flowers in snow

Yesterday we battened down the hatches – covering everything in the high tunnels with frost blanket, winterproofing the chickens and sheep, shutting off the irrigation system – preparing for the cold and snow that arrived last night. But did that stop the flowers? Nope, it did not. Hellebores, ume plum blossoms, pink pussy willow, and the earliest icelandic poppy pods.

Muddy colors

Earl Grey larkspur, Mollie Rilestone sweet peas and Rosanne Brown lisianthus are examples of a floral trend of muted, “muddy,” dusty colors. Part of the appeal for me is the aura of “vintage” – Mollie Rilestone’s tea-stained petals even resemble the browned edges of old pages.

Mollie Rilstone – Photo borrowed from

I thought about this last week when the trailer for “They Shall Not Grow Old,” Peter Jackson’s colorized World War I film, made me and the rest of a roomful of jaded movie-goers sit up, drop their popcorn, and stare at the screen. The movie is said to “bring lost WW1 voices back to life;” by bringing color to scenes that were made remote by black and white, the soldiers of 1914 are suddenly living and breathing. It was pretty breathtaking.

Soft muted colors conjure a cosy nostalgia, putting things firmly in the picture frame of “the past.” I love them for this; but right now, in late January, I’m craving the vivid colors of this year’s spring, lit up by the sun.


We are deep in the dark season right now in the Pacific Northwest. I can’t complain – we’ve actually had quite a few partly clear days so far this winter. But when daylight only lasts til 4:30 and that light is fairly weak and watery, I stare at this picture of the farm on a sunny June day in hungry amazement. Looking forward to that bright summer and armfuls of dahlias!