A Beautiful Gift

“Late Afternoon Sunlight”
Heatherwood Rose Garden

It was a beautiful late autumn day. The sun was just about ready to fall behind the western hills. I was out strolling through the garden enjoying the warm sun and beautiful light shining across our Heatherwood lower garden. The last rays were caressing one of the late roses. It stood up beconing me to pay attention and photograph it. I made one image, then the sun dropped below the hill and the light was gone. What a wonderful gift to end the day!

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Play and Experiment

“Thistle”
Heatherwood Late Fall

The best way to learn is to just do it, experiment and play. I just got a new Lensbaby lens to add to my arsenal of tools for macro photography. After watching several videos on using the Lensbaby by other photographers, I came away with the bottom line tip, “Put the lens on your camera for several weeks, and just go out, play, and experiment.” This image is one of my first experiments.

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Do You Believe It Is December?

“December Rose”
Heatherwood Late Autumn

The roses are still blooming. It is hard to believe it is December! We deadheaded the roses late this year in mid-October. As a result, the roses didn’t get the message to stop putting out new growth and flower buds. We still have several emerging flower buds and new leaves on our roses. With the warm weather forecast, I predict that we will still have new roses blooming through mid-December.

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Last Leaves

“Last of October Glory”
Heatherwood Late Fall

The end of autumn in our Heatherwood Garden is drawing near. Our October Glory maples are the last of our standard maples to loose their leaves. This little group of leaves are the last still hanging on our maples in the woodland garden. The fallen leaves in the background cover the ground keeping our bulbs warm in the coming winter.

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Browns and Golds of Autumn

“Grass, Hydrangea, and Yellow Twig”
Heatherwood Late Fall

At times bright contrasts catch my eye. Other times a blend of subtle colors differences catch my eye. The browns and golds with their textural contrasts drew me to this vignette. As I walk around Heatherwood, I see various “pieces of art” scattered around the garden. They are always changing. Never do I see them the same way.

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Contrasts

“Yellow Twig Dogwood & Red Bergenia”
Heatherwood Late Fall

Growing up, my favorite colors from my color crayon box were yellow and red. They were always the first crayons to be used up. It doesn’t surprise me that we have this color combination throughout Heatherwood. The bright red bergenia and the yellow twig dogwood provide an interesting contrast in both color and texture. Now we just need to add green ground cover to complete the vignette.

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Changing to Winter Color

“Red Twig Dogwood Screen”
Heatherwood Late Fall

As we designed Heatherwood, we set a criteria to have varying color during all four seasons. To help accomplish this we planted an assortment of red twig, yellow twig, and multi-color twig dogwood shrubs throughout the garden. Several have already grown to the three-foot level like the red twig in the image above. They provide stand alone color as well as a screening effect in the garden. It will take two to three more years to get the full benefit of these shrubs.

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Happy Thanksgiving

“Fothergilla and Maple Leaf”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

Thanksgiving is a time to sit back, contemplate, and give thanks for the many things in the wonderful world around us. Everywhere I turn in our Heatherwood garden I see a little wonder of nature, This spent Japanese maple leaf among glorious reds, oranges, and yellows of a fothergilla highlights the beauty of the changing season. Noticing little things like the leaf on my daily strolls through our garden brings me excitement, peace, and balance. Being in nature frees up my mind from the many distractions of life and allows me to focus on what is most important to me. It reminds me to celebrate all the good that is in our world.

May you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your friends, family, and loved ones! And, please take the time to give thanks for all the good around us.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Reflecting Back

“Clouds and Rocks”
Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Reflecting back, just a week ago we were in the Joshua Tree National Park in the Mohave Desert. It was a warm beautiful day in the high 80’s. It was a great vacation.

When I saw this scene, I thought it looked like smoke was coming out of the rocks above us. It reminded me of the days when I was a boy, laying in the grass at the ranch, looking up at the sky, and imagining stories that the clouds above were portraying. Many summer days were spent dreaming. I still find myself dreaming as the clouds move across the sky. I wonder what the rocks were trying to communicate with their smoke signals.

Quite a Change

“Hoar Frost on Redbud”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

When we left for our vacation, Heatherwood was in its fall color prime. When we returned 2 weeks later, most of the leaves on the trees had fallen. The only trees with any appreciable leaves hanging are some October Glory maples, a few oaks, and a Vanessa perrotia.

When we left Palm desert two days ago it was 85 degrees. Yesterday, when we returned home it was a bitter 29 degrees. There was still hoar frost on the trees and other plants at 1:30p. I couldn’t help getting my camera out for a few quick photos of the garden.

As the garden transitions from fall to winter, Heatherwood is still full of color. In addition, the textures of the flowing grasses and the branches of shrubs provide a striking contrast of structure. Berries and fruits remain on our crabapples, viburnums, and hollies. Several evergreens have turned to their bright yellow color as ground covers have turned to their oranges, reds, and burgundies. Heatherwood has been designed for four season interest. A winter stroll wrapped in warm clothes is enticing.