With the onset of winters, frost starts to set in. Every night, the temperature goes below zero and on the following mornings, the nature shows itself in a wonderful way.

Frost on dry leaves

When the air is still moist, the winter chill freezes the dew. Initially it appears as frozen dew drops or tiny bluish-white crystals. As the temperature further falls and humidity levels increase, the frost tends to form on all surfaces. The crystals take up interesting forms. These ice crystals have intricate fractal patterns.

These ice crystals form directly from the humid air. The water-vapor turns to ice on these surfaces without going through the liquid state. Science graduates call it ‘desublimation of water vapor from air’ when it is below frost point. We call it nature’s magic!

Weeds covered in frost
Vegetation covered in frost. As soon as the warm sun hits the frost covered areas, the crystals shimmer and then disappear

For kids, these are the doings of Jack Frost. He visits us during the winter nights and turns everything into a crystal wonderland. Grass, leaves, twigs and even the glass panes at times get covered with them. When the sun rays hit these ice crystals, they glitter like diamonds and soon disappear. Sun loves to undo the works of Jack Frost.

Ice crystals
Frost ice crystals – close up

Observing these frost ice crystals is quite interesting. From hexagonal shapes to some very detailed patterns can be seen in these. If you are even a least bit interested in photography, try your hand at some close focusing or macro photography. If you are not, don’t despair, just carry along a magnifying glass and enjoy the various patterns these ice crystals can come up with.

Frost Crystals
In shaded areas, the frost doesn’t disappear even in day time. With passing time, more and more crystals form on the already existing one, covering whole of the surfaces

A quick walk around the garden, early in the morning, and already it is time for breakfast. What could be better than a hot cup of chocolate inside the warm cottage after a walk in the frosted wonderland?

Frost Crystals
Frost on dry leaves

The challenge for us is to protect the young plants. The people in the neighborhood are very good at this. Talk to them and you’ll find the information more useful then what one can find even after searching hundreds of forums.

Very soon, the snow will cover up everything.