Just before the arctic blast is suppose to hit us, our witch hazels are blooming. Over the years, witch hazels have been the harbinger of the coming spring in our winter gardens. We planted our first witch hazels in our Woodinville, WA garden. They were planted them later in the spring after their blooms had been replaced by leaves. I didn’t know what to expect the next winter, but in late January we were pleasantly surprised by the little fragile blooms. When we lived in the Philadelphia area, we frequently made the adventure down to Longwood Gardens to see and photograph the displays of large (10 foot) yellow, orange, and red witch hazels. Here at Heatherwood, we planted six Diane and Jelena witch hazels last spring and are enjoying their first winter bloom now. Our little guys are only 12-18 inches tall. They look a little lonely in the large open planting areas. Looking back on the Longwood Garden specimens, I can visualize the beauty in which they will grace our winter garden as they mature.
“Japanese Maple in Snow” Heatherwood Japanese Garden
This Japanese Maple is persistent. It just will not drop its leaves. Most of our Japanese Maples have a similar habit. They add to contrasting colors in the winter landscape as well as provide interesting “nesting spots” for winter snow. If the snow gets too heavy, we do have to gently dust it off the fragile branches to protect them from breaking. Later in the early spring we also need to gently run our hands through the branches to remove the leaves on some of the trees to prepare for the fresh new growth.
Hana Matoi Late Fall Growth Heatherwood Japanese Garden
A few red and green leaves of late autumn growth contrast against the dried brown leaves of the spent leaves. Ice plants in their red and yellow winter color on the hillside frame the new leaves.
Below, the fragile disectum leaves of the Hana Matoi shade the spreading blue purplish green thyme below.
This concludes my Hana Matoi mini-project. Or does it? These six images in the last 3 posts were all taken on an overcast day. Early morning light and late afternoon light provide many additional perspectives. Different seasons display different colors. Snow, ice, rain, and dew create magical views. And there are always an abundance of opportunities for abstracts. An infinite number of images are yet to be discovered.
Hana Matoi Looking Down Heatherwood Japanese Garden
This post continues my Hana Matoi mini project. Looking for a different perspective, I walked up and leaned into the tree. I stood on my tip toes, held my camera above my head and took this image looking down through the top leaves to highlight the structure of the trunk and branches. It looks like a good spot for a bird to nest.
The image below is from a perspective of walking on a semi-hidden path adjacent to the main Japanese garden path. The Hokkeji pulls a visitor’s eyes to the Hana Matoi and the garden hillside.
Hokkeji and Hana Matoi Heatherwood Japanese Garden
I have been in the Capitol several times. Each time I enter is a new experience. I don’t know how to explain the feeling that engulfs me. It’s a combination of wonder, awe, respect, excitement, humility, pride, and much more. The above two images were taken looking directly up from near the center of the Capitol Rotunda. I was shivering with awe when I took these images and had a very difficult time trying to be steady enough to get a decent shot.
The Apotheosis of Washington was painted by Constantino Brumidi in 1865. It depicts George Washington rising to the heavens in glory. The fresco is 180 feet above the Rotunda floor.
‘Washington, Liberty, and Victory/Fame’
George Washington is flanked by two female figures representing Liberty and Victory/Fame. Thirteen maidens, symbolizing the 13 original states, surround the three main figures. Six groups of figures are painted around Washington, Liberty, Victory/Fame, and the thirteen maidens. These represent war, science, marine, commerce, mechanics, and agriculture.
‘War’ is depicted by Armed Freedom and Eagle defeating Tyranny and Kingly Power.
It has been a long and difficult year. But, that is not a reason to let my head hang down. With the Covid-19 pandemic and all the political discord our lives have changed. They will never be the same. We have learned to cope with uncertainty and adjust. New ways of doing things have entered our life styles. That is not all bad.
Being newly-weds, the “stay-at-home” initiative has given Mary and me a lot of quality time to really get to know each other’s habits and interests. We have had a lot of time to discuss our feelings and opinions. We have had time to plan for many things we would like to do in the future. We miss not spending time with our families and friends but look even more forward to what the future will bring.
We are thankful for the challenge and joy that our new garden brings us. We excitedly have watched the garden form during the last two years. We enjoy our frequent strolls through the garden and appreciate those special moments as we sip our morning coffee or afternoon wine.
It has been a long and hard year! But, I can look up with a smile to the challenges and opportunities that a New Year will bring.
In its summer glory, this echinacea graced the Heatherwood meadow with its beautiful white bloom. Now at the beginning of winter, its glory still hangs on providing a striking contrast to the ground cover and dead leaves below. As snow falls it will continue to stand out as the white crystals collect on the seed head. It will never give up providing interest to the garden.
Sometimes it feels good to get away from reality and let the imagination flow. Looking through some macro images I took yesterday I wondered what would happen if I would put a couple of ground cover photos together. I picked a close-up of a clump of blue fescue and a red-colored ice plant. One had a fine texture, one a smooth course texture. One was blue, one was red. I made a multi-image composite in Photoshop and was pleased with the results. I still felt playful and decided to add an impressionistic overlay patterned after Georgia O’Keefe … voila, the above image appeared. Am I creative or crazy? Maybe a little of both?
Here comes the sun! We are blessed with such brilliant color, even in late, late, autumn, when the morning sun strikes the remaining fall foliage. It doesn’t seem like today is the first day of winter. Soon the last leaves will be dropping off our Japanese maples. We will still be intrigued with their silhouettes and textured and colored bark throughout the winter.
With the Covid-19 virus still on the loose, we are planning on staying put at home for the winter. Our changing garden will help provide a stimulus to get us outside for little excursions. I look forward to recording how the garden transitions from fall into winter, then into spring. We have planted various trees, shrubs, and other perennials that will provide winter interest as well as late winter blossoming. We look forward to seeing the thousands of bulbs we planted this fall emerge in early spring.
Strolling in our garden on a crisp frosty morning, I looked down and saw an interesting pattern on the ground. It reminded me of French tapestry wall coverings I had seen on some of the old historic homes on the East Coast. I took a little artistic liberty and enhanced the image with Topaz Impression to create this final image. Squint your eyes and think of some of those wall paper covered walls on those wonderful early 19th century historic homes.
For reference, below is the base image prior to adding the Topaz enhancement.