Category Archives: The Intimate Landscape

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


“Welcome to the Garden”
Portland Japanese Garden

This tall statuesque lantern welcomes visitors into the natural part of the Portland Japanese Garden. I have had a difficult time photographing this lantern during my several trips to the garden. On a sunny day, the strong light casts bright spots and shadows across the scene. On a cloudy day the moss-covered lantern blends into the background. During this visit, the light was gentle in the background as well as on the foreground. I was able to create a little more interest. It still is not quite what I want, but it getting closer. Maybe the next time I visit …

Purple and White

“New Echinaceas”
Heatherwood Summer Meadow

Echinaceas are one of my favorite summer perennials. In Pennsylvania, we started with just a few of purple echinaceas planted by the previous owners. They were in the wrong spots. We pulled most out and transplanted just a few. Over the years we ended up with three beautiful echinacea beds.

At Heatherwood, we started out with just a couple of patches of white echinaceas when we first planted the meadow three years ago. This year we added a few more patches and mixed in purple cone flowers with the white. Now it is time to wait, watch them fill in, and then start spreading them out. It just takes time and patience.


“Pacific Fire”
Heatherwood Summer

The last couple of weeks have been hotter than Hades. This week has been between 105 and 110 degrees. Today we are suppose to reach 109. This scene in our south east conifer corner looks like it is on fire with all the yellow and reds. We planted the “Pacific Fire” vine maple behind the Adirondack settee three weeks ago. It is showing off its flame-colored leaves. I hope that they don’t get carried away and burn off!

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Similar Lantern, Different Feeling

“Kotoji and Stream”
Portland Japanese Garden

The Kotoji Japanese lantern in the Portland Japanese Garden is tucked away, partly hidden by surrounding shrubs and weeping maples. Shade has stimulated moss to grow on the lantern over the years. The lantern peacefully looks over the gentle, slow moving small stream.

At Heatherwood, the feeling is quite different. The surrounding shrubs and Orangeola Japanese maple have not had the years to mature and surround the Kotoji. The lantern is in full direct sun and stands like a strong guardian over the rapidly rushing stream and waterfalls.

“Kotoji and Waterfall”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden


“Twisted Japanese Maple”
Portland Japanese Garden

Many of the Japanese maples in the Portland Japanese Garden are truly a piece of art. How many years of meticulous pruning was required to create this piece of art? How many years of experience did the artists have before they even clipped a tip of a branch to initiate a desired growth pattern? How many years of patient guiding the growth habit did it take to create the twisted form of the trunk? All these and many more questions go through my head as I grab my pruning shears to form our Japanese maples at Heatherwood. Whatever I do now, will impact how our trees will look like 20, 50, or even 100 years from now. It makes me nervous!

Another Influence

“Lantern and Wash Basin”
Portland Japanese Garden

A lantern and wash basin typically greet visitors before they enter a Japanese garden tea house. This one in the Portland Japanese Garden is tucked into a little shaded cove just inside the gate leading to the tea house.

At Heatherwood, we do not have a tea house but are attempting to create a small cozy secluded sitting area to peacefully view the pond, stream, and water fall. In addition to an occasional cup of tea, it is a nice place to have a morning cup of coffee or afternoon glass of wine or other refreshing beverage. At the entrance of the sitting area, we have installed a small Japanese lantern and wash basin to simulate the feeling of Japanese garden tea house.

“Oribe Lantern, Tetsu Bachi Basin, & Kakehi Water Spout”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

As you can see, the vegetation has not grown up around the water feature and it is not covered with moss. We patiently wait for surrounding plants and Japanese maples to grow and create a shady canopy for the wash basin.

Design Inspiration

“Lantern On Waterfall Pond”
Portland Japanese Garden

This scene at the Portland Japanese Garden was my initial inspiration for a corner of our pond in Heatherwood’s Japanese influenced garden. Our vignette at Heatherwood is quite a bit different, but contains many of the same elements. We built a rock ledge extending out over our pond and placed a similar type of Japanese lantern overlooking the pond. To the left of the lantern we planted Siberian iris which parallels the irises in the Portland garden. We planted an Akebono cherry tree to the right of the lantern. We have a sitting area behind the lantern with a rock stepping stone path leading up to the pond beside the lantern. We have just purchased a Japanese maple to plant alongside the lantern. Below is our Heatherwood perspective.

“Yukimi Japanese Lantern & Pond”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

We have a long way to go before we have a “finished looking” scene. Each year we enjoy watching the garden evolve as we add new touches.

Sometimes I Just Have To …

“The Iconic Japanese Maple”
Portland Japanese Garden

I usually am not drawn to that special iconic scene when I visit various “natural beauties.” But, sometimes I just must create an image. This iconic Japanese maple overlooks the main pond at the Portland Japanese Garden. It is the same tree that I photographed from beneath the branches in my previous posting. Over the years, I have haphazardly made a collection of images of this tree from my various visits to the garden. I have photographed it in different seasons, different times of day, different types of light, different weather conditions, and from many different perspectives. Most times, it is the first place I stop when I enter the garden. It is time for me to get serious and create a selective set of images that interprets this beautiful work of nature through my eyes.

In Search of Wine on a HOT Summer Day!

“Oregon Wine Country”
Dundee Hills, Oregon

It was a hot 90 degree day as we traveled around the Dundee Hills above the Willamette Valley. As we drove between wineries we enjoyed the beautiful scenes in the wine country. The sky was bright without a cloud. Rows and rows of grape vines spread across the hills. We saw this huge live oak on a crest of a hill and just had to stop and enjoy the bucolic countryside. And, the wine was wonderful!!!

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