The Niveous, Avian Garden

“He made two or three peculiar observations; as when shewn the botanical garden, ‘Is not EVERY garden a botanical garden?”

― James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson

 

Well … at heart, or at root, I guess all gardens are botanical. But sometimes — for instance, when winter loiters unseemingly and greens and even browns are thin on the ground — we recognize other gardens overlayering, or existing in a parallel universe with, the botanical, and they, it turns out, are as much Eden as any fruit guild with its pomegranates, lavender, nasturtiums, dill, and chives.

Did I mention that we had another three inches of snow on Wednesday night?

Yet among the snow, the ice, the bare budding of trees, the birds, the squirrels, I feel lately that I am living in a fully imagined magical realm: a niveous, avian garden of Eden, complete with apple tree.

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First, the botanical, and another kind of magic, the magic of crowd-sourcing plant identification questions online. From photos taken this week of ice-encased sticks and buds, I learned what almost all of the already-existing trees in my yard are, including these two:

bud of Viburnum trilobum/opulus complex
bud of Viburnum trilobum/opulus complex
Fraxinus americana (White Ash) tree
Fraxinus americana (White Ash) tree

 

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The botanical-nivean world:

echinacea seedhead in snow
echinacea seedhead in snow
Joe Pye weed seedhead in snow
Joe Pye weed seedhead in snow
pagoda dogwood in ice, with white pines behind
pagoda dogwood in ice, with white pines behind
apples, maples, white pines in ice
apples, maples, white pines in ice
mainly white pines in ice
mainly white pines in ice
ice in weeping 'Jade' crabapple
ice in weeping ‘Jade’ crabapple
ice in apple tree
ice in apple tree

 

When there’s snow on the ground, I like to pretend I’m walking on clouds. ~Animal Crossing: Wild World (Nintendo video game)

 

vegetable garden under snow
“vegetable garden” under snow
bird bath with new snow and ice
bird bath with new snow and ice

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The avian world, with snow abounding:

sparrows

song sparrow on path
song sparrow on path
white-throated sparrow in snow
white-throated sparrow in snow
fox sparrow in snow
fox sparrow in snow
song sparrow in apple tree
song sparrow in apple tree
American tree sparrow
American tree sparrow

juncos

junco in apple tree with ice droplet
junco in apple tree with ice droplet
fifteen juncos in snow
fifteen juncos in snow

goldfinches

three goldfinches and a sparrow in finch feeder
three goldfinches and a sparrow in finch feeder
goldfinch in apple tree
goldfinch in apple tree
two American goldfinch in snow
two American goldfinches in snow

pine siskins and redpolls

pine siskin stretching in seed
pine siskin stretching in seed
eight redpolls in seed
redpolls and pine siskins in seed
redpoll on seed
redpoll on seed
seven redpolls in finch feeder
seven redpolls in finch feeder, all in motion
redpoll on apple tree limb
redpoll on apple tree limb

cardinals and a robin

male cardinal with leucothoe in snow
male cardinal with leucothoe in snow
female cardinal stretching, in apple tree
female cardinal stretching, in apple tree
robin in snow
robin in snow

purple finches

purple finch on feeder
purple finch on feeder
purple finch in apple tree
purple finch in apple tree

downy woodpeckers and red- and white-breasted nuthatches

male downy woodpecker on feeder
male downy woodpecker on feeder
female downy woodpecker at feeder
female downy woodpecker at feeder
white-breasted nuthatch at feeder
white-breasted nuthatch at feeder
red-breasted nuthatch in snow
red-breasted nuthatch in snow

chickadees

chickadee in apple tree
chickadee in apple tree
chickadee in flight over snow
chickadee in flight over snow
chickadee in snow
chickadee in snow

mourning dove, grackle, crow, cowbird

ruffled mourning dove
ruffled mourning dove
grackle with grass
grackle with grass
crow in icy white pines
crow far away in icy white pines
crow in snow
crow in snow
cowbird in apple tree
cowbird in apple tree

turkeys

two turkeys on fence, grooming
two turkeys on fence, grooming
turkey in snow
turkey in snow
turkeys fanning feathers in snow
turkeys fanning feathers in snow
turkey with an itch
turkey with an itch

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And finally, varmints in the niveous garden:

grey squirrel in snow
grey squirrel in snow
red squirrel in snow
red squirrel in snow
chipmunk and snow
chipmunk in snow
fox in snow
fox in snow
fox in snow
fox in snow

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“It’s snowing still,” said Eeyore gloomily.
“So it is.”
“And freezing.”
“Is it?”
“Yes,” said Eeyore. “However,” he said, brightening up a little, “we haven’t had an earthquake lately.”
― A.A. Milne

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