It is wonderful living in the country. Heatherwood is surrounded by hills and countryside settings. I step out of our garage and look across the street to see this peaceful pastoral setting. Sometimes our neighbor’s horses are grazing in the pasture or beneath these old apple trees. This area was once covered by apple and cherry orchards. Now there remains just a few apple trees along our neighbor’s property line and an old cherry orchard on a distant hillside. Much of the area has been converted to pastures and scattered homes. Heatherwood is in the middle of this bucolic area.
We have attempted to design Heatherwood’s landscape to take advantage of the peaceful surroundings. Plantings and paths encourage a wanderer to enjoy the immediate surroundings then look out to see views of the surrounding area. Sitting areas are located and framed to do the same. The garden brings peace to the busy world around us.
Strolling in our garden on a crisp frosty morning, I looked down and saw an interesting pattern on the ground. It reminded me of French tapestry wall coverings I had seen on some of the old historic homes on the East Coast. I took a little artistic liberty and enhanced the image with Topaz Impression to create this final image. Squint your eyes and think of some of those wall paper covered walls on those wonderful early 19th century historic homes.
For reference, below is the base image prior to adding the Topaz enhancement.
After a day of heavy frost, we had a day of beautiful morning sunshine. During my morning walk I focused on finding the light. The morning sun made the various colors of our late fall/early winter garden pop out in brilliant shades and hues. Water droplets on tree branches and leaves sparkled like little stars. Backlit leaves and grasses displayed semi-transparent yellow and orange shapes that fluttered in a gentle breeze. It was a beautiful morning!
This image shows several perspectives of our Heatherwood garden. The bottom half comprises the meadow area with various perennials and grasses. A section of lawn separates the meadow from a hillside rock garden with its small trees, shrubs, perennials, and ground cover. Another strip of lawn separates the rock garden from the Japanese garden at the top of the image. Through the garden, plants have been selected to provide seasonal interest throughout the four seasons of the year.
Spring through autumn, the rudbeckia provide brilliant yellow color to the garden. Even in their spent form, they provide a bright yellow-brown contrast to the first winter (late fall) snow. Who says a winter garden is dreary?
We received a light covering of snow last night. Once the sun lit up the yard, I grabbed my camera and went out for a little walk before the snow melted.
Why did I take this image? The lone leaf was an anomaly in the snow covered grass. It created contrast. It was a contrast of color (orange vs white), size and shape (large oval vs lines and small crystals), temperature (warm vs cold), and texture (large semi-smooth vs small points and lines). Did I see a leaf or was it a lone colorful object in a sea of white spattered with green protrusions?
Morning sunlight sets our birches on fire. Even with the patches of frost on the ground, the birches provide me warmth. Early morning and late afternoon rays highlight Heatherwood’s golden grasses as they rake across the flowing seed heads. Spent, semi-transparent perennial leaves glow as the low light strike them. The few remaining tree leaves flitter as the light is reflected from their shiny surfaces. Nature’s wonders never let me down.
Our Chief Joseph Lodgepole Pines have turned into their yellow winter glory early this year. Last year it was well into January before they reached this bright yellow shade. In April they start to turn light green and gradually turn to full green by summer. They are one of the all-season stars in Heatherwood’s Japanese garden.
Chief Joseph is a dwarf conifer growing only 2-4 inches per year. It reaches about 6 feet at 10 years and can grow to about 20 feet at maturity. Our two trees were planted last year and are about 3 feet tall.
Stream with Autumn Leaves Heatherwood Japanese Garden
Early morning sun highlighted these fallen autumn leaves. They immediately caught my attention and drew me to work the scene with my camera. I walk up to the top of the stream most every day to see and hear the rushing water. I find something new to photograph every time.
The days are getting shorter and colder. Autumn is ending and winter is following close behind. Yesterday we even had a little dusting of snow. I will need to shut the stream and waterfalls down soon to prevent ice from restricting the stream causing the water to overflow its banks. It saddens me to do so, I will hold back as long as I can. It will be mid March until I will be able turn the stream back on.
We are now blessed with a little frost every morning. When the sun comes out, the leaves remaining in the shade retain their frost dusting. There is so much to see. How do I pick what to photograph?
I use a similar technique that some of our forefathers used to find underground water on their land called “water witching.” Their first step was to find a branch shaped like a “Y”. They held the “Y” branches very lightly with the leg of the “Y” facing horizontally in front of them. They would slowly walk across the land hoping that the leg of the “Y” would drop. When it did, there was water below and they selected the site to dig their wells. Now, imagine a camera with a telephoto lens serving as a “witching” tool. I hold my camera lightly with the telephoto pointing horizontally forward. When I feel the lens starting to drop down there is my pile of leaves that I am destined to photograph. “Leaf witching” works for me … or maybe, my arms just get tired.