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 is beautiful at Heatherwood. This is the morning view from our patio following a winter snowfall. Many people can’t wait for spring. I enjoy each day in winter as it gives the garden a chance to rest. Each day is a gift.
After passing through Sentinel Gap on our Saturday drive, I arbitrarily picked a side road and headed west toward the Columbia to see if I could get a different perspective of the Gap. The road ended up at a small boat ramp on a backwater pond near the river. The sun was just about ready to drop behind Umptanum Ridge. The late afternoon created a beautiful glow on the grasses and winter tree trunks. As a little bonus, I was able to get a piece fo the western ridge of Sentinal Gap in my image. For reference, the height of the water in the Columbia River approached the top of this ridge during the Missoula Floods. The area where I was standing when taking this image was at the bottom of Ice Age Lake Lewis. The water would have been several hundred feet above my head during the floods.
Yesterday was a beautiful winter day here in Central Washington. I woke up with a desire to get out and do a little exploring. Mary and I hopped into our car and decided to wander through part of the path of the Ice Age floods. The landscape in Eastern Washington is amazing. Understanding how the different formations were created takes a lot of imagination.
The basalt bluffs across the valley are about 150-200 feet high. Imagine a wall of water 100 to 200 feet higher than the bluffs rushing and swirling through this channel at 50 plus miles per hour. The water swirls as eddies carve out “pot holes” like maybe what the small lake covers. The turbulent waters gouge through the basalt, picking up and carrying the rock out of the channel.
Mary and I enjoy taking a walk from time to time. We really should do it every day. On the road above our home, we get a panoramic view of Heatherwood. I have recorded the view over the time that I have been back in Selah. It is interesting to see how the property has developed over the years.
Our neighbor’s cherry orchard provides a beautiful background for Heatherwood. It has seasonal interest throughout the year. Beautiful light pink blossoms welcome in spring. Lush green highlights the summer months. Striking orange-brown decorates the fall hillside. The snow covered trees provide a striking contrast in the winter. The orchard provides a nice place to take a walk throughout the year and provides a special sweet treat in July.
The orchard and hillside are a good example for “borrowed scenery” for Heatherwood’s Japanese garden. With the limited space in our garden, we wanted to make as much use of the surrounding hills borrowing their character and beauty. As we were laying out our garden paths and tree placements, we consciously identified surrounding areas that we wanted to highlight. We formed the path and placed trees to create framed scenes of the surrounding hills and valley below.
As the sun rises over the eastern hills, these lenticular clouds lit up like they were on fire. A glorious fall day was on its way.
I saw the sun rising to the east as these clouds were moving in from the west. I quickly grabbed my camera with a long telephoto then stood and waited until the clouds moved over the trees on the southern hill crest. A few seconds later the clouds broke up and the sun rose above the western hills. The moment was gone.
It pays to have a camera with the right lens ready when the moment arises. I typically have 3 cameras with different lenses ready most of the time.
Aspens, cattails, grasses, and the dark sky frame this ridge on Selah Bluff. From the top, one has a 360 degree view. The Wenas valley is to the north. Mt. Rainier can be seen to the northwest, Mt. Clemens to the west, and Mt. Adams to the southwest. To the east are the ridges of the Yakima River Canyon. To the southeast are the Yakima Firing Center and Rattlesnake Mountain. Looking south I can see our neighborhood, the lower Selah Valley and the Selah-Yakima Gap. It is a place to put down my camera and just enjoy nature and the open area around me.