Author Archives: kgrafphoto

Wabi-Sabi

Spent Rose
Heatherwood Winter

Nothing is perfect … nothing is permanent … nothing is complete. Wabi-sabi is a characteristic concept of our Heatherwood garden. I find beauty in every aspect of imperfection throughout our garden. This spent rose was a beautiful red flower in its prime. The summer flower’s fleeting beauty transitioned to these stems and rose hips in the fall and winter. In nature the hips would release the seeds to the ground. Its life is incomplete as the seeds create new plants.

I admire the beauty of this rose stalk and hips every day as I sit and read and look out our family room window. They fascinate me. I do not have the heart or desire to prune the winter roses to make them look neat. I just simply enjoy them as they are. There is plenty of time to prune the roses before the spring growth.

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Thinking Spring

“Springtime”
Seattle Japanese Garden

There are just four weeks until the first day of spring. Though there is still snow on the ground at home, temperatures are getting warmer and my mind is starting to transition to spring. I am starting to think about spring trips to Northwest gardens like the Seattle and Portland Japanese gardens. We have not been to either one since the fall of 2019 prior to Covid-19. Each time I visit a garden, I come back with a mind full of ideas. Right now, we are focusing on selecting the right type of rhododendrons, azaleas, shade trees, deciduous shrubs and ground covers for Heatherwood’s Japanese garden. I am ready for a little inspiration.

Way Back When …

“Bygone Days”
Along Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia

This is one of my first infrared images that I created about ten years ago. It is interesting to look back and see how my photography has changed over the years. It is also interesting to notice how my subject interest has remained the same. I am always on the lookout for old structures that cause me to think and reflect on the way life use to be.

This image was created on the way back home from a photography workshop with Tony Sweet in the Smoky Mountains National Park. One of the themes he worked with the group on was infrared photography. Old farm structures were one of the subjects we worked on. Skip forward to today … I am planning a trip to the Palouse this spring to photograph the rolling hills and old farms. This summer I have scheduled a workshop with Tony Sweet focusing again on infrared imaging. How things have changed; how things have remained the same.

On a Crisp Winter’s Morning …

“Neighbor’s Cherry Tree”
Heatherwood Winter

On a crisp winter’s morning, I gaze out over the Heatherwood landscape. I look over our immediate landscape to the hills surrounding our grounds. My eyes stop and become fixated on our neighbor’s beautiful cherry tree. It is the last standing memory of a bygone cherry orchard of the past.

We frequently walk by the tree on the way to pick up the mail. We stop and admire the tree throughout the year. Zelda, our neighbor’s Black Labrador, frequently greets us yearning for a pet.

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Snow, Winter Color, and Kotoji

“Kotoji in Winter”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

The Kotoji Japanese lantern is probably the most frequent single element that I have photographed in our Heatherwood Japanese Garden. It sits in a prominent spot overlooking the stream and waterfalls. One leg is in the stream while the other sits solidly on land. From every angle it seems to be a sentinel guarding the stream and pond below. The Kotoji can be seen from multiple places around the Japanese garden as well as as from the lower Heatherwood meadow and garden. Even in winter it is a dominant focal point in the landscape. At night its internal light shines through the lantern openings while an external flood lamp highlights the lantern and stream.

Many mornings we have started the day enjoying a cup of coffee overlooking the Kotoji from the “Perch” above. In the late afternoon/early evening we have sat below looking up over the pond and waterfalls to the Kotoji as we sip a glass of wine toasting to another beautiful day.

Winter Beauty

Snow-covered Hydrangeas
Heatherwood Winter

I don’t know which I enjoy the most: the snow-covered panicle hydrangeas in winter or the profuse white blooms in the summer. Each conveys a different feeling: one a quiet, peaceful, solemn feeling, the other a robust splurge of brightness. The more I think about it, the easier the answer is. I like both for the enjoyment they bring.

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Snowing Again

Snowing in Our Rock Garden”
Heatherwood Winter

We continue to get a little more snow. It is light enough not to incur any real inconvenience. Even though I anxiously anticipate the spring bloom, I appreciate the beauty of the winter season, especially with a blanket of fresh snow. Each season has its unique beauty. All I have to do is to look out our windows to discover little vignettes that highlight our garden.

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Happy Valentine’s Day

“Bleeding Hearts”
Heatherwood Spring

Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

Hearts and Valentine’s Day go hand in hand. Our Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra) symbolize the Holiday. May your Valentine’s Day be a beautiful one filled with love and happiness.

A Little Trivia on the “Romantic” Valentine’s Day

The romantic Valentine’s Day was first brought to the public’s attention by Geoffrey Chaucer in his 1375 poem “Parliament of Foules.” Valentine’s greetings were introduced in the Middle Ages. Written greetings came after 1400. The oldest existing greeting is from 1415 in a poem by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London.

Valentine’s Day celebrations began in the 1600’s. The next century small tokens and handwritten notes were popular. Printed cards started to replace handwritten notes by 1900. Printed cards along with lower postal rates contributed to sending Valentine’s cards by mail. Ester A. Holland introduced mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards in 1840. Today an estimated 145 million Valentine’s cards are sent each year.

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More Winter Color

Berginia and Yellow Twig Dogwood
Heatherwood Winter

The deep reddish purple winter color of the bergenia provides a striking contrast to the yellow winter color of the yellow twig dogwood. In the spring the Bergenia turns to a deep green as it prepares for its deep pink flowers. Spring brings green leaves and white delicate flowers to the dogwood. Over time we plan to add various ground covers to provide additional color and texture contrasts.

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Winter Color

Dwarf Blue Spruce and Ice Plant
Heatherwood Winter

We are now in the middle of winter. The temperatures are down in the 20’s and it is snowing again. My mind goes back to last weekend and the almost tropical weather (in the 40’s & 50’s) we were having. We had just completed marking out locations for trees and shrubs that we plan to add to the Japanese-style segment of the garden. We are ordering plants now for our spring project. Planting should start in about another month and a half.

Winter color is scattered across various parts of our Heatherwood garden. In one corner of the garden, we have a small planting area of dwarf conifers. Between the conifers we have added various ground covers. This image shows the contrasting colors of the dwarf blue spruce and the red winter color of the ice plants. In the spring, the ice plants turn to a light yellow-green tone providing a different striking contrast to the spruce’s blue.

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