Beekman 1802 Farm is the source of inspiration for everything we create, and Spring and Summer, when the sap and the nectar are their most plentiful, seem to be the seasons when our creative juices are flowing at their mightiest.

But mothers have a way of knowing what her children need, and Ma Nature is no exception. She obviously sensed our need for Winter nourishment and created these “frost flowers” on the surface of the upper pond.

Although we’ve witnessed hoar frost on the farm many times, we were unfamiliar with frost flowers. It turns out they require a VERY specific set of criteria to “blossom” and are therefore more rare.

Frost flowers form when newly formed ice sublimates–changes directly from a solid to a gas totally bypassing the liquid stage. Initially, the water vapor formed by sublimation is the same temperature as the ice, but gets quickly cooled by the cold air. The air then becomes supersaturated with water vapor, which means the air has too water much in it.   When the supersaturated air touches another ice crystal the water vapor quickly turns back into ice. This process is called nucleation, and in the case of frost flowers the process begins on little bits of ice that are sticking up out of the water . Over time, more and more crystals form on the existing frozen architecture. The crystals expand outward in spiky arms, creating these fascinating frozen flora.

Growing anything requires the right growing conditions. For the flowers to form you need the absence of wind and you need the air immediately above the water surface to be about 20 degrees cooler than the water itself.

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  • By: Beth Robinson

    I was thinking about what new and interesting things you might be talking about and you didn’t let me down. I so appreciate that you take the time to share the every day miracles on the farm. The photos were lovely and only proves that every season has its beauty. Thanks, guys, for always having something special up your sleeves to share!

  • By: Linda Turner

    They look like frosty ferns! Now I will be watching every morning for these on my pond…I love ‘discovering’ things as the sun comes up. No matter the weather or temperature, I go out on the deck first thing and just listen and breathe….gets my day off to a good start.

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