Category Archives: Flora

Red Witch Hazel

“Diane Witch Hazel”
Heatherwood Winter

Last spring we planted six small witch hazels, 3 red (Diane) and 3 orange (Jelena). The Jelena (shown in my 9 Feb posting) was the first to bloom. The Diane started to bloom about a week earlier. The blooms on both are now faded. The plants are small, only 12 to 18 inches tall. They are forming the start of an understory of shrubs for one of our planting areas in the lower Heatherwood garden. We are searching to add a yellow species to fill out the witch hazel color template: red, orange, and yellow.

As the witch hazels mature, they will provide a beautiful burst of mid-winter color in the garden. The will act as the harbinger of the coming spring.

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Spent Rose
Heatherwood Winter

Nothing is perfect … nothing is permanent … nothing is complete. Wabi-sabi is a characteristic concept of our Heatherwood garden. I find beauty in every aspect of imperfection throughout our garden. This spent rose was a beautiful red flower in its prime. The summer flower’s fleeting beauty transitioned to these stems and rose hips in the fall and winter. In nature the hips would release the seeds to the ground. Its life is incomplete as the seeds create new plants.

I admire the beauty of this rose stalk and hips every day as I sit and read and look out our family room window. They fascinate me. I do not have the heart or desire to prune the winter roses to make them look neat. I just simply enjoy them as they are. There is plenty of time to prune the roses before the spring growth.

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Thinking Spring

Seattle Japanese Garden

There are just four weeks until the first day of spring. Though there is still snow on the ground at home, temperatures are getting warmer and my mind is starting to transition to spring. I am starting to think about spring trips to Northwest gardens like the Seattle and Portland Japanese gardens. We have not been to either one since the fall of 2019 prior to Covid-19. Each time I visit a garden, I come back with a mind full of ideas. Right now, we are focusing on selecting the right type of rhododendrons, azaleas, shade trees, deciduous shrubs and ground covers for Heatherwood’s Japanese garden. I am ready for a little inspiration.

Winter Beauty

Snow-covered Hydrangeas
Heatherwood Winter

I don’t know which I enjoy the most: the snow-covered panicle hydrangeas in winter or the profuse white blooms in the summer. Each conveys a different feeling: one a quiet, peaceful, solemn feeling, the other a robust splurge of brightness. The more I think about it, the easier the answer is. I like both for the enjoyment they bring.

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Happy Valentine’s Day

“Bleeding Hearts”
Heatherwood Spring

Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

Hearts and Valentine’s Day go hand in hand. Our Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra) symbolize the Holiday. May your Valentine’s Day be a beautiful one filled with love and happiness.

A Little Trivia on the “Romantic” Valentine’s Day

The romantic Valentine’s Day was first brought to the public’s attention by Geoffrey Chaucer in his 1375 poem “Parliament of Foules.” Valentine’s greetings were introduced in the Middle Ages. Written greetings came after 1400. The oldest existing greeting is from 1415 in a poem by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London.

Valentine’s Day celebrations began in the 1600’s. The next century small tokens and handwritten notes were popular. Printed cards started to replace handwritten notes by 1900. Printed cards along with lower postal rates contributed to sending Valentine’s cards by mail. Ester A. Holland introduced mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards in 1840. Today an estimated 145 million Valentine’s cards are sent each year.

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More Winter Color

Berginia and Yellow Twig Dogwood
Heatherwood Winter

The deep reddish purple winter color of the bergenia provides a striking contrast to the yellow winter color of the yellow twig dogwood. In the spring the Bergenia turns to a deep green as it prepares for its deep pink flowers. Spring brings green leaves and white delicate flowers to the dogwood. Over time we plan to add various ground covers to provide additional color and texture contrasts.

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Winter Color

Dwarf Blue Spruce and Ice Plant
Heatherwood Winter

We are now in the middle of winter. The temperatures are down in the 20’s and it is snowing again. My mind goes back to last weekend and the almost tropical weather (in the 40’s & 50’s) we were having. We had just completed marking out locations for trees and shrubs that we plan to add to the Japanese-style segment of the garden. We are ordering plants now for our spring project. Planting should start in about another month and a half.

Winter color is scattered across various parts of our Heatherwood garden. In one corner of the garden, we have a small planting area of dwarf conifers. Between the conifers we have added various ground covers. This image shows the contrasting colors of the dwarf blue spruce and the red winter color of the ice plants. In the spring, the ice plants turn to a light yellow-green tone providing a different striking contrast to the spruce’s blue.

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First Bloom of the Year

Jelena Witch Hazel
Heatherwood Winter

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.

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Summer Warmth

Beebaum Multi-exposure
Fountainville, PA Garden

While searching through old images to help me come up with new ideas for enhancing our meadow for Heatherwood, I came upon several images of an arrangement of red and purple beebaum perennials. Aha! … the images blurred in my mind and I came up with the above abstract.

More practically, the image did give me an idea. We currently have red beebaums in the garden. They are relatively sparse and the tall blooms droop after a wind. The purple beebaum is a lower growing species and will prop the taller growing red blooms up as well as provide a nice complement shade to the arrangement.

Hana Matoi #3

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.