Category Archives: Our Garden

Images taken in our Pennsylvania garden

Sweet Blossoms

Crabapple Blossoms
Yakima Arboretum, Washington

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.

To All Us Bleeding Hearts

“Bleeding Hearts”
Heatherwood

Here is a little bit of brightness for your day …

Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra) have always been one of my favorite spring flowers. It was one of Dad’s as well. I can remember when I was just a little tyke, Dad would grab me and take me out to see the first blooms. I can remember him planting the Bleeding Heart in our small garden at the “little house” up at the ranch. When we moved into the “City” (Selah, WA), we built a rock garden in the back yard by our patio. A Bleeding Heart was one of the first plants Dad and Mom planted.

After I was out on my own, it was many years before I planted my own Bleeding Heart. I planted one in our first house in Seattle. our house in Bothell, our house in Fairfax VA, our house in Kent, our house in Woodinville, and our house in Fountainville PA. We were in Fountainville for 17 years where our Bleeding Heart grew into a rather large plant. It provided a beautiful contrast among a bed of pachysandra under a blue atlas cedar. It was the highlight of the spring bloom in its own corner for Karen and me.

The first plant I planted when I moved back to Selah was the Bleeding Heart. I did not have a good shade location to plant it, so I planted it next to the house in a little corner between rhododendrons and sword ferns. It is making its home there, but it is a little hidden. As we finish our Japanese garden, I will find a place for it where it can shine.

Over the years, I have photographed our Bleeding Heart from many different perspectives. I have made several greeting cards using it as the subject. They always come in handy for that special greeting to someone that means very much to me.

Getting Ready …

Dogwood Bud
Heatherwood Spring

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.

  1. I will take a daily walk or mini-hike with Mary around our neighborhood and hills around our home.
  2. I will work/play a bit each day in our garden to get it ready for spring.
  3. 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!

Progression

“The Lower 40”
Heatherwood Spring

This is an overview of the landscape changes we are making this spring. At the time I was growing up this area was an orchard It was changed over to a pasture as the Heather Heights area was being developed. The prior property owner landscaped the upper section. A couple of years ago I converted the pasture into a new large lawn. Now we are chewing the lawn up again to plant trees for our mini-arboretum.

A Star Harbinger

Star Magnolia
Heatherwood Spring

Looking up at me
bright and brilliant as a star
brings spring’s warm glory.

The Seattle Japanese Garden posts a daily photo accompanied with a haiku. The haiku form is a 3 line poem consisting of 17 phonetic syllables. The first line has 5 syllables, the second 7 and the third 5. I thought I would give it a try (at lease for one post).

The star magnolia is the second plant in our garden to bloom each year, following the forsythia. We do not have any spring bulbs planted … yet. This spring we are planting several shrubs and trees that will produce even earlier blossoms. Hopefully this fall we will get some spring flowering bulbs in the ground.

Bittersweet

Flowering Plum Blossom
Heatherwood

Our first flowering plum blossoms peaked out yesterday. Their blooms really say it is Spring. The rest of the trees start to come out soon after the Flowering Plum. Our driveway is lined with these plum trees. When they are in full bloom, it is a beautiful sight.

These plums are planted only about 8-inches from the edge of the driveway. Their branches encroach and rub any wide vehicle that enters. In addition, they drop their fall fruit all over the driveway creating quite a mess. I have made the hard decision to remove them after they bloom this year. It makes Mary and I very sad. They will be replaced with Green Vase Zelkova’s planted a save distance from the driveway.

I really wish that the plums would have been planted in a spot that considered their mature growth patterns. As we develop Heatherwood, we are planting trees spaced for their mature form even though it will take years for them to fill in.

Something To Look Forward To

Japanese Garden Waterfall
Heatherwood

Last week we cleaned the Japanese garden stream bed and turned on the water. Previously we added an Adirondack settee that I made over the winter to the top viewing area. It is a great place to sit, relax, contemplate, and just enjoy the wonderful world around us.

When I get up in the morning, I like to pause and think about little things that will “make my day”. Today, I thought about sharing my morning cup of coffee sitting in the Adirondack chair with Mary. It will be a wonderful way to start the day.

Immersed in Warmth

North Star Spruce
Heatherwood Spring

This image just gives me warmth. The warm spring sun was highlighting a Wintersomme Mugo Pine. It was radiating its bright yellow winter color. My assignment was to find something interesting to put in front of it. The tip of a young North Star Spruce called out “Here I Am.”

The Coronavirus and “Social Distancing” will be with us for quite some time I am afraid. To me, “Social Distancing” is the wrong term to use. “Physical Distancing” is really what we should be addressing. With all the means we have for remotely communicating including social media, there is no reason that we need to lock our minds and souls up and quarantine communication and connections with others. Physical distancing is important in today’s time, but nothing is stopping us for reaching out and saying, “Here I Am!”

It Has Started …

Viburnum Starting to Bloom
Heatherwood Spring

Like I mentioned in a previous post, I have been watching this viburnum waiting for it to bloom. A few of the bud pods are now opening up. Very soon, white blossoms will appear form each of the individual flower buds. Maybe tomorrow!

It is an exciting time of year in the garden. Little needles are starting to emerge from buds on the evergreens. Tiny cones are starting to form. Buds on our cherry, plum, crabapple, and pear trees are swelling. A few leaves are popping out on our October Glory maple. Needles are turning from their winter yellows and browns to their spring light green. Things are happening!

The First Day of Spring

Star Magnolia Bloom
Heatherwood Spring

Today is an absolutely beautiful spring day here in Eastern Washington. The sky is bright blue and the temperature is a warm 65 degrees. It couldn’t be a nicer day. I spent a good part of the morning going from plant to plant photographing emerging flower and leaf buds. I finished the morning off sitting with Mary overlooking our stream soaking in the rays from the sun. It felt so, so good!

The beauty of this simple star magnolia bloom brings me peace. Nature is not letting the Coronavirus gain the upper hand. We all need to do the same. Gradually things will get better like nature gradually transitioning from winter dormancy, through spring awakening, to the flourish of summer brightness. There are so many things to be thankful for. Take a walk and enjoy nature … spring is here!