As I follow the path to the west, a new perspective opens up in front of me. My eyes leave the “bright and shiny garden” to gaze up along the hillside in front of me. I see the large homes on the ridge above. Fence lined pastures create the bucolic countryside feeling that attracts me to this area. The remnants of an apple orchard line the bottom fence. Our neighbor’s old horse is usually grazing amongst the apple trees.
The tree line path leads me first to a sloping lawn, then to the entrance to an informal path among a grove of young dogwoods and red buds. I missed their blooms this spring and look forward to a bright surprise next spring.
The meandering paths scattered throughout Heatherwood are designed to guide a visitor through the garden as well as introduce surprises at each turn. The plantings are young and will need several years to mature. My imagination is constantly at work envisioning what it will be in future years. In the meantime, I enjoy watching the little changes in what we have created and identifying items that we will need to add.
“Peek at Bright & Shiny Garden” Heatherwood Garden
Here I stand just starting to make my turn on the path, I catch a glimpse of Mary’s “bright and shiny garden” directly ahead. (Aside: When we started planning the garden, I asked Mary what she would like to see. She quickly said, “something bright and shiny.” So we designed a small garden of bright perennials that would bloom from spring through autumn.)
Before I make my turn to the west, I look back south where I had come from. I see the garden’s center circle with a specimen Zelkova. Over time the tree will grow covering the center pathway with its branches. It will be a great shade spot. Beyond our neighbors houses I can see the gap along the hill separating Selah from Yakima.
“Center Circle” Heatherwood Garden
Now I finally turn westward to exit the path. Patience … see Part 3.
Last year this area was all green grass. We broke up the solid lawn with various planting areas. The slope in the foreground was turned into a “alpine-like” rock ground patterned loosely from Ohme Gardens in Wenatchee, WA. In the flat area below, we created a small meadow area. The plantings are a little sparse now as they get accustomed to their first year in the landscape. It will take 3-5 years for the plants to mature and cover most of the ground. A big part of enjoying the new landscape will be to watch how the plants mature and adapt. This area is designed to have continuous color throughout the year.
Our Heatherwood garden continues to change through the summer. Color is everywhere. Most of the perennials are relatively small since they were just planted this spring. Small vignettes are the best way to represent what is happening in the garden at this time.
Mary and I usually walk through the garden at least once a day and are always amazed at the beauty that is presented to us.
It’s time to come back home and add a couple more images from our Heatherwood garden. I used to think thistles were just weeds, but we decided to plant a couple of different varieties in our meadow. This one is planted between white daisies and yellow yarrow. It provides a nice contrast in the meadow. With the hot temperatures (>100 degrees) these thistles have quickly bloomed then lost their color. To accentuate the artistic flair of the thistles, I added a little Georgia O’Keeffe impressionism to it.
Joshua Tree Grove Joshua Tree National Park, California
We saw a majestic big horn sheep wandering around the hills in the park. However, I chose this image as a better representative of the park.
Now here’s the story behind the title of this post. One of my close friends (Mr. G.H. Ferguson) is a wildlife photographer. On this outing, he decided to travel light and carry only a 35mm wide angle lens. About 10 minutes into our hike, out popped a majestic big horn sheep on a ridge right in front of us. He looked down at his 35mm lens, looked up at me, and said aw Xyx?//. The good news was that I had my 200mm telephoto and was able to get a few good shots. Ferg, this image is for you!
I haven’t had much luck finding rain in our Washington and Hawai’in rainforests. My last five trips have been in bright sunny weather in the middle of dry spells. Even though the weather has been beautiful during my visits, I have missed the solemness of the dark, rain-covered forests and vegetation. I will keep trying.
“Bright and Shiny” is what Mary wanted for her Cherry Allee. It was one of the first criteria that we established as we planned our design for the “lower 40.” It has now become a reality … at least the start of one. Colors are constantly changing as one set of blooms expire and another one starts to bloom. Our target was to have a continuous bloom from mid/late spring through the fall. So far it is working.
On a bright, July day, the yellow flowers are like little suns, waving in a slight breeze and looking toward me from different angles.
The Earth gives us little miracles, like flowers that drink in the sun, radiating their color and vibrance to any willing passerby.
The little voices in my head say, “We don’t need to understand it all; just look at the pretty yellow flowers . . .”
A bloom, rarely shy The lily, bold and joyful— Fragrant, fleeting grace
– Mary Dahlin Graf
How nice these lilies smell! We planted them next to our “sitting stones” at the top of our cherry allee. When we were first planning what kind of flowers we want to plant, Mary’s immediate response was, “a Stargazer lily, please, please, please!”. So, we made it happen. Now she can sit at the top of her allee, reach out, touch, and enjoy the beautiful blooms. Life is good!
My neighbors must have thought I was crazy as they observed me leaning over the side of my lawnmower with a big camera and long telephoto lens pointed down at the ground. I am sure they were asking, “Why doesn’t he stop being lazy and just get off the mower to take a picture?”
Maybe in a couple more weeks I will be able to. Not being able to walk around much or kneel down and get up is not stopping me from creating an image or two.