The above photo is a shot taken of the woods across the road from my house. Beneath these tangled limbs is where my woodland garden is located. The fiery glow fortunately comes from the setting sun, approximately 93 million miles away, and my garden is quite safe!
I took that shot with my telephoto lens zoomed to its max. Below is the same view, taken with less zoom:
Another shot, across from my house, with the sunset reflected in the upper woodlands:
Earlier in the day, before the sunset, I took this photo of the woodland trees, viewed through the arch near my patio. The shrubs in the foreground are azaleas and yaupon hollies:
Winter, stripping the leaves, reveals the thickness of the wild woods. The forest has begrudged me a few paths and planting areas, but when I am gone, vines and woody tentacles will quickly reclaim the land I borrowed. There was an old saying that a squirrel could enter the state of Alabama on its northern border and travel from tree to tree, all the way to the coast without touching the ground. I believe a modern squirrel could do the same, though he might have to be creative in choosing his route.
I like the woods. They shelter my garden, and they provide homes for an abundance of wildlife. I love when the birds come out of the woods to visit my bird feeders. Below are a cardinal, a white throated Sparrow, and in the last photo, a black-capped chickadee, who seems to be asking the sparrow if he can have some too!
In a couple of months the bare branches will all have fresh new leaves, and the tangled mess of limbs will look simply lush. Every chance I get now, I walk the property to find signs of spring. But the evergreen plants that have persisted through the dreary winter catch my attention. The nandinas are spectacular. Note the white berries a single nandina in the woodland garden produces. All the others have the more common red berries.
And here are a few other plants that continue to provide winter interest:
The urn in the lady garden still contains the remains of last year's Boston fern. The vignette, with the rusty bicycle in the background, has winter appeal:
Spring is coming, but when I see my wild woods lit up in the burning sunsets of winter, or when I admire plants that provide interest when others are dormant, I do not mind if this season lingers for a few more weeks. Yes, I said weeks!