Rushing Water

“Upper Waterfall”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

The last several posts have been focused on the Portland Japanese Garden. Now it is time to come back to our Heatherwood garden.

The rushing water creates a soft rumbling roar in our Japanese garden. At times when I am alone, I sometimes sit by the waterfall, close my eyes and focus on the sound of the rushing water. The busy surrounding world seems to fade away. I sit and think about the more simple things in life.

The soft rumbling water
clears my mind.
Life’s simple things appear.


“Acer Palmatum Dissectum Structure
Portland Japanese Garden

I love the delicate structure and leaves of Japanese Maples. They are planted in artistic displays throughout the Portland Japanese Garden. A staff of creative artists meticulously groom the trees. Each one is an art piece. I wish I could say the same for the Japanese maples in our Heatherwood garden. I focus on doing the minimum pruning just to keep them healthy and somewhat balanced. I dream of someday having the opportunity to work with a “Japanese maple artist” to gain a simple insight on his/her creative talent.


“Welcome to the Garden”
Portland Japanese Garden

This tall statuesque lantern welcomes visitors into the natural part of the Portland Japanese Garden. I have had a difficult time photographing this lantern during my several trips to the garden. On a sunny day, the strong light casts bright spots and shadows across the scene. On a cloudy day the moss-covered lantern blends into the background. During this visit, the light was gentle in the background as well as on the foreground. I was able to create a little more interest. It still is not quite what I want, but it getting closer. Maybe the next time I visit …

Purple and White

“New Echinaceas”
Heatherwood Summer Meadow

Echinaceas are one of my favorite summer perennials. In Pennsylvania, we started with just a few of purple echinaceas planted by the previous owners. They were in the wrong spots. We pulled most out and transplanted just a few. Over the years we ended up with three beautiful echinacea beds.

At Heatherwood, we started out with just a couple of patches of white echinaceas when we first planted the meadow three years ago. This year we added a few more patches and mixed in purple cone flowers with the white. Now it is time to wait, watch them fill in, and then start spreading them out. It just takes time and patience.

Strange Leaf

“Ed Wood Japanese Maple”
Heatherwood Summer

The hot direct sunlight brings out the red color to the tips of this Japanese maple. This species has quite a different leaf pattern than the standard palmateum or dissectum varieties of Japanese maples. The leaf itself is huge, about 4 inches. The east-facing side of the maple is protected by its canopy from the scorching summer sun we have been having. The west-facing side of the tree is starting to get brown seared leaves from the harsh afternoon sun.

Related Images:


“Pacific Fire”
Heatherwood Summer

The last couple of weeks have been hotter than Hades. This week has been between 105 and 110 degrees. Today we are suppose to reach 109. This scene in our south east conifer corner looks like it is on fire with all the yellow and reds. We planted the “Pacific Fire” vine maple behind the Adirondack settee three weeks ago. It is showing off its flame-colored leaves. I hope that they don’t get carried away and burn off!

Related Images:

Similar Lantern, Different Feeling

“Kotoji and Stream”
Portland Japanese Garden

The Kotoji Japanese lantern in the Portland Japanese Garden is tucked away, partly hidden by surrounding shrubs and weeping maples. Shade has stimulated moss to grow on the lantern over the years. The lantern peacefully looks over the gentle, slow moving small stream.

At Heatherwood, the feeling is quite different. The surrounding shrubs and Orangeola Japanese maple have not had the years to mature and surround the Kotoji. The lantern is in full direct sun and stands like a strong guardian over the rapidly rushing stream and waterfalls.

“Kotoji and Waterfall”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden


“Twisted Japanese Maple”
Portland Japanese Garden

Many of the Japanese maples in the Portland Japanese Garden are truly a piece of art. How many years of meticulous pruning was required to create this piece of art? How many years of experience did the artists have before they even clipped a tip of a branch to initiate a desired growth pattern? How many years of patient guiding the growth habit did it take to create the twisted form of the trunk? All these and many more questions go through my head as I grab my pruning shears to form our Japanese maples at Heatherwood. Whatever I do now will impact how our trees will look like 20, 50, or even 100 years from now. It makes me nervous!

Another Influence

“Lantern and Wash Basin”
Portland Japanese Garden

A lantern and wash basin typically greet visitors before they enter a Japanese garden tea house. This one in the Portland Japanese Garden is tucked into a little shaded cove just inside the gate leading to the tea house.

At Heatherwood, we do not have a tea house but are attempting to create a small cozy secluded sitting area to peacefully view the pond, stream, and water fall. In addition to an occasional cup of tea, it is a nice place to have a morning cup of coffee or afternoon glass of wine or other refreshing beverage. At the entrance of the sitting area, we have installed a small Japanese lantern and wash basin to simulate the feeling of Japanese garden tea house.

“Oribe Lantern, Tetsu Bachi Basin, & Kakehi Water Spout”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

As you can see, the vegetation has not grown up around the water feature and it is not covered with moss. We patiently wait for surrounding plants and Japanese maples to grow and create a shady canopy for the wash basin.