Winter Landscapes

Given that half the year in Central Minnesota our landscapes are dormant, if not snow covered, it is interesting how little we think about winter landscapes. Another of the many upsides of using native vegetation is that it enjoys a unique beauty in winter as much as it does in summer. Snow provides the perfect background to highlight the varied shapes, textures and colors of native grasses and wildflowers. White is also the perfect background for highlighting any object of art. Of course winter landscapes are subtle, and require our attention, but once we are sensitized to them, they afford us a beauty all there own.

 The Grey Headed Coneflower here provides not only texture to the landscape, but food for birds. The heads you see in this photo that are not round are what remains after the birds have eaten the seeds. Interestingly, the stem is strong enough for small birds to perch upon, allowing them to eat the seeds. Since we started this prairie some 22 years ago, wildflowers are popping up throughout the farm, due to the birds spreading the seeds.  

The Grey Headed Coneflower here provides not only texture to the landscape, but food for birds. The heads you see in this photo that are not round are what remains after the birds have eaten the seeds. Interestingly, the stem is strong enough for small birds to perch upon, allowing them to eat the seeds. Since we started this prairie some 22 years ago, wildflowers are popping up throughout the farm, due to the birds spreading the seeds.  

 Grasses too have interesting texture in winter, when they are dried out. This was taken right after a five-inch snow fall, but the grass is still upright. Particularly attractive is the Cordgrass, the grass that has the long, slowly curving  downward blades. 

Grasses too have interesting texture in winter, when they are dried out. This was taken right after a five-inch snow fall, but the grass is still upright. Particularly attractive is the Cordgrass, the grass that has the long, slowly curving  downward blades. 

 It seems the birds don't care for the Monarda seed as much as they do the Grey Headed Coneflower. Nevertheless, Mondarda flower heads create a dappled effect upon the landscape as well as provides some foliage, one of the few plants that keeps its leaves through the winter. 

It seems the birds don't care for the Monarda seed as much as they do the Grey Headed Coneflower. Nevertheless, Mondarda flower heads create a dappled effect upon the landscape as well as provides some foliage, one of the few plants that keeps its leaves through the winter. 

 February is the month that one can see the cattails seed out.

February is the month that one can see the cattails seed out.