Winter textures in the landscape

With the lower level of light in December and January, I’ve been noticing more textures and patterns as we’re out and about on the local trails. The slanting sun is great at picking out the underlying structures and surfaces in a cool, muted colour palette. In this vineyard, for example, last year’s growth shows as a repeating pattern of long elegant curves.

Vines with last year's growth

Vines with last year’s growth

But this month careful vineyard owners are busily pruning away those long arching shoots, to get the vines ready for the new season. And gradually, we start to see more of the underlying plants, standing upright with arms spread open ready to sprout again. It won’t be long before we start to see green buds!

Pruned vines

Neatly pruned vines standing to attention

The wild plants by the roadside are also showing the remnants of last season’s growth. Some, like this sea-holly (or is it a thistle?) have completely lost their identifying colour and flower characteristics, but boy, that jaggy defense is still effective!

Dried Amethyst sea-holly

Prickly plant

Other plants have already started to come back, but keeping low to the ground for the moment, until the worst of the winter storms have passed. This flat rosette looks to be a thistle of some sort, but without the flower or the stalk, I can’t quite tell. Pretty patterns though!

Rosette of leaves

Rosette of leaves

The road through the Stari Grad plain is unpaved for most of its length, consisting simply of closely packed stones. This type of macadam surface can be pretty bouncy in a car, especially when, over the winter it developed some serious pot-holes. Looked at a different way on a walk, there’s something rather attractive about a muddy puddle!

Muddy puddle

Muddy puddle

For those bushes and trees that have temporarily lost their covering of leaves, the branches stand out starkly, especially when, as in this case, they have a coating of bright yellow crusty lichen. It shows up well in the sunshine, but the intense colour is a sign of moisture – it’s been raining recently!

Tree branches picked out in yellow lichen

Tree branches picked out in yellow

Here’s another lichen, this time growing on an olive tree. Such interesting texture, reminds me so much of pink and green cabbages – though this is rather smaller! I’m fascinated by the wide variety of mosses and lichens to be found on the island, they really are beautiful when you look closely.

Lichen on olive branch

Lichen on olive branch

And on the same forest trail, we have the chunky bark on an old aleppo pine stump.

Tree bark

Tree bark

Deeper into the forest, it was noticeable that many of the rocks there had turned black with age, rather than fading to grey. Does that mean it’s a different kind of rock, or just they don’t get so much sunlight? Not sure, but there are some nice textures here too. What about this natural abstract composition featuring a red rock?

Red on black

Red on black

And down on the beach, an entirely different set of rocky textures – shiny white quartz crystals intruding into limestone.

Quartz crystals

Quartz crystals

Away from the natural environment, here’s a stone relief seen in Hvar town. This is on the small church of Sv Marko (I think) which is now a sushi bar, or at least it will be when it re-opens after the winter break. Menu looks good, we will definitely be back!

Stone relief

Stone relief

And I couldn’t miss the chance to show some lovely roof tiles, which show up wonderfully well in the low winter sun. As well as the light/dark pattern, I love the subtlety of the colours here, with newer tiles showing a brighter orange than the delicate pastels of the rest of the roof.

Roof tiles

Roof tiles

And while we’re on the south side of the island, the sunset over the shore brings out some beautiful textures in lovely soft colours.

Sunset shore

Sunset shore

And finally, as the light fades, the texture in the sky – beautiful clouds at sunset.

Clouds at sunset

Clouds at sunset

 

4 thoughts on “Winter textures in the landscape

    • You would find it a little chilly without heating here in January! The sun may be shining, and everything looks very pretty – but not for sitting around in! Enjoy your time in Germany!

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