Linda Grashoff's Photography Adventures

The Neighborhood’s Late December Palette

January 2, 2022

As leafy greens and flowery hues bled from the landscape in northern Ohio, a December 26 tour of the neighborhood yielded a remarkably consistent range of colors. Smoky blues blend well with the amber shades that have replaced the emeralds of spring, summer, and much of fall. Even brown can display a richness.

1 In winter the leftover bracts* of small white asters look like flowers.


3 These puffball mushrooms have done their reproductive duties, as evidenced by their small holes. A friend has suggested that more spores might have been spread if only I had squeezed them.

4 My favorite grass in my favorite ditch now specializes in orangey browns and bluish grays.


Now dried, sedges perform a different dance to the tune of the winds.


9 Some green lingers in lawn bordering Meadow Pond.

10 Tenacious oak leaves punctuate a woods of bare trees.

11 Beside Island Pond a cottonwood reveals its skeleton.

12 Cattails draw a horizontal line along Island Pond.

*My husband/resident botanist rarely gives me one-word answers. I asked him, “Are these bracts?” Here is his reply: “The term bract describes lots of kinds of plant organs. Bracts are leaf homologs (they share a genetic basis with leaves) that are modified to deliver many disparate services to the possessing plant. In this case they protect the developing head of flowers produced by a member of the composite (Aster) family. Here they have a special name: phyllaries. In the burdock—another composite and the plant that inspired the invention of velcro—they are armed with terminal hooks to encourage the seeds inside to be dispersed by passing animals. They also are the appendages that we prize when we eat artichokes.”

20 responses

  1. That’s the late-December palette, all right. A line of cattails sure is enticing, as you pointed out. And the curves of dry grasses and sedges enliven the winter landscape.

    Liked by 1 person

    January 2, 2022 at 7:28 PM

    • I’m happy that you find the line of cattails enticing, Steve. I think there’s more to the winter landscape than we give it credit for.


      January 9, 2022 at 12:36 PM

  2. I love the favorite grass in the favorite ditch, and the garnish of these quite favorable leaves! 🙂 Happy New Year, Linda!

    Liked by 1 person

    January 2, 2022 at 11:23 PM

    • Happy New Year, Alex. Thank you. That ditch always seems to hold something new.


      January 9, 2022 at 12:40 PM

  3. Can you say thank you from me to the resident botanist? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    January 3, 2022 at 6:38 AM

  4. Leslie Organ

    Good for you for seeing smoky blue, amber and rich brown where others would see and dismiss only beige and gray. I particularly enjoy winter’s skeletal trees.

    Liked by 1 person

    January 3, 2022 at 7:27 AM

    • Thanks, Leslie. I guess nature knows the value of working with a limited palette.


      January 9, 2022 at 12:40 PM

  5. mrgporter

    Your captions are as enchanting as your photos, Linda!


    Liked by 1 person

    January 3, 2022 at 9:57 AM

    • Thank you, Marjorie. I had a lot of fun writing these captions.


      January 9, 2022 at 12:41 PM

  6. Kathleen Faught

    Go, David! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    January 4, 2022 at 8:01 PM

  7. Yes, rich browns indeed! I like the puffballs, the asters in the first photo, the vertical cottonwood, and the edgy sedgies. 😉 But most of all I admire those oak leaves caught in the grasses – that is one fantastic (actually three, I know) image! Wow. Those three are masterful compositions. I like #8 and the last photo a lot, too. The series as a whole provides a wide-eyed glimpse into the neighborhood in winter.
    I keep coming back to #4,5, & 6. They’d make a handsome triptych. You must be happy with this!

    Liked by 1 person

    January 7, 2022 at 8:23 PM

    • Thank you, Lynn. I guess my posting three of those leaves-in-the-grass photos shows how much I liked what I saw, too. And, yes, I’m happy with how the photos turned out. The water in the ditch has since frozen over. So you may see yet another iteration of this scene. About #8: I am happy that that photo shows distance rather than the flatness I seem to photograph more often.

      Liked by 1 person

      January 9, 2022 at 12:42 PM

      • I love the idea of a frozen version.
        That’s interesting about #8. It does really give the feeling of space reaching back. Well, it’s good to play in various realms, right? The flat realm, the deep realm…

        Liked by 1 person

        January 9, 2022 at 1:49 PM

        • As you say, good to “play in various realms.” I don’t expect to stop photographing flat surfaces. What would I do without my dumpsters and Leptothrix discophora films?

          Liked by 1 person

          January 9, 2022 at 2:31 PM

  8. Lovely group Linda! Lots of harmony: line, color mood… all of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    January 9, 2022 at 6:44 PM

  9. Thanks, John. I like sharing photographs of my neighborhood. I wonder if I’ll ever run out. Somehow I think not.

    Liked by 1 person

    January 9, 2022 at 7:36 PM

  10. Having spent a bit of time in ditches I can understand you having a favorite. They hold more of interest than one might expect. I enjoyed the curves of your dancing sedges and, of course, the bare trees.

    Liked by 1 person

    January 12, 2022 at 6:17 PM

    • Thank you, Steve. The shallow water-filled ditches are freezing now, and every day they look different—and fascinating. Can’t say the same for the sedges; I caught them just in time. I think. Who knows what I’ll see in them next week or next month. Bare trees seem more interesting to me every year.

      Liked by 1 person

      January 12, 2022 at 8:58 PM

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