Category Archives: The Intimate Landscape

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

Framing a View

“Looking North Through Japanese Garden”
Heatherwood Winter

Work is about to start on our 2021 spring project at Heatherwood. Our garden will continuously change over time. Additions and modifications are designed to highlight key plants, frame views, and hide distractions. From the perspective of the above image, we want to focus the attention to the plants in the Japanese garden then draw the view to the 1890’s irrigation flume in the background. This year we plan to add medium sized Japanese holly evergreens to hide the road leading up the hill and mid-sized conifers to hide the bare hillside at the right of the image. These additions will provide a background layer for the Japanese garden as well as frame the irrigation flume in the distant background.

As we walk through our garden, we are content enjoying the current state of our existing plants. Concurrently we visualize how the plants will mature as well as look for new opportunities to enhance the garden. Change is an ever-present part of Heatherwood.

First of March

“Winter Meadow”
Heatherwood

Today is the first of March, time to clean up the meadow and other planting beds. The weather here will be mild in the mid-50’s for the next week and a half. The garden is calling for attention. Grasses and perennials need to be cut back to make room for new growth. Trees and shrubs need to be trimmed to guide their shape as the new growth emerges. Winter weeds need to be extracted before they get carried away. Several of our shrubs need to be transplanted to accommodate the placement of new plantings. Some of our hardscape needs to be modified to allow for our landscape design plan changes. In an evolving garden, nothing remains constant.

And while all this is going on, the 2000 bulbs we planted last fall are sprouting! March will be a busy and exciting month at Heatherwood.

Spring Cleaning Time Is Here

“Snow-Covered Meadow”
Heatherwood Winter

The snow is gone and the temperature is rising. February ends today and March starts tomorrow. In the garden, February is time to relax and plan for the coming gardening year. March is time to get out and work to prepare the garden for spring.

We have enjoyed the winter interest created by last year’s spent flowers and grasses. We consciously chose to let their shapes, textures, and muted colors decorate the winter landscape. But in March, we have to pay the price and trim back the perennials to prepare for the new growth starting this month. It is also time to transplant some of the hardier plants as well as pull the winter weeds.

Just a Peek

“View Through Rock Garden”
Heatherwood Winter

As I have commented several times before, every time I walk through our garden I see something from a different perspective. Many of the views through Heatherwood have been planned as part of the design. The one above is an unplanned gift, looking through the lower rock garden northwest to the surrounding hills and our neighbor’s cherry orchard.

We have several such views since our newly planted trees are relatively small. Over the years, the tree canopies will grow and block many of these “peek” views. In turn, they will frame and highlight other views. The garden will continuously change bringing new surprises. Exciting!

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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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On a Crisp Winter’s Morning …

“Neighbor’s Cherry Tree”
Heatherwood Winter

On a crisp winter’s morning, I gaze out over the Heatherwood landscape. I look over our immediate landscape to the hills surrounding our grounds. My eyes stop and become fixated on our neighbor’s beautiful cherry tree. It is the last standing memory of a bygone cherry orchard of the past.

We frequently walk by the tree on the way to pick up the mail. We stop and admire the tree throughout the year. Zelda, our neighbor’s Black Labrador, frequently greets us yearning for a pet.

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Snow, Winter Color, and Kotoji

“Kotoji in Winter”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

The Kotoji Japanese lantern is probably the most frequent single element that I have photographed in our Heatherwood Japanese Garden. It sits in a prominent spot overlooking the stream and waterfalls. One leg is in the stream while the other sits solidly on land. From every angle it seems to be a sentinel guarding the stream and pond below. The Kotoji can be seen from multiple places around the Japanese garden as well as as from the lower Heatherwood meadow and garden. Even in winter it is a dominant focal point in the landscape. At night its internal light shines through the lantern openings while an external flood lamp highlights the lantern and stream.

Many mornings we have started the day enjoying a cup of coffee overlooking the Kotoji from the “Perch” above. In the late afternoon/early evening we have sat below looking up over the pond and waterfalls to the Kotoji as we sip a glass of wine toasting to another beautiful day.

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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Snowing Again

Snowing in Our Rock Garden”
Heatherwood Winter

We continue to get a little more snow. It is light enough not to incur any real inconvenience. Even though I anxiously anticipate the spring bloom, I appreciate the beauty of the winter season, especially with a blanket of fresh snow. Each season has its unique beauty. All I have to do is to look out our windows to discover little vignettes that highlight our garden.

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