Spring highlights always get me excited for new garden projects. We planted these Siberian iris last fall. Their first spring bloom exceeded our expectations as they highlighted the Yukimi Japanese lantern and our pond and stream. Finishing this area of our Japanese garden will be one of our major spring projects. Our focus will be to transform this area into a protected contemplative sitting area where Mary and I can enjoy an afternoon glass of wine together or with a couple of friends.
Our plan is to add a couple of trees around the sitting area, stone paths leading to the pond, and unique plants and ground covers. We will be adding plants along the edge of the stream and pond that will extend over the rocks to the water. Additional shade trees will be added to help separate the stream and pond from the other parts of the garden. Over time as the trees, shrubs, and plants mature, we hope to have a semi-secluded place to sit and reflect on the wonderful world that surround us.
The Kotoji Japanese lantern is probably the most frequent single element that I have photographed in our Heatherwood Japanese Garden. It sits in a prominent spot overlooking the stream and waterfalls. One leg is in the stream while the other sits solidly on land. From every angle it seems to be a sentinel guarding the stream and pond below. The Kotoji can be seen from multiple places around the Japanese garden as well as as from the lower Heatherwood meadow and garden. Even in winter it is a dominant focal point in the landscape. At night its internal light shines through the lantern openings while an external flood lamp highlights the lantern and stream.
Many mornings we have started the day enjoying a cup of coffee overlooking the Kotoji from the “Perch” above. In the late afternoon/early evening we have sat below looking up over the pond and waterfalls to the Kotoji as we sip a glass of wine toasting to another beautiful day.
We are dreaming for a White Christmas. Thankfully, the predictions are for a snowfall on Christmas Day. The light snow we received two weeks ago helps set the stage and prepare us for some winter beauty.
Tonight is Christmas Eve. For Mary and I, it will be a quiet and peaceful evening, a time to reflect and celebrate the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. We will be thinking of our families and friends, who many like us will be spending Christmas physically separated from our loved ones. Our spirits will be with all of you and those who have passed into our Lord’s arms before us.
This is one of my favorite view points in Heatherwood’s Japanese Garden. A large stone natural bridge extends over a stream and a small waterfall. On the far side of the bridge, I can look over a small Japanese maple and the Kotoji lantern to see the pond and Yukimi lantern below. Our five Japanese lanterns are placed around the garden to provide different viewpoint perspectives. As the garden changes color during the seasons, the perspectives change as well. Over time as the surrounding trees, shrubs, and ground covers mature, the perspectives will also change. There seems to be something new every time I walk around the garden.
“Medeval Rhetoric” Miller Hall, University of Washington Quad
Viewing and thinking about the old Education Hall (now Miller Hall) grotesques makes me appreciate what a well-rounded liberal arts education would be. Education has many dimensions with various perspectives from different points of view ranging across cultures, times, and topics.
I feel a little remorse not being exposed to this level of learning as I progressed through a technical degree. I missed a lot during my formal engineering and business education. Over the years I have filled in many of the gaps through reading and recently on-line classes. I currently enjoy viewing lectures from the “Great Courses” on-line education programs. It is never too late to continue learning.
This posting will close my grotesque series for the time being.
“Grammar Teacher and Students” Miller Hall, University of Washington
We need more of these!
I remember grammar classes in school when growing up from grade school through the first couple of years in high school. They were not my favorite, but I learned a lot. Throughout my professional career, clear writing was imperative and essential to communicate. I am thankful for the grammar education I received in my early years.
Now, grammar is not formally taught in many of our schools. Much of our communication is through social media. Most of it is extremely poorly written and sloppy.
“Astronomy Grotesque” Miller Hall, University of Washington Quad
Astronomy is a topic that I have always been interested. During my years at the University as an engineering student, I did not have much of an opportunity to take elective classes outside of engineering-related disciplines if I wanted to graduate in 4 years.
I had to wait until I graduated to take a couple of astronomy classes at the University of Washington “Experimental College”. Subsequently I have taken on-line classes through the “Great Courses” to satisfy my curiosity. There is always opportunity to learn something new. Now, I need to learn how to apply a little creative photography to it.
And we are now laying the foundation to a manned landing on Mars!
“The Fish Teacher” Miller Hall, University of Washington Quad
In this grotesque on Miller Hall, the Roman god Neptune is depicted with a fish over his head. I have spent a couple of hours trying to research the connection between Neptune, a fish, and teaching. No luck so far…
“The Phoenician Teacher” Miller Hall, University of Washington Quad
This grotesque, the Phoenician Teacher, is also located on the third floor of Miller Hall. Miller Hall, built in 1922, was originally “Education Hall”, thus being decorated with education-related figures. Carl Gould was the building’s architect. Alonzo Victor Lewis created the 44 sculptures adorning the building.
“Chinese Teacher (Confucius) Grotesque” Miller Hall, University of Washington Quad
The Quadrangle, located in the “Upper Campus” of the University of Washington, is the center point for the classic Collegiate Gothic architecture on campus. This was were the non-engineering students and all the attractive girls had their classes. They did not allow engineers to grace the halls of these classic buildings. We were all too busy with our slide-rules. In the six years that I attended the UW, I never had a class there.
Even though I did not attend any classes there, I had ample time to stroll through the Quad on the way to the Chemistry and Physics Buildings and the Suzzallo Library. While doing so, I would occasionally look up at the strange figures on the buildings. I always called them gargoyles. But as I discovered later, they are really grotesques. They are differentiated from gargoyles in that gargoyles have water coming out of them from rain down spouts.
For the next several postings I will focus on a few of these pieces of art.