“Path to Never Ending Search of Knowledge” Heatherwood Japanese Garden
When we first started designing the layout of Heatherwood’s Japanese Inspired Garden, I identified three stone designs that I wanted to include to depict important inspirations in my life. The stone pattern in the center of above image is meant to depict a pathway to a never ending search of learning. The bottom stone represents the “seeker”. The four rocks above the seeker curve upward creating a path to acquire knowledge. When reaching the top stone, the seeker can look upward to a tall bluff full of geologic history.
I see every day as an opportunity to discover and learn something new. It may be an element of nature, a new face, a new idea. It can come from an external source or from an internal reflection. As seen above, there is a well worn path alongside the rocks. My legs are not long enough to hop from one to another.
Today we will host our family Easter celebration. We will have three generations of Grafs, Downeys, Pecks, and Powells with us this year. The older generation will relax and laugh as we watch the youngsters search for the Easter eggs. There are plenty of spots to hide them in our Heatherwood garden. While we relax and laugh, the middle generation parents will nervously make sure their kids don’t get carried away.
While we enjoy the day, we will all thank our Lord in our own way for the life He has given for us.
Throughout our Heatherwood Garden, we have designed several sitting areas that have a nice view of the garden and the surrounding hills. This area is in the southwest corner of the property looking east over an in-process garden room area and toward the background bluff. As we fill in the planting areas around the lawn and behind the chairs, this sitting area will be a secluded peaceful retreat. It will be a special place to watch the morning sunrise or a late afternoon’s amber glow on the garden and bluff.
“World Trade Center and 9/11 Memorial” New York City
Now, on this Memorial Day more than ever, we all need to step back and remember what our Nation has gone through to establish and maintain our Democracy. We need to honor all who have given their lives to maintain our freedom. We need to thank those who have rebuilt our country and our sense of democratic freedom after attacks have been made.
Right now, the world is under attack by an autocrat in Russia who has ruthlessly invaded the Ukraine and who threatens to use nuclear weapons if anyone tries to stop him. Here at home, we are threatened by an autocrat who has denied the legitimacy of our election process (without any proof) and who has instigated an attack on our Capitol. On a personal basis, we are being held up by a gun lobby who will not back off supporting selling military grade weapons designed for the mass killing of people.
It is the time for us to stand up and bring back sanity and compassion to our Nation and World.
After the shadow of record-setting freezing temperatures, our first crocuses start to emerge. They provide hope that spring is just around the corner. In a similar fashion, I contemplate and pray that our world’s humanity will overcome the shadow that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is causing.
Today is the sunrise for a new year! It is a time to look forward to the new challenges and opportunities the new year will bring. There are wonderful times ahead to spend with family and friends. There are new adventures around the corner with new things to learn. There are times for work and for enjoying the results. There are times for quiet contemplation on what is most important in life. It will be our challenge to act on the most important things and make the best of each and every day.
“Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi Mural by Eduardo Korbra” New York City
I was walking along the Highline in New York on a quiet drizzly morning admiring the wonderful landscape design on the old railroad tracks. I looked up and was stopped dead in my tracks when I saw this huge mural painted on the side of a nearby building. I stood frozen for minutes, just gazing, admiring the art, and contemplating how much these two people have given to the world. In our troubled world today, why can’t we all take a lesson from these two and make it a better place to live.
“Looking North Through Japanese Garden” Heatherwood Winter
Work is about to start on our 2021 spring project at Heatherwood. Our garden will continuously change over time. Additions and modifications are designed to highlight key plants, frame views, and hide distractions. From the perspective of the above image, we want to focus the attention to the plants in the Japanese garden then draw the view to the 1890’s irrigation flume in the background. This year we plan to add medium sized Japanese holly evergreens to hide the road leading up the hill and mid-sized conifers to hide the bare hillside at the right of the image. These additions will provide a background layer for the Japanese garden as well as frame the irrigation flume in the distant background.
As we walk through our garden, we are content enjoying the current state of our existing plants. Concurrently we visualize how the plants will mature as well as look for new opportunities to enhance the garden. Change is an ever-present part of Heatherwood.
Today started with a bright sunrise as a harbinger of the start of a new chapter. Biden’s Inaugural speech on “Unity” was a bright way to start the path for the new Administration. Patience, persistence, honesty, compassion, compromise, and a lot of hard work will be required by all of us.