspoiled snow. Where could I go to enjoy it? Today I chose Woods Hollow Nature Preserve in Ballston Spa, a beautiful pine woods and sand dunes area I often explore in the growing season for all the native plants I find there. But never had I visited there in winter. Time to see what it was like with its pond frozen over and its woods deep with snow.

Well, for one thing, this place is very popular with skiers and snowshoers, so the trails were well packed, making for easy hiking. There's also a great sledding hill, which was getting a workout today. Sure wish I had brought a sled. Looks like fun.

A bright overcast sky shed a luminous shadowless light in the woods, perfect for displaying the graceful shapes of branches and twigs and seed heads. It could be this little shrub is a blueberry, but I'm not sure. What struck my eye were the arching curves of its twigs and the stark contrast of its dark branches against the snow.

The fat little catkins decorating these twigs reveal it to be a hazelnut shrub, probably Beaked Hazelnut, since that's the kind of hazelnut I have found growing in these woods.

I love the graceful arrangement of these Sensitive Fern spore stalks, especially how they stand out in this shadowless light.

Here's a closer look at one of those spore stalks, so handsome in its beaded symmetry.

The arcing stems of Leatherleaf bent over the snow-covered ice. This plant will keep its appropriately named leaves all winter, only yielding them to new growth after it blooms in the spring.

Sheep Laurel is another plant that holds its leaves all winter, although they do look a bit battered.

The yellowish bracts of Witch Hazel cling to the twigs long after the flowers have fallen, so the shrub appears to be in bloom all winter.

Bright Winterberry adds one of the very few spots of color to be found in the winter woods.

Although drab in their coloring now, the winter remnants of last summer's weeds and grasses possess a beauty of a different kind. The flower head of this Canada Goldenrod is as graceful as a fountain.

This grass (what kind?) presents us with a study in elegance.

The spent flower heads of Queen Anne's Lace stand out against the snow like a fireworks spray.

Thriving amid the goldenrods was this plant with its spiked flower heads. I should know what it is, but its identity escapes me, although its graceful beauty against the snow does not.


Steve Young said...

The grass looks like Bromus inermis and the last photo shows fruits of purple loosestrife.

June said...

The light, your good photography skills...all of those are strikingly, simply gorgeous. I would frame them and hang them on a wall sowewhere.

Louise said...

June beat me to what I was going to say. Those shots would look so beautiful framed, and clustered on a wall some place. How did you get the snow not to reflect blue light?

Anonymous said...

Hi Jackie! Your photography is beautiful, I especially love the photo of the branch! Nice blog!

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Thanks for the plant IDs, Steve. I didn't remember Purple Loosestrife growing at that location, but I went back and looked at a photo of the goldenrod I took there last fall, and sure enough, there was the loosestrife.

June, I thank you for your generous comment. I thought the photos were kind of nice, myself.

Thank you, Louise. I'm glad you liked them. Regarding the blue snow, I have a "snow" setting on my digital camera that corrects for the blue effect, and I also increased the exposure to blank out the snow behind the plants.

Thanks, Rain, for taking the time to leave your kind comment. I like your very interesting blog, too, which my readers can visit by clicking on your name.

Ellen Rathbone said...

So many of your photos look like botanical illustrations, what with their white backgrounds!

Anonymous said...

Very Zen...and quite lovely...your blog 'takes me there' when I can't get out myself.

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Thanks for your comments, Ellen and hikeagiant. Glad you liked the pictures.

Claudia G. said...

Woods Hollow is a GREAT place - I live in Scotia but get out there most every season.

Wonderful blog, I'll be checking it out. You are invited to check my web page as well, I got your blog site from a mutual acquaintance