Category Archives: The Intimate Landscape

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

A Winter Day

“Birches and Clouds”
Heatherwood Winter

Dark billowy clouds and fresh snow,
Filtered through stately trees,
Open a new perspective.

I don’t often view these birches from this perspective taken from the road looking southeast into our garden. It is the least cluttered view of the set of trees. Taking this image reminds me to take my time and try to view my subject (and aspects of life) from many perspectives instead of just taking a “snap shot” from a convenient spot.

This set of birches frame in our woodland garden from the north. Heatherwood has three sets of three birches. Two sets were here when I moved to Selah in 2016. They were planted 12-15 years ago. The third set of birches are babies, just planted last year. Each set establishes an anchor spot in our garden.

Before the Fog

“Winter Morning Glow”
Heatherwood Winter

We have many wonderfully beautiful sunrises during the winter months at Heatherwood. We typically have low hanging clouds on the horizon. The pink skies radiate off the crisp winter snow. The color was spectacular. I looked up from my office desk and saw the sun just breaking over the cloud and fog covered horizon. I quickly grabbed my camera and went out to the patio in my slippers and tried to catch the sunrise on the distant hills. A few minutes later I looked down to our garden and saw this brilliant pink color reflecting off the snow. The fog was rolling in but had not reached the upper part of our garden yet. I was extremely lucky to have this little vignette right in front of me. Thank YOU!

This image was created about 1 hour prior to the image on my previous post. I could see the fog rolling up the hill until it totally encased our garden. As quickly as it rolled in it receded leaving a tell-tale trail of hoar frost.

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Winter Contrast

“Winter Garden in Fog”
Heatherwood Winter

The fog rolled in and left Heatherwood engulfed in a hazy mist. Hoar frost ice crystals formed on the tips of the plants. It was like a winter wonderland. I grabbed my camera and off I went!

Even on a dreary dark winter day, our garden is a place full of nature’s little gifts. Every time I go out, I see a different perspective of something I have passed a hundred times before. It catches my attention and interest and begs me to try to create an appropriate image. Last year I took over 36,000 images of our Heatherwood garden (not including photos on my iPhone)! I have just completed my 2021 garden highlights selections of about 360 images (1percent). My resolution for this year is to be a little bit more selective. I don’t know if that will work because another resolution is to experiment more and be more creative. It will be a balance.

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Goodbye …

“Selah Ridge and 1890’s Flume”
Heatherwood Winter

Our historic irrigation flume is no more. It saddens my heart. This week a construction crew started tearing down the flume to convert our irrigation source to a buried pipeline. One of the first things that attracted me to this location was the surrounding ridge and the historic irrigation flume background. Over the six years that I have lived here, there is hardly a day that goes by that I do not gaze upon the hill and flume. I start each day in my office, writing in my journal. I always turn to look out my window over the Heatherwood landscape and up to the flume and ridge. From our living room we look out over the patio again to the ridge and the flume above.

As we designed and developed our Heatherwood landscape, we created multiple view windows that framed the flume and ridge. Several of our garden “sitting rooms” faced the hills and flume. It was a wonderful “borrowed” background for Heatherwood.

Now the above portion of the flume is gone. We were lucky enough to talk the contractor into salvaging a small portion of the flume and bringing it down to our property. We will carefully place it and build a special garden around it. It will be a little remembrance of the area’s history and the special image of the wonderful background that use to be.

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Walk Along the Highline

“Nature Meets Architecture”
The Highline, New York City

This is another interesting building next to the Highline. I get excited when I see beautiful gardens and cool architecture. The Highline is a great place to visit where gardens and architecture meet.

One of the reasons I visited the Highline was to get ideas for our garden. At Heatherwood, we are trying to create a naturalistic combination of perennials and tree groves. The Highline planting designs by Piet Oudolf exemplify the look and feelings that we are targeting.

Winter Textures

“Meadow Grasses & Perennials”
Heatherwood Meadow

The golden brown stalks of our ornamental grasses blew gently in the breeze during a recent snowfall. Their motion inhibited light powdery snow from sticking to stalk heads. In contrast the stiffer stalks of the spent rudbeckia reduce motion and allow snow to build up on the flower heads. The various textures and different shades of brown caught my eye as I walked through the meadow. There is always something to see during my strolls.

A recent heavy snowfall has matted down many of the grasses. Many of the stalks now lay on the ground.

Just a Pretty Picture

“Lebanon Cedars”
Heatherwood Winter

Everything just seemed to come together when I created this image. The morning mist had lifted for a clear view of the sky and hillside above Heatherwood. Blue sky peeked out behind puffy white clouds. The sunlight was filtered creating soft shadows across the landscape. The “Pretty Picture” was just waiting to be created.

This image was taken from the roadside leading up to our home. One of our design criteria was to provide view windows across Heatherwood for walkers along the road. This is one of those views.

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Ready for a Barbecue?

“It Is Not Time Yet”
Heatherwood Patio

It is not time yet to go out to the fire pit and have a hotdog/marshmallow roast. We now have about 15-18 inches of snow here in Eastern Washington. The high level of snowfall has created a lot of work in our Heatherwood garden. While the plants are resting we still need to shovel and plow snow from our driveway, upper patio, and side walks. We also need to sweep the heavy snow off the drooping branches of our juniper and cypress trees (we have over 70 of them). That keeps up pretty busy.

These snow and cold winter months are a good time to sit back and contemplate how we want to see our Heatherwood garden develop over the coming years. It is a time to read and look at books, magazines, and the internet to get new ideas. It is a time to visualize what can be and start planning projects for the coming year. And on nice days, it is a gift just to walk around the garden and enjoy its winter beauty.

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Winter Hat

“Hokkeji in Snow”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

Our Hokkeji Japanese Lantern with its winter hat welcomes us into Heatherwood’s snow covered garden. A crabapple with its winter apples provides a little red tone in the background. As the apples soften, they will provide winter food for the local birds.

Our winter garden work has stopped for a while. It is time to take a little rest and just enjoy the garden as it is. Now we are planning for our 2022 landscape projects. Ideas flash through our minds as we envision the evolution of the garden. The start of planting season is just three months away.

Back to Reality

“Chief Joseph in Snow”
Heatherwood Winter

In yesterday’s post I said that I needed a change from the winter weather and reflected back to warmer times early last fall. Now realism has set in, and I have to get my snow shovel out and clear out the snow. But putting first things first, I had to go out and take a walk around the garden with my camera.

One of the first things I saw was the star of our winter garden. Most of our colorful perennials and shrubs were covered with snow, but our reliable Chief Joseph lodgepole pines still stood out in the winter landscape. They set the stage for the rest of the garden.

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