Today is Ground Hogs Day, the midpoint of winter. It is bright and crisp as I walk through the garden. It feels like spring is just around the corner. But, who knows what the next six weeks of winter will bring.
Walking though Heatherwood’s meadow area, I look up the hill and see a plethora of color, shapes, and textures. Contrasting browns, reds, oranges, yellows, and greens brighten up the scenes. The different textures and shapes of the feathery ornamental grasses, bare branches of the red twig dogwood, and various conifer shrubs and deciduous trees provide additional interest. Our Heatherwood garden sure is not dull in the midst of winter.
Along our Japanese Garden walk I see another winter conifer contrast. This combination contrasts size, shape, and color. The green Jacobsen mugo pine in the foreground has an irregular growth habit. It contrasts with the round shape of the yellow Wintersonne mugo pine behind it. The Wintersonne transitions from summer green to winter yellow. The pyramidal dark green Tannenbaum dwarf mugo pine looks over the Wintersonne. At maturity the Tannenbaum will reach 12 to 15 feet. In the background is our second Chief Joseph.
“Louie Eastern White Pine & Colorado Blue Spruce” Heatherwood Winter
I only have to take a couple of steps and turn about 30 degrees to see another conifer contrast of yellow and blue. The yellow ‘Louie” eastern white pine stands out against the Colorado blue spruce background. Heathers and grasses surround the “Louie”. The grasses provide an interesting contrast of shapes and textures with the conifers. We leave the grasses in their natural state until mid-March when we cut them back. Like the Chief Joseph lodgepole pine, the ‘Louie” also turns to a summer green color.
“Chief Joseph and Sester’s Dwarf” Heatherwood Winter
Today was a bright, breezy, and chilly winter day. The temperature did not get above freezing. We will be planting a Winter Garden at the Yakima Area Arboretum this spring. Many of the plants we have chosen for the Arboretum are ones that we have planted at Heatherwood. I am preparing educational material for the garden, starting by collecting images for the various plants that we will be planting at the Arboretum. What a better place to start than in my home garden. So off I went, all bundled up, with my camera to create some images. Because of the cold, I was planning on just staying out for a half hour. Three hours later Mary came out to check on me. I was able to make a walk around our whole Heatherwood garden collecting images of winter color and textures.
One element of a winter garden is contrasting colors of various conifers. The image above is one of the most interesting contrasts of yellow and blue. The bright yellow of the Chief Joseph lodgepole pine makes a striking contrast with the bright blue of the Sester’s Dwarf blue spruce. Both are now the same size and are slow growing. We are looking for them to grow up together over the years. While the Sester’s Dwarf retains its blue color throughout the year, the Chief Joseph will turn back to green for the summer. They are a great pair for the garden.
Welcome to Heatherwood! We welcome you to come in and enjoy our garden and the view of the bluff beyond. The grass entry leads from our neighborhood road into Heatherwood’s lower garden area. As one enters, the path opens up into garden rooms, woodland gardens, and grass lawns surrounded by various planting areas. The ridge above reminds our visitors of the unique geological history of the area.
One of our overriding objectives when we began Heatherwood’s design was to share it with others. As our neighbors walk along the road, we invite them to enjoy our garden.
Today was an absolute beautiful winter day. The sky was blue and the temperature was in the mid 40’s. It just doesn’t get much better. I had the pleasure to put on my work shoes and do a little clean-up of some of our broken tree limbs. I then spent over an hour walking around with my camera enjoying the garden and the beautiful afternoon.
With the unseasonable warm weather, most of our snow has melted. Only a few patches of snow in shady areas remain. The colors of Heatherwood’s winter garden brightly shine in the afternoon sun. Year-round there is always interest and beauty in the garden.
Blue skies on a winter day raise my spirit. I walk out our front door and turn to my right and see the glorious blue sky above the sunlit ridge. The warmer temperatures are melting the snow. Trees and shrubs are now free from snow. Ground covers are peeking above the snow-patched ground. The partly snow covered pathways entice me to walk through the garden. As I walk along the path I stop to touch and inspect the various plants that have been under snow for the past six weeks. I look and see new buds forming on the tips of the branches. I continue and stop multiple times to just look around me and contemplate the garden’s beauty and the changes that will emerge as the seasons of the new year progress. My spirts rise.
Between light rain drizzles we had a few hours of sunshine. I grabbed my camera for my first garden excursion of the year. With the rain and above freezing temperatures, our snow is gradually melting. The pond has been free of ice for about a week. During the winter we leave the water flowing in the small stream to provide aeration for our fish. Hopefully they will survive over the winter.
There is always something to see and photograph in the garden. Something as simple as the varying textures of spent yarrow and grasses make me stop and click the shutter. It happened in our garden over 16 thousand times last year!
Now I am paying the price of sorting through and picking the “keepers.” Each year I have been making a “Heatherwood Highlights” photo book. I am in that process right now and have to reduce my 16-plus thousand images down to about 300. I have been working on the project for about a month and am down to around 600. It hurts me each time I through one out. I have a lot more blood to give to reach my target. Wish me luck!
The day may be gray outside, but my mind doesn’t have to think that way. As I write this post, fog has moved in and engulfed our garden and the surrounding hills. All I have to do to brighten my day is to look back on some of my images created at a brighter time. This image just jumped out of my collection and beckoned to be chosen to be in my post.
Even on a dark dreary winter day there is always something to brighten the day. It may be beautiful music, an interesting read, an engaging conversation, a quick glance of something intriguing, or just a simple warm thought. Every day is precious. It is our opportunity to make the best of it!