Contributed by Guest Blogger Rick Sellano

Each winter, white punctuates the Arboretum’s landscape in spades. Whether we find it in the snow, ice, mist, or wildlife, it’s nature's way to add color to a potentially drab time of the year. But first, a bit of science to set the stage for these observations. While many of us see blankness when we look at a white page or white PC monitor, artists, scientists, and photographers know that the white we see is truly the combination of all colors of light "added together."

So, does that mean that Morris Arboretum is a very colorful landscape when bundled in a cover of snow? And, if so, what are the other ways our planet turns on the white in winter?

Leading the group are the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), Pennsylvania's official animal. We’ve likely seen it romp and then stare motionlessly across many parts of its state. White markings stand out against the deer’s brown fur and, in Morris Arboretum, they contrast with, for example, the fascinating tree bark of the Japanese stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia). White, in the form of whitewater, rushes past in countless spots of the Wissahickon Creek. You might recall that the Wissahickon forms a partial western border to Morris Arboretum, splashing over gray and brown rocks in its journey along the property.

Staying close to their home are the Arboretum's swans; sisters, in fact! Seemingly quite content in their pond, the lustrous feathers of this beautiful duo ("Flora" and "Fauna") add heavenly bursts of dazzling white to the landscape. We believe they haven't any fear of being overshadowed by anything in their surroundings, including the darling Love Temple at the edge of the pond. Joining the swans are a bevy of other birds, many wearing plumage adorned with a wisp or more of white. Among those observed in Morris Arboretum are the Carolina Wren, White-throated Sparrow, and Cooper’s Hawk.

Still speaking of white, don’t miss the Heritage river birch (Betula nigra ‘Cully’). Growing near the Pump House, the birch trees add swaths of white to the scene, with or without the presence of snow. To note, from around 1908 to 1917, the Pump House was functional and helped top off the water supply for the Arboretum's fountains.

White, sometimes called, "winter white," truly is the color of the season. Just look at the back slats of a wooden bench after a dusting of snow. It seems that a small amount always manages to cling to the bench, demanding a respite. Look beyond the deer and birds to the markings of small, woodland creatures. All year, they wear winter coats fashioned in shades of brown, gray, or tan, each with white accents. Although a patient observer might eventually spot them, this coloration gives wildlife excellent camouflage when ground cover is minimal.

Since white is the combination of all colors in nature, winter may be the most vibrant season at Morris Arboretum. We hope you'll visit our white wonderland and decide for yourself.