I have been trying to create the essence of what I see in the meadow for the last couple of weeks. My results have not been satisfying. I am still making my images from my mower since I cannot walk around unaided yet. My prior images have not been as crisp as I would like. I converted several into abstracts to make up for their softness.
For this next set of images, I focused on isolation using a long lens and a narrow depth of field. I also timed taking the images when the meadow was being watered with sprinklers.
In my youth, the highlight of a warm summer day was running through sprinklers in our yard with my brother and sister. I guess I have never outgrown those special times.
This informal Mountain lantern was also added this spring to the Heatherwood Japanese Garden. It quietly sits on the hillside above our “Perch” viewing overlook. Its light will gently grace chairs below. I look forward to spending warm summer evenings listening to the waterfall and overlooking the garden below.
Our new Hokkeji Lantern welcomes our guests into Heatherwood’s Japanese garden. To the left beyond the path (not visible) is a young Acer grisum (paperbark maple). In time, its branches will extend over the path to project the Hokkeji. To the right and behind is a newly-planted pink red-bud. Over time, its branches will extend over the Hokkeji as well. The combination of the two trees and lantern will provide a concealed glimpse of the Japanese garden. Once through the entry, the garden will open up to a pathway rising up the hill to overlook the garden and to another path leading to a hidden waterfall.
As I squint my eyes, I see my imagined vision of what will be in the years ahead.
This image is taken from the lawn below the view area discussed in my previous post. The rock garden’s southern exposure creates a stage to display a mixture of texture, color, and shapes. Specimen conifers are highlighted by colorful perennials and ground cover. Scattered grasses provide additional textural interest. The various rocks link into the rocks scattered on the hillsides above.
This image is the winding path down from our upper viewing area through the rock garden to the lawn below. We are attempting to create an “alpine-type” rock garden on the slope between two of our lawn areas. It will take several years to fill in to where the plants cover the bark and flow over the edge of the path. The path itself is a winding s-curve through the garden. The evergreens are dwarf versions. Ground cover is placed to fill in around the evergreens and other shrubs.
The rock garden is in its infancy. Last year it was just a sloping, difficult to mow lawn. All it needs now is time, patience, and a little care to mature.
As the temperatures hover in the high 90’s, our new meadow continues to display a variety of color. I long to be able to get our among the flowers and become one with my camera and the beautiful blooms. For the next several weeks, I will need to be content with viewing alongside and from above. Patience is not one of my strongest virtues.
This is another one of our ‘”viewing rooms” at the southeast corner of our property. Looking north from here I can see the lower lawn area, the meadow and the crabapple grove on my right. Circled around the back and to the far right, is a conifer grove. A large Zelkova on the left provides shade from the afternoon sun. In a few years, this will be a protected hidden alcove. It will be a good spot to watch young ones play on the grass.
Our current “stay at home” and “social distancing” environment does have a few advantages. It gives me the opportunity to refresh some of my photography lessons. David duChemin, one of my instructors, stresses that to make a meaningful/compelling photograph, a photographer must first have a vision. That vision translates to having an intent for each image that is taken by a press of a cameras shutter.
This same thought is directly applicable to designing a landscape. When we first started designing our future arboretum one of the first things we did was to walk around the property to identify what scenes we wanted to protect and emphasize from potential “viewing rooms.” Selah Butte and the old Naches-Selah irrigation flume was a mandatory view. We picked a point near the southwest corner of our open lower lawn to build a protected viewing point. This point is where this image is taken from. We designed a planting area behind this point, an oval patch of lawn in front, and other curved planting and lawn areas between to develop a little room. In the back of the room, we planted trees to create shade from the afternoon sun. We framed the view of the butte with an oak and a Katsura tree. Other trees in the mid-ground have a limited height and will not interfere with the view. The summer sun rises directly over the butte. The setting sun lights the hillside up with a warm orangish glow. It will be a great place to welcome the rising sun with a cup of coffee as well as a peaceful place to enjoy a glass of wine as we enjoy the warm glow of the setting sun.
Now, let’s get back to the original question, “Why did I create this image?” My intent was simply to create a baseline illustrating the view that we have at the completion of our first phase of our Heatherwood’s landscape design. The image was created mid-day on the first day of summer 2020. I plan to develop a history of the passing of the seasons, morning and afternoon perspectives, and maturing of our Heatherwood arboretum over time.
The “Eastern Smooth Beardtongue” (Penstemon laevigitus) is one of our garden’s first bloomers. its three foot tall burgundy stems host brilliant white and pink flowers in the middle of the meadow.
Small beautiful vignettes like this help me focus on what is right with this world as I let go of the many difficult things we are all facing. Beauty is all around us, we just need to open our eyes and hearts to recognize it.
Here is to more color in the meadow. This time we’ve added a little orange to the yellow and purple. The patches of color are separate, but gently blend into one another. The yellow provides a little buffer between the orange and the purple. What a summer treat our new meadow brings us.