For years, this tree was a cornerstone of a SW view from Steptoe Butte. It anchored a vignette of lush green (spring), golden tan (harvest), and contrasting dark and light browns (after plowing). I had last seen it during the fall of 2019, pre-Covid. It still had all its leaves and looked healthy (at least from a distance). When I saw it from Steptoe this spring during a severe draught, it had lost most of its leaves. I am afraid that this stately giant is in its last days.
On the last day of our workshop, several of us went out to photograph the tree up close. I made images from several different perspectives, but nothing seemed to express the sadness I felt seeing the tree in its dying state. Most of my images were of the lone tree against a background of rolling green hills and a cloud dotted sky. It seemed lonely, just left to die. Then I looked up and zoomed in to focus on the strong stately branches still reaching out. This is how I want to remember it.
Some images are clearly best in Black & White. This is not one of them!!! This image of our Heatherwood meadow has all the colors of the color wheel. Testing myself, I could not come up with a color that is not represented. Two years ago when we designed the meadow, we actually used a color wheel as a tool to identify the perennials we would plant. We are fully enjoying the results of the effort.
I remember roaming around the eastern woodlands in Virginia and North Carolina and enjoying the early blooming white dogwoods and redbuds. I can visualize visiting Jefferson’s Monticello with its surrounding eastern woodlands decorated with dogwoods and redbuds. It brings back many wonderful memories.
Here at Heatherwood in Eastern Washington, I am trying to recreate a little of this dream memory. Last year, we planted a redbud grove and a couple of white dogwoods. However the dogwoods were late bloomers and did not coincide with the redbuds. This year we planted two early blooming white dogwoods and have been successful in matching their blooming times. As trees get a little larger, we will add some rhododendrons to complete the scene.
This glorious crabapple highlights the corner of our house and the Heatherwood Japanese garden. The tree was planted here before I moved back to Selah in 2016. It is very close to the house and hangs over the entry path to the side of the Japanese garden. Its original shape was heavily leaning and contorted. Over the years, I have selectively pruning it to recover its shape and provide clearance to walk under it on the path. Each year I remove a branch or two to “guide” it in the direction I want it to grow while maintaining its overall health. The tree is beautiful and provides a special anchor to our springtime Japanese garden.
Today we return to a deep pink flowering crabapple. The various colors of the different trees provide a beautiful contrast in Heatherwood’s crabapple grove. They have varied between white, whitish pink, light pink, and deep pink. The trees’ barks, leaves, blooms, and fruits are all different. They all contribute to variety of little surprises that change from season to season.
This post shows the last crabapple that we have planted in our small crabapple grove. The trees are small now. We patiently wait enjoying each surprise they give us as we contemplate what they will be like in the years to come.
“Golden Raindrops” is our sixth crabapple that has bloomed this spring. Each one blooms about one week after its predecessor. It would like to say that the sequence was meticulously planned. But I can’t. We did pay attention to notes that indicated if the species was a late, mid, or early bloomer. With the sequence, we have about three in bloom at one time after the third on starts.
This crabapple is unique in that it has little golden apples in the fall.
“Coralburst Flowering Crabapple” Heatherwood Spring
The ‘Coralburst’ crabapple is a little guy. Right now the tree is only about 5-feet tall with an 18-inch spread. It is a slow grower reaching only 10-feet tall and 12-feet wide. It maintains its dense growth habit into maturity. It will be a real contrast to the rest of the crabapples in the grove.
“Show Time Flowering Crabapple” Heatherwood Spring
“Show Time” is the fourth crabapple in our garden to breakout in full bloom. So far, the first three are still retaining their spring blooms. With a little luck, I hope that the full grove will be blooming at the same time.
Yesterday, I went to the Yakima Area Arboretum to enjoy their crabapple grove. It is quite a difference to see a mature grove in bloom as compared to what seems to be a few scattered young trees. We will patiently await to enjoy each new blooming cycle in the coming years as the Heatherwood Crabapple grove matures.
“Perfect Purple Flowering Crabapple” Heatherwood Crabapple Grove
This is the third crabapple in our Heatherwood crabapple grove to come into full bloom. Last year, the trees were planted after the blooms had faded. Each of the new trees is significantly different from each other in their blooms, foliage, bark color, and form. It is such a treat to experience their first year of blooming in our Heatherwood garden.
Perrotia Persica ‘Vanessa’ Bloom Heatherwood Spring
I thought the perrotia blossoms I posted several days ago were the the mature bloom. I was totally surprised when I saw these little flowers. What I had seen previously were only the red tips. Like I have said many times before, I discover something new every time I walk through our garden. Now I know what a mature parrotia bloom looks like.