When asked why does the lawn have so many curves, I can come up with several plausible answers for the designer’s motivation: 1) he was under the influence, 2) he was creative and wanted to make a statement, 3) he was full of chicanery and was playing tricks, and 4) he loves to race his lawn mower through a challenging chicane course. For Heatherwood, it is the latter. I love to mow the lawn!
For many years, rhododendrons have held special places in our various gardens. Our first house in Seattle had a giant 10 ft. pink rhododendron guarding our front door. It came with the house and was the star of our front yard. We later moved into a new house without any landscaping. The first plants we put in were rhodies. When we moved to Washington, DC we fell in love with the rhododendron and azalea garden at the National Arboretum. And of course, we planted several in our new landscape. Moving back to the Northwest, we chose a home in Covington that was surrounded by rhododendrons in a woodland garden. A couple of years later we moved north to Woodinville into a new home that had a new landscape with several rhodies. During our 11 years there, we planted a separate rhododendron garden and also added several species into our back woodland. Then off to Philadelphia we went. Rhododendron gardens abounded all around us. And again we had to have ours as well. We had a large pink one like the image above along side our back porch. It was one of our favorite plants in the garden. Seventeen years later I moved back to the Northwest, this time in the dry Eastern Washington area. Rhododendrons have a difficult time in the dry, hot, and cold environment here. But they can survive if planted in protected spots. And once more, we have added several rhodies in our Heatherwood garden.
Over the years, I have so many happy memories of sharing enjoyment of rhododendrons with loved ones in various gardens located across the country as well as in our own personal gardens. They hold a special place in my heart.
Our 2022 spring planting project is completed except for a little barking touch up here and there. This year we added understory plants to our woodland garden. Last year we added standard maples, several dogwoods and Japanese maples, and a few shrubs along the garden edge and internal pathways. This year, we added shrubs and perennials to central part of the garden. It is starting to look a little more like a woodland. As the trees get larger, we will start to add more filtered shade loving woodland plants. But for now, most of the plants need to be sun loving. We need to be patient and wait for the trees, shrubs, and perennials to grow and mature a bit before we make significant additional contributions to the woodland. We will follow the shade.
We have several walkers who daily walk through our neighborhood. This view is for them as they walk up the road past our driveway. At this point, a walker can look across the street and see another neighbor’s flume section and then look up over the street intersection and see yet another neighbor’s flume section. The three of us have been able to preserve a little bit of history that graced our hillside for over 100 years.
There is always a surprise almost everywhere we look in our spring garden. We have several of these little ‘Picea Pusch’ Norway spruce shrubs scattered along paths in Heatherwood’s Japanese garden. In the spring, vibrant red cones appear at the tips of new growth. By mid-summer, they turn to their brown seed cones. New spring growth abounds in our little Eden.
If I sleep in and get up at 7:00A, then go into my office to write, this is what greets me as I look out the window. It is always an inspiration to start my day thinking about what is right about the world that surrounds me. There is so much to be thankful for. Taking a moment each day to think about that prepares me to make the most of each new day in front of me.
As I walk along our garden path, this is one of my favorite vignettes. Looking up the hillside, Japanese maples, various evergreens, and the Kotoji frame in the rushing stream above the pond. Each season brings different color and form to this little view. Each year the trees and shrubs grow and provide a fuller picture. Only four years ago this hillside was simply covered with grass and was a &%#&!? to mow!
“Kotoji & Orangeola Japanese Maple” Heatherwood Japanese Garden
The Kotoji and Orangeola Japanese Maple are the guardians of Heatherwood’s stream and waterfalls. The Orangeola’s first breakout of leaves is a robust red. In mid-summer it transitions into a burgundy and green color. Then in the fall, it bursts out into a spectacular orange. Over time the Orangeola will grow and drape over the Kotoji.
This image illustrates some of our spring planting this year. Across the stream, white and pink phlox and kinnikinnick are starting to cover the ground. Siberian cypresses planted on both sides of the stream will gradually grow and flow down over the rocks to the stream. Some day, years from now, our Heatherwood Japanese garden will be filled with complementary vegetation from the ground to the sky. In the mean time, we will enjoy each day watching the garden grow.
“North Wind Hybrid Japanese Maple” Heatherwood Japanese Maple
Our North Wind Japanese maple is a hybrid that has been developed to withstand harsher environments than a typical Japanese maple. It is located in full harsh afternoon sunlight and will eventually flow over the Oribe Japanese lantern and a Tetsu Bachi water basin. It provides an entryway to our lower Japanese garden retreat.
“Shin Deshojo Japanese Maple” Heatherwood Japanese Garden
I posted an image of this Shin deshojo earlier this month when the leaves were just starting to break out and before the new ground covers were added. The Japanese maple is now in its peak brilliant pink spring color. This spring we planted a patch of Bressingham thyme. In a few years, we should have a blanket of purple to complement the Shin deshojo maple. It takes time for the thyme.