Category Archives: Flora

A Special Place in My Heart

“Pink Rhody”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

For many years, rhododendrons have held special places in our various gardens. Our first house in Seattle had a giant 10 ft. pink rhododendron guarding our front door. It came with the house and was the star of our front yard. We later moved into a new house without any landscaping. The first plants we put in were rhodies. When we moved to Washington, DC we fell in love with the rhododendron and azalea garden at the National Arboretum. And of course, we planted several in our new landscape. Moving back to the Northwest, we chose a home in Covington that was surrounded by rhododendrons in a woodland garden. A couple of years later we moved north to Woodinville into a new home that had a new landscape with several rhodies. During our 11 years there, we planted a separate rhododendron garden and also added several species into our back woodland. Then off to Philadelphia we went. Rhododendron gardens abounded all around us. And again we had to have ours as well. We had a large pink one like the image above along side our back porch. It was one of our favorite plants in the garden. Seventeen years later I moved back to the Northwest, this time in the dry Eastern Washington area. Rhododendrons have a difficult time in the dry, hot, and cold environment here. But they can survive if planted in protected spots. And once more, we have added several rhodies in our Heatherwood garden.

Over the years, I have so many happy memories of sharing enjoyment of rhododendrons with loved ones in various gardens located across the country as well as in our own personal gardens. They hold a special place in my heart.

Why Did I Create This Image?

“Front Yard Planting Area”
Heatherwood Spring

I try to be mindful when I make a photograph. I ask myself why do I want to take an image before I snap the shutter on my camera. There is nothing really unique about this image. It does not have any special composition or a single subject of interest. It certainly is not an iconic view. It was not taken during exceptional lighting giving it a moody feeling. It does have contrasting colors, shapes, and textures. When it comes down to the reason I took the image, I guess it was simply that I liked the view looking into our garden from the front yard planting area into the beginning of our woodland garden.

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Patches of Spring Color

“Spring Vignette”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

Spring is a beautiful time in our Heatherwood Japanese garden. The various trees and shrubs blend together to provide a beautiful patchwork of colors. As I peek through the trees, my eyes take a circuitous route through the vignette. They first focus to the left on the bright pink of a Shin deshojo Japanese maple, then move up to the magenta of a flowering crabapple. They move to the right corner to see the deep purple of a Bloodgood Japanese maple and then down to the rhododendrons that are just about ready to burst in bloom. They next move up to the center to see the white flowers of a fothergillia. Finally they move up a little more and see the chartreuse of a Shigasura Japanese maple. I squint my eyes and see a blurred impressionistic patchwork of color.

The image above is from the most mature area in our Japanese garden. The flowering crabapple was here when I moved in during 2016. The first tree I planted in the garden in 2016 was the Bloodgood Japanese Maple. The following year, I received the Shin deshojo Japanese maple from wonderful friends. In 2018, I added the rhododendrons and the Shigasura. And then in 2019, we planted the fothergilla. Now after three years, we have an intriguing combination of colors, shapes, and textures.

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Today’s Challenge

“Woodland Garden”
Heatherwood Spring

Today’s challenge is where do we place all the new perennials, ground covers, and understory shrubs that we will start to plant this morning. I ask myself many questions. How do I accent and outline the garden path? Does this plant need filtered sun or can it withstand the harsh summer sun of Central Washington? Will it complement the existing plantings or interfere with them? How can I create special little vignettes that draw special interests for viewers? Where do I need to block views from the street and where do I need to create windows looking through the garden?

I better stop thinking and start laying out plants. The crew gets here at 7:00 AM!

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Looking In

“Front Yard”
Heatherwood Spring

As well as view windows looking out to the surrounding hills from our garden, we have also designed windows looking into Heatherwood from outside the garden. This one is from our driveway looking down through our front yard. The bright green of the spring grass snakes through the various planting areas. Most of the perennials are showing their fresh new growth while the deciduous trees are just starting to leaf out. It is May 1, time for the spring explosion of life!

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Time to Plant

“2022 Spring Planting”
Heatherwood Spring

Our driveway looks like a garden nursery. The plants for our spring planting project arrived last Friday, two weeks later than what we had originally planned. The crazy early spring weather has put us behind schedule. We have a zillion plants to layout and plant during the next couple of weeks. The weather has turned warm. We will need to carefully stage our planting with our irrigation system modifications. Wish us luck!

Planting starts today!

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Getting Ready

“Purple Lilac Buds”
Heatherwood Spring

Our lilacs are getting ready to burst out into their spring bloom. I planted a row of lilacs along the north eastern part of our property about five years ago. The bushes were about 18 inches tall. The first year, each plant had only a couple of blossoms. Now they are over six feet tall and are laden with beautiful blooms. One of the things I enjoy the most about our garden is watching how plants grow and mature over time.

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Easter Emergence

“Celebrating Easter”
Heatherwood Lower Garden

Easter is a time of emergence and new life. Heatherwood welcomes Easter with its early spring burst of bulbs, trees blooming and leafing out, perennials popping out of the ground, and grass greening up. It is a celebration of life that nature and our Lord has given us.

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Daffodils Day 4

“Daffodils in Crabapple Grove”
Heatherwood Spring

One more day and all the daffodils are in bloom. From the time that the first daffodils bloomed it only took four days for the whole daffodil drift to bloom. In the same time period several of the crabapples started to leaf out. Shortly they will start to bloom one by one.

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Daffodils Day 3

“Daffies in Late Afternoon Sun”
Heatherwood Spring

Another day brings out more daffodil blooms. The field is now about 75% in bloom. One day makes a big difference.

Yesterday’s garden walk was in the late afternoon just before the sun dropped behind the western hills. The warm light was gorgeous as it spread across the garden onto the daffodils in the crabapple grove. It was a nice way to wrap-up a beautiful spring day!

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