We are having a hard winter. Unusually heavy snow for the start of the winter and prolonged periods of sub-zero temperatures across the country are creating difficulties for travellers, but open up wonderful opportunities for photographers and give gardeners all the justification they need for leaving the garden untidied!
The skeletons of perennial plants such as Echinacea, Phlomis, Eryngium, Echinops, Selinum and Sedum as well as the myriad varieties of grass - Miscanthus, Pennisetum, Stipa - look almost better in the depths of a hard frost than in their summer glory. The forms of the flowers and what remains of leaves and stalks are delineated and exaggerated by the crystals of ice, and the brilliance of the frost contrasts wonderfully with the sere and subdued colours of the vegetation. In still conditions the rime develops into a spiny shroud, which at distance hazes the shapes and volumes of the garden.
These photographs were taken in the overcast conditions of the coldest morning of our winter so far - the desaturating effect of the soft light reduces the impact of colour in the scene, with the presence of the frost blurring colours into one another.