Brrr … We are ending the year with an arctic blast! The temperatures are dropping into the single digits and the highs are hovering around 20 degrees. This year, I have left one of our two waterfalls running into the pond to keep the pond aerated for the fish. A side benefit is a beautiful water-ice feature to accent our winter Japanese garden landscape.
“Autumn Joy Sedum and Blue Fescue” Heatherwood Meadow – Winter
I started my daily walk down to our Heatherwood meadow. I looked down and there my image was. I saw a burst of golden rays radiating out from a spent Autumn Joy sedum. My imagination flew as I visualized the morning sun bursting out over a grove of trees on a hillside ridge. What a great way to start a morning stroll.
Heatherwood’s meadow plantings have been designed to produce layers of color and texture interest throughout the year. The above winter vignette is composed of yarrow, rudbeckia, penstemon, and ornamental grasses. They provide varying shades of brown, textures, and shapes creating beautiful winter interest.
A telephoto lens can create a little magic. In the above image, a 200mm lens compresses a 150 foot scene into a single plane. The foreground blue spruce looks like it is right next to birch trees that are 150 ft behind the spruce. I’ve walked past this area many times without seeing the juxtaposition of the various trees merging together. The combination of a blue spruce, two Lebanon cedars, and three birch trees with highlights of white snow, and yellow grasses and shrub creates an interesting little vignette.
I see something new every time I take a stroll through Heatherwood. What new scene will I see today?
“Top of the Waterfall” Heatherwood Japanese Garden
We needed a design element to anchor the top of the waterfall and stream in our Japanese garden. We looked for something that would add height as well as droop over the top of the waterfall. A weeping blue spruce was the solution we decided to plant this past spring. The lower branches, like arms, will bend down and cover the rocks above the stream inlet. The top tip will continue to grow up to project a guardian-type figure over the waterfall. We just need to give it time to achieve the results we desire.
The weather Is about to drop down into the teens this week. I decided to take a long stroll through our winter garden while it was comfortable. The bright yellow of the yellow twig dogwood shrubs contrast nicely with the red of the cherry tree bark. The base of the yellow twigs are surrounded by red berginias. In the summer the green foliage of the dogwoods will fill-in against the trunks of the cherries. Coupled with the canopy of the cherries, they will form a border to frame the bright colored perennials in the cherry allee.
We are thankful for the gift of a little pre-Christmas snow that helped us get into a peaceful Christmas spirit. The natural setting here at Heather wood allows us to relax and enjoy the wonderful gifts that our Lord has given us.
As I stroll in the winter garden, I reflect on the many happy Christmases I have had throughout my life. They started up at the Ranch in Selah, WA for my early childhood years. They continued at our Hillcrest house overlooking Selah during my adolescence and college years. Karen and I enjoyed Christmases in Richland, Seattle, Bothell, Washington DC, Kent, Woodinville, and Fountainville, PA as my career took me back and forth across the country. And now Mary and I are spending our golden years in our Heatherwood garden back in Selah.
The Christmas season, even with all its hustle and bustle, is an occasion where we all need to take the time to be at peace, reflect on our lives and be thankful for what is most important to us and all that our Lord has given us.
The simple pleasure of walking through our Heatherwood garden is something I do almost every day. Sometimes the walk is just a few minutes, other times hours go by before I come in. The garden is in its infancy, but little vignettes like the one above, make each stroll a new experience.
During the busy Holiday season it is easy to get lost in all the hustle and bustle. I try my best to make sure I do not let the opportunities for little simple pleasures escape.
Snow lightly glazes the stalks of the winter grasses adding to their winter beauty. Many gardeners like to have a neat planting area over the winter and cut down all their perennials. We prefer to let the garden get a little messy and enjoy the remnants of the perennials. The birds like it too as they feast on the spent flower seeds.
A light snow cover accentuates the winter contrasts of the Heatherwood meadow. The snow both “frames” the various plants and highlights the leaves, stalks, and branches with a touch of “white icing.” It is like a miniature winter wonderland.