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.
“Japanese Maple in Snow” Heatherwood Japanese Garden
This Japanese Maple is persistent. It just will not drop its leaves. Most of our Japanese Maples have a similar habit. They add to contrasting colors in the winter landscape as well as provide interesting “nesting spots” for winter snow. If the snow gets too heavy, we do have to gently dust it off the fragile branches to protect them from breaking. Later in the early spring we also need to gently run our hands through the branches to remove the leaves on some of the trees to prepare for the fresh new growth.
I think winter is finally here. The first five weeks of winter have been very mild with temperatures often in the 40’s and 50’s. We have had several very light snowfalls that have melted within a day. Sunday night we received this snow. More is scheduled for this week and coming weekend. Heatherwood is beautiful this time of year. It creates a very peaceful feeling. All the new plants provide a striking contrast to what was just a lawn and pasture setting two years ago.
In this image, the Kotoji lantern silently watches over the dry stream bed. In a couple of months the steam will be active with flowing water and waterfalls.
Patiently watching a silent bed, Kotoji waits for spring ahead, With rushing water soon to come.
Weather changes pretty rapidly here in Eastern Washington. Saturday was bright and shiny in the 40’s. This morning I woke up to a light snowfall. I couldn’t resist grabbing my camera and taking a little walk around Heatherwood.
This is one of my favorite garden viewing vantage points. It is peaceful now with a little ice covering the pond. The white snow separates the trees and shrubs from the ground. A light fog blurs the background hills which also helps pop out the deciduous trees at the edge of our garden. Green, yellow, and golden brown color still highlights the winter scene.
In two months, the spring activity level will start. The water will be turned feeding the two waterfalls emptying into the pond. Hopefully early spring bulbs planted last fall will start to emerge. If the weather holds, we will start our spring planting.
Hana Matoi Late Fall Growth Heatherwood Japanese Garden
A few red and green leaves of late autumn growth contrast against the dried brown leaves of the spent leaves. Ice plants in their red and yellow winter color on the hillside frame the new leaves.
Below, the fragile disectum leaves of the Hana Matoi shade the spreading blue purplish green thyme below.
This concludes my Hana Matoi mini-project. Or does it? These six images in the last 3 posts were all taken on an overcast day. Early morning light and late afternoon light provide many additional perspectives. Different seasons display different colors. Snow, ice, rain, and dew create magical views. And there are always an abundance of opportunities for abstracts. An infinite number of images are yet to be discovered.
Hana Matoi Looking Down Heatherwood Japanese Garden
This post continues my Hana Matoi mini project. Looking for a different perspective, I walked up and leaned into the tree. I stood on my tip toes, held my camera above my head and took this image looking down through the top leaves to highlight the structure of the trunk and branches. It looks like a good spot for a bird to nest.
The image below is from a perspective of walking on a semi-hidden path adjacent to the main Japanese garden path. The Hokkeji pulls a visitor’s eyes to the Hana Matoi and the garden hillside.
Hokkeji and Hana Matoi Heatherwood Japanese Garden
Hana Matoi Japanese Maple Heatherwood Japanese Garden
I love my morning walks through the garden with my camera. Many times I stop and take a photograph of something I have taken several times before. A couple of days ago I decided to give myself a little challenge to take purposeful photographs of some of our Japanese maples from a different perspective than I have before.
I walked around the little Hana Matoi from different directions and distances. I took close-up and distance images. I climbed above and got down on my hands and knees to just check things out. I used the tree as my primary subject and as a background. I used my feet as my zoom lens. After about an hour, I had around fifty images of different perspectives. I decided to make a small mini project of six images to attempt to characterize our little Hana Matoi Japanese maple.
The above image portrays the Hana Matoi near the entrance of Heatherwood’s Japanese Garden looking east. The maple welcomes visitors to the garden and introduces them to what is to come.
In the image below, the Hana Matoi bids the visitors goodbye as they round a bend and start to exit the garden.
Yukimi Lantern Overlooking Pond Heatherwood Japanese Garden
A little Yukimi lantern guards over our small pond. During the winter months we turn off the waterfall, which allows the surface of the pond to function as a mirror reflecting the rocks and trees above. For now it is peaceful and quiet. In two months, the water will be turned back on and the waterfall’s turbulence will excite the emergence of spring.
Come on it! The curved path and rock border leads the way. The Hokkoji lantern provides a greeting. Branches of deciduous trees frame a vision of what may be. Conifers hint what may lie beyond as the fog creates a little mystery and maybe hides a surprise.
These are some of the thoughts and ideas that have gone into the design of Heatherwood.
The entrance path to our Japanese garden is in the shade in the early morning. I walked around the corner of the house and got a blast of sun rays shining through the crabapple and Japanese maples. Frost crystals reflected tiny speckles of light back at me. I stopped … and just took in the light and the abundance of early winter color.
I appreciate the light that surrounds us. It may be physical light, or it may be the light of a new thought, or even may be the light of a smile. I try to keep my mind clear and search out the light that each day brings. Something always appears!