Category Archives: Our Garden

Images taken in our Pennsylvania garden

Stepping Back

“Hydrangeas and History”
Heatherwood Cherry Allee

This image was created about twenty feet from the image in yesterday’s post. Instead of focusing on a single hydrangea looking through the garden, I stepped back and framed the historic Selah-Naches irrigation flume with the cherry trees and the row of hydrangeas. Borrowed scenes always add interest and enjoyment to our garden.

This fall will probably be the last time that the historic flume will be seen from our garden. It is scheduled to be replaced with a pipe line this winter. Progress is painful!

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Visual Depth

“Panicle Hydrangea – Lime Light”
Heatherwood Garden

Some views in our Heatherwood garden provide a glance through the garden to a borrowed scene of the surrounding hills. Other views, like the one above, provide a “stop dead” vignette of a specimen plant surrounded by companions and a deep background of color and contrasts. The ‘Lime Light’ panicle hydrangea is clearly the star of this image. In the summer, the blooms emerge bright white with a little lime green tinge. As the summer progresses they become even brighter white. In the late summer/early fall, they start to turn slightly pink. Later in the fall, the blooms turn brown and the leaves change into their fall color. Then in late autumn, the leaves fall, leaving the bare stems topped with spent blooms which provide a structural interest for the winter.

The companion plants provide depth and a stage for the star. The color and varying textures of the rudbeckia, Russian sage, yellow twig dogwood, and other perennials provide the frame. The grasses, various shrubs, and trees complete the background adding depth to the vignette.

As we walk through the garden, new and different scenes appear daily.

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“Red Twig Dogwood”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

Developing a garden is an evolution of ideas and time. Our Japanese-influenced garden started with my first planting of a Bloodgood Japanese maple in 2016. Additional trees and shrubs were added as I created a small section of garden next to the house in 2017 and 2018. In 2019, my ideas expanded to create a large Japanese style garden on the north section of our property. The concept of Heatherwood began. We converted a grassy slope into a large rock garden, complete with a pond, stream, and waterfall. Monsterous excavators reshaped the landscape. We planted the foundation trees and conifer shrubs for the garden. The foundation was complete, but there were many open areas to be finished. The work had just begun. In 2020, we added several ground covers around the garden pathways. This year we continued with the ground covers, additional border and shade trees, along with many evergreen and deciduous shrubs intended to fill in space and create a little contrast and multi-seasonal interest.

This little red twig dogwood was planted this spring. It looks small now, but when mature, it will reach 5-6 feet tall and wide. In the spring and summer it has light green foliage contrasting with the darker green conifers. In autumn, it is turning into yellow and red shades. In winter, its red stems create a beautiful contrast, especially when the ground is covered with snow.

The garden will continue to evolve. Each year we will add ground covers and additional fill-in plants. As the shade trees grow, we will replace sun loving specimens with shade specimens. Rhododendrons and azaleas are in the plan once we have enough shade to protect them. Developing the garden will be a never ending activity of joy.

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Fall is Here

“Start of Fall Color”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

Fall color is breaking out fast here in Eastern Washington. This year it seems like the color has broken out earlier than past years. The temperatures have dropped down into the 50’s from the hot 100+ degree days we experienced this summer. Every day I notice something new transitioning into its autumn shade. Heatherwood is a beautiful place to be this time of year.

It is time to go out and get to work finishing off our fall planting.

Heatherwood Japanese Garden Stroll #21 – Conclusion

“View From the Perch”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

Before settling down in the “Perch’s” Adirondack settee, our visitor takes a few moments to enjoy the scene that folds out below. From here, the stroller can view the Selah-Yakima gap, the rural Selah valley and rolling hills, and the Heatherwood landscape as a background to the Japanese garden stream and waterfalls. The dense cloud cover provides a contrast to the normally bright blue summer skies of the Yakima Valley. It is now time to sit down, relax, and enjoy a little peace with the rushing water and the song of birds providing nature’s wonderful music.

This posting is the conclusion for our stroller’s walk through Heatherwood’s Japanese Garden. There is much more to see and enjoy, but those will be left for a future stroll.

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Heatherwood Japanese Garden Stroll #20

“Path to the Kotoji”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

Our stroller continues the walk to the top of the path. A stepping stone path beckons one to a sitting rock by the stream across from the Kotoji Japanese lantern. Sitting on the rock next to the stream, a visitor can dangle their fingers in the flowing water as they gaze down and enjoy the water rushing down the hillside.

Today, our stroller decides not to walk down to the stream. Instead they look to the left and see a comfortable Adirondack settee calling them to take a rest and look over the Japanese garden and surrounding countryside.

“The Perch”

Heatherwood Japanese Garden Stroll #19

“Looking Down Over Garden”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

After a two week break, our visitor continues their stroll up to the top of the Japanese garden. Through a break in the trees, the stroller pauses and looks down to overlook the garden below. He/she notices two young deciduous trees, a Kentucky coffeetree and a Japanese pagoda tree. These were planted this year along with a cork tree to provide a future separation between the Japanese garden hillside and the stream and waterfall beyond. They currently stand about twelve feet tall. At maturity these trees can reach a height of over 60 feet and a width of 40-50 feet.

As the stroller continues up the path, he/she is greeted by small Japanese mountain lantern. The lantern is a harbinger that the path is nearing its end.

“Japanese Mountain Lantern”

Heatherwood Japanese Garden Stroll #18

“View of Selah Bluff”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

Turning the corner, the path straightens out and the view opens up. Our visitor is presented a picturesque scene of the Selah Bluff on a beautiful Eastern Washington blue sky day. One of the design aspects of our Heatherwood garden is the use of borrowed scenery from the surrounding area. We make liberal use of it!

Heatherwood Japanese Garden Stroll #17

“Turn Ahead”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

Looking up the hill, our stroller sees the top curve in the S-shaped path. The sides of the path are framed by basalt boulders and filled in with ground covers and specimen evergreen shrubs. Over time, all the spaces between the rocks will be filled with interesting vegetation. The back side of the hill is planted with various evergreen shrubs and trees. These will also fill in over time creating a border for the Japanese garden.

The stroller pauses and questions, “What is around the corner?”

Heatherwood Japanese Garden Stroll #16

“Tobiosho Japanese Maple & Chief Joseph Lodgepole Pine”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

Japanese maples and evergreen conifers line the hillside on the northwestern side of the path. Our visitor stops and examines the various textures and shades of green on the hillside vegetation. During the spring, the light chartreuse of the Tobiosho maple and the bright pink of the creeping phlox add a bit of brilliance to this scene. In the winter, the Chief Joseph pine turns to a brilliant yellow. Red twig dogwoods in the background loose their leaves and add a flash of red to the scene.

The stroller takes a few more steps up the hill and glances toward the sound of flowing water. A small window opens up to present a glimpse of the waterfall and pond.

“Window to the Pond”
Heatherwood Japanese Garden

The east side of path is lined with various evergreen trees and shrubs which shield the view of what is beyond to the stroller on the path. Several small windows allow the stroller to peek through to see vignettes of the garden and stream. This window is a “works in progress.” Our design plan is to have low-growing evergreens and and other creeping shrubs create a bed of shades of green and various textures leading to the pond.