A Beauty Unexpected

In the most recent Garden Design, Valerie Easton begins her article “Jack Frost: Master Gardener” with a simple phrase: Frost is a beautiful assassin.

Its beauty is evident in the series of photos of frosted flowers and landscapes that accompany the article. Frost is one of those ethereal characters of nature whose capture is the quest of many a photographer and whose beauty takes our breath away at its early-morning revelation.

But Easton also calls frost an assassin, and for good reason. It leaves behind in its aftermath tangled masses of cellular degeneration, plants that are just ugly impostors of their former selves. Once the sun’s rays melt the glimmering coat from the plants, often all that is left is worthy of no more than the compost heap.

When I walked into the rose garden at the Champaign County Master Gardener Idea Garden today, I expected to find little more than nodding, shriveled flowers dangling precariously from the rose canes. Instead, I found a collection of roses that appeared to be dried rather than frozen, preserved with beautiful texture and color.

As I crouched down to capture these pictures, the scent of the rose garden filled my senses and the energy of an unseasonably warm sun radiated off my back. I smiled, realizing that sometimes life finds a way to surprise us, defies its own impending destruction, and shows us a beauty unexpected.

Rosa ‘Julia Child’
Rosa ‘Julia Child’
 Rosa ‘Tropicana’
 Rosa ‘Mr. Lincoln’
 Rosa ‘Pink Peace’
 Rosa ‘Love and Peace’
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