Frosted Stipa gigantea (golden oats)

A Hint of Gold

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The winter chill continues here, with more frozen mornings. Frost brings an icy elegance to the remains of last year’s plant growth. Amongst the most attractive of these frosted plants are the seed heads of Stipa gigantea (golden oats). They become especially lovely when they are coated with a filigree of tiny crystals and backlit by the low morning sun.

The mix of frost and winter sun has brought out the golden tones of the seed heads and made them stand out against their dark background. It’s as if they’ve taken on new life for a short while. On mild days these same seed heads would look drab and dead and would go unnoticed in the garden. A dusting of frost is all it takes to bring subtle details to our attention in winter.

It won’t be long before life is starting again all around the garden. Old leaves and seed heads will be stripped away to make room for spring growth. (I don’t remove these in autumn because they provide shelter for overwintering insects.) For the moment, though, the frost creates its own magic upon the most ordinary of things.

(If you’d like to see how Stipa seed heads look with melting frost, see this post from last year.)

Frosted Stipa gigantea (golden oats)
Frosted Stipa gigantea (Golden Oats)

22 thoughts on “A Hint of Gold

  1. You put that frost to very good use, indeed. Both photos are lovely. They almost make me wish we had weather of the sort that could produce that kind of effect, but when that kind of weather shows up, I start longing for warmth. Unfortunately, this kind of photo demands “that” sort of weather.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’m glad that there is a way for me to make use of the frost because the cold weather is getting to me & hubby at the moment. We’re both longing for warmth and for spring, not surprisingly!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. We’ve had more frost than we usually do, Steve. Last night was really cold but I’m glad to see that the temperature is starting to come up a bit over the next few days. (I’m getting a bit worried about losing plants to it.)
      ‘Heart of Gold’ would have worked well! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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