Monthly Archives: September 2020

360 Degree View

Selah Bluff
Heather Heights, Selah, WA

Aspens, cattails, grasses, and the dark sky frame this ridge on Selah Bluff. From the top, one has a 360 degree view. The Wenas valley is to the north. Mt. Rainier can be seen to the northwest, Mt. Clemens to the west, and Mt. Adams to the southwest. To the east are the ridges of the Yakima River Canyon. To the southeast are the Yakima Firing Center and Rattlesnake Mountain. Looking south I can see our neighborhood, the lower Selah Valley and the Selah-Yakima Gap. It is a place to put down my camera and just enjoy nature and the open area around me.

Livelihood of Our Garden

Natches-Selah Irrigation Canal
Heather Heights, Selah, WA

Only a 10 minute walk from the house will bring us to our irrigation canal. It is one of the last open areas in existence. Built in the late 1800’s, it has served the area well for many years. As time has passed, there is a need to maintain lower water loss and better control the amount of water released from the ditch to the various areas. Soon it will be replaced by a pipeline. What a loss to progress!

This is just one of the many places around our home to explore. Oh, how I wish I were a kid again!

Without this source of water, our Heatherwood garden would be just a dream.

Peaceful Walk Around the Neighborhood

Neighbor’s Pasture
Heather Heights, Selah, WA

It is nice to live in the country. Our home is right in the middle of an area of small pastures. On the east we have a neighbor’s pasture with cows. On the west, our neighbor has five horses and a small grove of apple trees. Farther north we have a riding stable and pasture with a cherry and apple orchard above. We can walk along the paved roads of the neighborhood and view the valley below as well as catch glimpses of Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier. We can stroll through orchards and along irrigation ditches and flumes catching bits of nature. If we get ambitious, we can climb to the top of the ridge above us and get a 360 degree of the countryside around us. And of course, we can stroll in our little garden arboretum.

So, if we ever feel closed in, all we have to do is open the door and take a walk. It’s nice to live in the country!

Blue Skies and Green Grass

“Future SW View Area”
Heatherwood

After 3 weeks of smoke-filled skies and hazardous air quality warnings, blue skies finally emerged. The local and other western state wild fires had filled our little place of peace with a heavy layer of smoke. It was hard to spend much time outside without a burning sensation in my lungs. Finally a strong breeze pushed the smoke out of †he valley. It felt so good to walk around our garden and breath fresh clean air.

The point where this image is taken is the future site of a small outdoor room/sitting area from which we can hide and enjoy a peaceful view of our garden, house, and ridge above. The lawn area will be closed in with shrubs and small trees providing a private shady area for a cozy bench. It will be a peaceful area to take an afternoon break in the shade and enjoy the scene above. Planning for the future keeps my imagination going.

Hmmmmm

“Hummingbird and Bee Balm”
Heatherwood Meadow

One of my favorite memories of our garden in Eastern Pennsylvania was watching hummingbirds flicker from bloom to bloom in our patch of red bee balm (Monarda). Having a grouping of bee balm in our Eastern Washington Heatherwood perennial meadow was a priority. We planted about 6 plants and sure enough, bees and hummingbirds flocked to sample the sweet nectar.

What I Am Trying to Achieve (Continued)

“Lower Waterfall in Early Morning Sun”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

Continuing from my prior post, this image illustrates the design opportunities that we have to create my vision for the stream, waterfall, and pond. We have laid the foundation for the stream’s surrounding areas with a few conifer trees and shrubs. To compliment these, we need to add contrasting shapes and textures along with a lot of ground cover. I hope to achieve this with interesting evergreen and deciduous shrubs and a few more deciduous trees. I am looking also for fast-growing ground covers to keep the bark in place. When we have a strong wind, the surrounding bark is blown into the stream and pond, causing quite a mess and a lot of maintenance work. While adding framing plantings, we need to make sure that we allow “windows” for morning and afternoon sun to highlight the flowing waterfalls. Plant placement will be critical.

What I Am Trying to Achieve

“Japanese Maple & Waterfall”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

My vision of our Heatherwood Japanese Garden stream and waterfall is to have the stream encased by green trees, spreading evergreen shrubs, and ground covers flowing over the stream edges. I want to create a feeling that the stream and surrounding plants and rocks are a single complementary element. In this image, the Japanese Maple flows into the stream. What is missing is something to cover the ground beneath the maple that will spread over the rocks.

Over the past year I have been gazing over the stream to define the “vignette” that I am looking for. I feel that I am ready to start moving forward. We are currently in the planning process to develop the specific plant selection for next year’s Heatherwood project. The stream bed and surrounding area will be our top priority.

A Start

“Yukimi and Waterfall”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

In the summer of 2019 we built a stream, waterfall, and pond for our Japanese Garden. We also added several Japanese lanterns and small trees. This year we added a little ground cover. Our vision is to have the pond and stream lined with lush evergreen shrubs, trees, ground cover, and textured perennials that will cascade over the stream and pond’s edge. Additional trees will be planted to create a shaded environment. Time, a little work, and patience along with nature’s care is all that it will take to fulfill our vision. Our enjoyment will be to watch it evolve over time.

Start of a Nice Day

“Kotoji in Morning Light”
Heatherwood, Indian Summer

I love to start the day enjoying the morning sunlight on our Kotoji Japanese Lantern guarding the waterfall. The Yakima Valley “Indian Summer” is one of my favorite times of the year. The evenings and early mornings are cool in contrast to the warm (sometimes hot) days. Fall colors start to appear on the deciduous trees. The conifers also start to transition to their fall and winter shades. It is a beautiful time of the year!