Category Archives: The Intimate Landscape

The small details, shapes, and textures that catch my eye.

Hmmmmm

“Hummingbird and Bee Balm”
Heatherwood Meadow

One of my favorite memories of our garden in Eastern Pennsylvania was watching hummingbirds flicker from bloom to bloom in our patch of red bee balm (Monarda). Having a grouping of bee balm in our Eastern Washington Heatherwood perennial meadow was a priority. We planted about 6 plants and sure enough, bees and hummingbirds flocked to sample the sweet nectar.

What I Am Trying to Achieve (Continued)

“Lower Waterfall in Early Morning Sun”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

Continuing from my prior post, this image illustrates the design opportunities that we have to create my vision for the stream, waterfall, and pond. We have laid the foundation for the stream’s surrounding areas with a few conifer trees and shrubs. To compliment these, we need to add contrasting shapes and textures along with a lot of ground cover. I hope to achieve this with interesting evergreen and deciduous shrubs and a few more deciduous trees. I am looking also for fast-growing ground covers to keep the bark in place. When we have a strong wind, the surrounding bark is blown into the stream and pond, causing quite a mess and a lot of maintenance work. While adding framing plantings, we need to make sure that we allow “windows” for morning and afternoon sun to highlight the flowing waterfalls. Plant placement will be critical.

What I Am Trying to Achieve

“Japanese Maple & Waterfall”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

My vision of our Heatherwood Japanese Garden stream and waterfall is to have the stream encased by green trees, spreading evergreen shrubs, and ground covers flowing over the stream edges. I want to create a feeling that the stream and surrounding plants and rocks are a single complementary element. In this image, the Japanese Maple flows into the stream. What is missing is something to cover the ground beneath the maple that will spread over the rocks.

Over the past year I have been gazing over the stream to define the “vignette” that I am looking for. I feel that I am ready to start moving forward. We are currently in the planning process to develop the specific plant selection for next year’s Heatherwood project. The stream bed and surrounding area will be our top priority.

A Start

“Yukimi and Waterfall”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

In the summer of 2019 we built a stream, waterfall, and pond for our Japanese Garden. We also added several Japanese lanterns and small trees. This year we added a little ground cover. Our vision is to have the pond and stream lined with lush evergreen shrubs, trees, ground cover, and textured perennials that will cascade over the stream and pond’s edge. Additional trees will be planted to create a shaded environment. Time, a little work, and patience along with nature’s care is all that it will take to fulfill our vision. Our enjoyment will be to watch it evolve over time.

Start of a Nice Day

“Kotoji in Morning Light”
Heatherwood, Indian Summer

I love to start the day enjoying the morning sunlight on our Kotoji Japanese Lantern guarding the waterfall. The Yakima Valley “Indian Summer” is one of my favorite times of the year. The evenings and early mornings are cool in contrast to the warm (sometimes hot) days. Fall colors start to appear on the deciduous trees. The conifers also start to transition to their fall and winter shades. It is a beautiful time of the year!

A Walk Along a Garden Path (Part 3)

“A New Perspective”
Heatherwood Garden

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.

A Walk Along a Garden Path (Part 2)

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.

A Walk Along a Garden Path (Part 1)

“Path to Where?”
Heatherwood Garden

Where does this path lead? It seems to disappear as it turns first to the right and then to the left. All of our garden paths are designed to create a little mystery. The beginning of the path forces the walker’s eyes to the north and our house and the ridge behind. As the grasses, plants, and near by trees grow, the curving path will lead the walkers eyes to the surrounding plantings.

Nearing the top bend in the path, I look to my right (east) and see the various young plants in our rock garden that separates our upper and middle lawns. Over time the shrubs, perennials, and ground cover will fill in to create an Alpine-style rock garden.

Rock Garden
Heatherwood Garden

As I stare to take the turn to the left, I see the colorful “bright and shiny” garden directly in front of me. Stay tuned to Part 2 …

First Year’s Growth

Rock Garden and Meadow
Heatherwood Summer

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.

A Different View

“Mary’s Perspective”
Yakima Area Arboretum, Washington

This image is Mary’s view for my previous post. She sees the world through “bright and shiny” lenses, hence the beautiful tones of aqua and yellow. The following is her perspective:

Extraordinary

Sometimes reality just doesn’t do it for me.
I want to see a world as I think it should be
and, maybe, not exactly as it is.

One of my favorite colors is teal or almost any
combination of blue and green.  Those colors conjure
both seawater and plants, some of the real necessities for life.

So why not make the tree leaves teal?
It’s true that they don’t usually come in that exact shade.  
I know that, but just once I want this tree to be how I want it to be.

Thank you for playing around with the color
and making blue/green leaves and warm, yellow light peeking through.
It’s a little thing and maybe a trick, but I think it is beautiful. 

For a few moments, this tree is just a little bit extraordinary. 

Mary Dahlin Graf