Mary and I enjoy taking a walk from time to time. We really should do it every day. On the road above our home, we get a panoramic view of Heatherwood. I have recorded the view over the time that I have been back in Selah. It is interesting to see how the property has developed over the years.
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.
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.
This has been a crazy, crazy year. Our traditional Thanksgiving is normally spent with our wonderful families. This year will be different for many of us. We still plan to make the most of it and have quiet but special Thanksgiving Holiday.
We have a lot to be thankful for even in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. We have our health and the wonderful world around us. We share the spirt of our families even though we are physically separated. With the development of effective vaccines, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel to be able to get back to a “normal” way of life. If we all work together, we can restore our national economy and resolve the political strife. Two Thousand Twenty One will be a much better year.
Here is to all … Have a Happy Thanksgiving! Make the most of every moment.
Leaves and grasses strewn about magic image it creates.
Something magical sometimes appears when I put a camera to my eye. Physical objects of different colors, shapes, and textures flow together into an image that represents more of a feeling than their true identity.
Our neighbor’s cherry orchard provides a beautiful background for Heatherwood. It has seasonal interest throughout the year. Beautiful light pink blossoms welcome in spring. Lush green highlights the summer months. Striking orange-brown decorates the fall hillside. The snow covered trees provide a striking contrast in the winter. The orchard provides a nice place to take a walk throughout the year and provides a special sweet treat in July.
The orchard and hillside are a good example for “borrowed scenery” for Heatherwood’s Japanese garden. With the limited space in our garden, we wanted to make as much use of the surrounding hills borrowing their character and beauty. As we were laying out our garden paths and tree placements, we consciously identified surrounding areas that we wanted to highlight. We formed the path and placed trees to create framed scenes of the surrounding hills and valley below.
I can’t get enough of the beautiful fall color at Heatherwood. With all the guidance to stay at home during the accelerated expansion of Covid-19 cases, we are so lucky to be able to just step outside to partake in the beauty of autumn.
Along Heatherwood’s waterfalls, several Japanese Maples grace the stream bank. Their fall color frame the Kotoji lantern as well as the stream. They are young trees now, but over time will grow with their branches extending over the stream and waterfalls. After the final leaves fall, we will reluctantly shut down the stream’s water for the winter.
Two sets of American White Birch trees were planted by the previous owner of our property. They marked the southwest and southeast corners of the original landscaped area. A lot has changed in the last four years. Now they act as sentinels linking the upper and lower landscape areas. The birches provide much needed shade in the summer and stark beauty in the winter. Their fall foliage is interesting, but not as striking as the bright yellows of the European birch. However, they are better acclimated to our environment and much more disease resistant than their European cousins.
For both the small birch groves, we are planting understory shrubs, perennials, and ground covers. This will naturalize and smooth the transition between lawn and planting areas.