Category Archives: Flora

Visual Depth

“Panicle Hydrangea – Lime Light”
Heatherwood Garden

Some views in our Heatherwood garden provide a glance through the garden to a borrowed scene of the surrounding hills. Other views, like the one above, provide a “stop dead” vignette of a specimen plant surrounded by companions and a deep background of color and contrasts. The ‘Lime Light’ panicle hydrangea is clearly the star of this image. In the summer, the blooms emerge bright white with a little lime green tinge. As the summer progresses they become even brighter white. In the late summer/early fall, they start to turn slightly pink. Later in the fall, the blooms turn brown and the leaves change into their fall color. Then in late autumn, the leaves fall, leaving the bare stems topped with spent blooms which provide a structural interest for the winter.

The companion plants provide depth and a stage for the star. The color and varying textures of the rudbeckia, Russian sage, yellow twig dogwood, and other perennials provide the frame. The grasses, various shrubs, and trees complete the background adding depth to the vignette.

As we walk through the garden, new and different scenes appear daily.

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Fall is Here

“Start of Fall Color”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

Fall color is breaking out fast here in Eastern Washington. This year it seems like the color has broken out earlier than past years. The temperatures have dropped down into the 50’s from the hot 100+ degree days we experienced this summer. Every day I notice something new transitioning into its autumn shade. Heatherwood is a beautiful place to be this time of year.

It is time to go out and get to work finishing off our fall planting.

Heatherwood Japanese Garden Stroll #17

“Turn Ahead”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

Looking up the hill, our stroller sees the top curve in the S-shaped path. The sides of the path are framed by basalt boulders and filled in with ground covers and specimen evergreen shrubs. Over time, all the spaces between the rocks will be filled with interesting vegetation. The back side of the hill is planted with various evergreen shrubs and trees. These will also fill in over time creating a border for the Japanese garden.

The stroller pauses and questions, “What is around the corner?”

Heatherwood Japanese Garden Stroll #16

“Tobiosho Japanese Maple & Chief Joseph Lodgepole Pine”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

Japanese maples and evergreen conifers line the hillside on the northwestern side of the path. Our visitor stops and examines the various textures and shades of green on the hillside vegetation. During the spring, the light chartreuse of the Tobiosho maple and the bright pink of the creeping phlox add a bit of brilliance to this scene. In the winter, the Chief Joseph pine turns to a brilliant yellow. Red twig dogwoods in the background loose their leaves and add a flash of red to the scene.

The stroller takes a few more steps up the hill and glances toward the sound of flowing water. A small window opens up to present a glimpse of the waterfall and pond.

“Window to the Pond”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

The east side of path is lined with various evergreen trees and shrubs which shield the view of what is beyond to the stroller on the path. Several small windows allow the stroller to peek through to see vignettes of the garden and stream. This window is a “works in progress.” Our design plan is to have low-growing evergreens and and other creeping shrubs create a bed of shades of green and various textures leading to the pond.

Heatherwood Japanese Garden Stroll #3

“Hana Matoi”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

Across the path from the Hokkoji, a Hana Matoi Japanese maple, captures our strollers eye. It is planted on the hillside and surrounded with rocks, ice plants, and thyme. The vignette created by the maple and ground covers can be seen from multiple spots through out the Japanese garden. It is one of the key focal points of interest. Below are a couple of highlights:

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Color, Shapes, and Textures

“Meadow Contrasts”
Heatherwood, Summer

This small meadow vignette is full of contrasts: disc-shaped yellow rudbeckia flowers, spike-shaped green grass, ball-shaped blue thistle, and reddish-purple penstemon. A soft diffuser filter helps blend them together.

Different vignettes like this abound in Heatherwood’s meadow. This is its second year and it has started to fill in rapidly. In a couple more years, it should be a solid mass of color, shapes, and textures.

Another Creation

“Meadow Pan #2”
Heatherwood, Summer

Continuing my exercise from yesterday, I picked a grouping of grasses and vertical spiked perennials for my subject. I was inspired to create the pans for today and yesterday’s post by Laura Zimmerman, a fellow workshop participant in a recent John Barclay workshop in the Palouse. Laura’s work takes in-camera motion to a much higher level than what I have previously seen. Thank you Laura!

How Many Ways Can I Photograph Our Garden?


“Meadow Pan #1”
Heatherwood, Summer

How many ways can I photograph our garden? So many times I walk through the garden and create images with just a little different perspective that what I have done so many time before. I photograph in monochrome, infrared, color, macro, wide-angle, underexpose, overexpose, HDR, on my stomach, up on a ladder, time lapse, long exposure, and on and on. Today’s challenge was to make images using a soft diffuser-type filter. For this image, I picked a section in our meadow that was full of summer color and did a gentle vertical pan.

Color !

“The Color Wheel”
Heatherwood Meadow

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.