There are still colours to appreciate in the winter landscape

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I have been noticing a lot more things in the garden and around my neighborhood because things are not covered in snow.

I noticed how big some of the bee and wasp nests are way up in the trees. I noticed an old one that had fallen out of a tree and it was almost 60 centimetres in diameter. It was a yellow jacket wasp nest. Another day, I came across squirrel nests.

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The biggest thing about this time of year are all the different shades of brown.

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Below are just a few things that are a shade of brown and, when we hear them, we automatically can picture a colour.

Starting at the ground, the soil is brown. The higher the carbon content, the darker brown the soil.

Mud, which is nothing more than wet soil, is darker and richer.

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Dried or fallen leaves will break down over time and once they start to lose their water content and chlorophyll they turn a shade of brown. Decomposed leaves are one thing that provides the carbon content in the soil.

Bark varies among each species of plants. There is the bright white thin layers of bark of the birch tree. Or the true deep shades of red of the red osier dogwood or bright greens and yellow of the willow. As plants age, their bark changes colour and give us a clue to the overall age and health of a plant.

Have you ever noticed how the bark peels away on a Sycamore tree, how deep the crevices are in the bark of a maple or how smooth the poplar tree bark is?

Take advantage of this unusual weather and look at the natural world around us. Break out the camera because that too will help you really notice the colour and textures.

Denise Hodgins is a professional gardening coach in London. Send your questions to [email protected]

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