“When you see red, shoot” … especially in the garden. The leathery red leaves of this Oregon grape popped out from the background. The Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium) is a multi-season star of the garden. Its dark green leaves provide a strong contrast with its bright yellow spring blooms. These turn into blue berries in the late summer/fall. In the winter, the leaves turn to various shades of orange, burgundy, and red.
We have planted several mahonia among the pines and spruces of our conifer grove to provided a multi-season complimentary contrast.
The glow of this back/side lit expired hydrangea bloom stopped me in my tracks. It was like if it was a bright red stop sign signaling me to stop and pay attention to what it had to offer. Each fall, I face a hard decision to deadhead the spent blooms for a better bloom next year, or let them be to provide special winter interest. We solved the problem this spring by planting several additional plants in the lower part of the garden.
The textured pattern of this tree trunk also caught my eye. I do not know what it is … yet. It is time for another trip to the Arboretum to see if I can locate this tree and find out what it is. Maybe I can add it to the Heatherwood Arboretum.
This post will start a series of images depicting nature’s little wonders. These images are from a photo excursion I took in the Yakima Arboretum over a year ago. From time to time, I give myself an assignment to practice a specific type of photography. This trip I focused on looking for little things that caught my eye whatever they might be. Some were abstracts, others were macro details of pieces of nature.
Interesting bark was one of the things that caught my eye. The texture and color contrasts of the peeling bark of a paperbark maple (Acer griseum) creates a beautiful abstract that highlights a winter scene. We have planted two acer griseums in our yard, one at the entry of our Japanese garden and one in the middle of our front lawn. They are striking in the summer and gorgeous in the winter, especially covered with a little snow.
This is another example of “Isolation.” My mission for this photo excursion was to collect isolated macro images that represent the early autumn of our Japanese Garden. I am in the process of preparing annual image collections of how our Heatherwood Garden changes from season to season throughout the year. For this specific photo shoot, I walked around the Garden and tried to collect compelling images that would represent the details of our autumn garden.
The uniqueness of this image is that is illustrates the yearly life cycle of a dogwood tree bloom. The yellow protrusions are the remnants of the spring blossom sepals; the leaves are turning to their autumn color before they fall for the winter; the red berry is the fruit for the wintering birds, and the purplish bud is the future blossom for next spring. The dew drop adds additional interest while the tips and edges of the leaves draw the viewers eye to the subject.
Pinus cembra ‘Algonquin Pillar’ Heatherwood Spring
Today’s post is for my friends in the Northeast. From what I see in the news your are being hit with an Arctic blast with some temperatures below freezing and maybe even a little snow. It’s the first week of May … this is not suppose to happen. Today in Eastern Washington, we expect to see temperatures in the high 70’s. So I thought you would appreciate a little brightness and warmth.
This image is the tip of one of our speciality pine tree branches breaking out in new needles and cones. We have selected several non-common pine and spruce species to create a little evergreen grove on the southeast corner of our property. This little guy is showing off its spring glory. I look forward to watching as it matures through the season.
Remember back in a previous post (March 22) I presented a viburnum that was just getting ready to bloom? I thought it would burst open the next day. I kept going out every day checking for its progress. Leaves started to come out, but nothing seemed to be happening with the blossom buds. Then last week, all of a sudden the whole plant burst open in bloom. Well it took almost 4 weeks for the viburnum to reach its full bloom. Patience pays off! One week later, most of the blooms have been blown off the plant. Oh well … It was beautiful!
Walking around the Yakima Arboretum’s crabapple collection is a real treat. I made three trips there this Spring. One day I noticed a young lady walking around and taking closeup images of the crabapple blooms with her i-Pad. Her partner was patiently sitting on a bench waiting for her to finish. The next day I came back again and saw the same lady taking more photos with her i-Pad. And, her partner was sitting on the bench again. Beauty attracts photographers. If it weren’t for “social distancing” I would have asked her if she was just enjoying the beauty of the garden like I was, or was she doing some special project.
The beauty of the majestic ancient crabapples in the Yakima Arboretum has inspired me over the years. It is one of the largest crabapple collections in the country. Almost all of the trees are very old. Some are on their last leg. Over the years the Arboretum has not added new trees to take place of the ones which are past their healthy prime. This will be one of the challenges that the Arboretum will address in the new Master Plan. Anyway, the grove still inspires me to the point that I have decided to create a small crabapple grove of my own in the “lower 40” of Heatherwood. One dark pink crabapple was planted in the garden by the previous owner. It anchors the northeast corner of our house. This spring we will plant a white weeping cherry to complement it. On the “lower 40” we are planting a mini-collection of seven different crabapples to frame in our meadow area. Some are blooming now, so we can get a glimpse of what is to come in the years ahead.
I have been keeping a close eye on our dogwood tree buds. A few are getting ready to start their bloom. The sepals on this bud are starting to pull back. Soon the blossom will start to appear. The yellow blur in the background is a Wintersonne Mugo Pine. I had to stand on my tip toes to line the bud up with the Wintersonne. It was hard to keep the camera steady on my toes. (I was too lazy to go in and get a tripod.) I took a million images to get one that was reasonably crisp. It was a good way to pass the time!
The last couple of weeks, I have been spending way, way too much time sitting around. My excursions have been short trips to the garden to take a few images. I have made a resolution to be much more active in April as we will be pretty much staying at home.
I will take a daily walk or mini-hike with Mary around our neighborhood and hills around our home.
I will work/play a bit each day in our garden to get it ready for spring.
I will experiment with new techniques and approaches with my my camera to improve my overall skills.
And above all I will make the most of each day as I enjoy the wonders of the world around us!