A red barn, stately tree or two, shadows in the background, waves of wheat in the foreground, and sunlit ridges … sounds like a post card from the Palouse. Little vignettes like this are peppered all around the Palouse farmlands. As I drive around the country roads, I tend to stop for each one. I ask myself if there is something that is special. Is it the color, lines of the rolling hills, texture of the crops in the fields, light flowing across the landscape, or does it just catch my interest. Most, I just pause then drive on. A few, something inside says, “Take your time, wait for the shadows and highlights to flow across the scene to just the right position.”
And I recall John Barclay’s guidance, “When you see red, shoot!”
I have many wonderful memories of my childhood growing up at the “Ranch.” Many times I spent what seemed like hours, laying on the lawn, gazing up at the clouds, watching them move across the sky changing shapes. Some things never change. On my recent trip to the Palouse, I saw these two trees out in the middle of endless hills of green fields. The bright blue sky was filled with puffy white clouds. I stopped and watched the clouds move across the sky casting shadows on the green hills. An hour went by like a flash as I watched and waited for the shadow patterns in the background to frame the tree while not shading the tree itself or the area in front of it. What a great way to spend a peaceful early afternoon in a beautiful part of our state.
We were hot and tired after a morning photo excursion during a Palouse Photography Workshop with John Barclay. Driving along headed back to the hotel for a break and maybe a nap, I saw this lone white barn. We glanced back as we zipped bye the barn. “Should I stop or should we just go back to the hotel.” On I went, thinking, “I should have stopped, I should have stopped!” I dropped my ride partner off at the hotel and decided, I am going back. I am glad I did.
Lesson Learned: When I see something, STOP! It may or may not be worth creating an image, but at least the memory will remain.
Springtime in the Palouse is a wonderful time to practice my skills using infrared photography. The bright green winter wheat and the great clouds add to the experience. It was a cool windy day with rapidly moving clouds. Patches of sunlight rolled along the hills. I spent about an hour and created almost 100 images trying to catch different patches of sunlight crossing the two curvy hills at the same time. Patience paid off as I was able to catch the bright strips of sunlight on the two ridges.
This image is the springtime perspective of the view from the southeast corner of Heatherwood looking north. A semi-circle of conifers and junipers surround an Adirondack settee from the back. Specimen conifers encompass the sides. And, the foreground area with shrubs, dwarf conifers, and ground covers focus our immediate interest. We borrow the distant background hills frame the view. We call it our little “Conifer Corner.”
“Meadow, Rock, & Japanese Gardens” Heatherwood Spring
Heatherwood is comprised of several separate garden areas. Each one has a distinctive feeling and character. Even though the gardens are distinct, common elements link them as they flow from one to the other. The scene above illustrates three layers of gardens; the foreground meadow, the mid ground rock garden, and the distant background Japanese garden. Conifers and rocks are repeated to transition from the Japanese garden to the rock garden. Perennials are repeated to transition from the rock garden to the meadow. Together they harmonize with each other.
I was away on a photography workshop in the Palouse for just a week. I came back to a wonderful surprise. Our meadow had transformed from a collection of buds to a burst of spring color. Yellows, greens, reds, and purples burst throughout Heatherwood. It was a wonderful welcome home!
“Orangeola & Kotoji Abstract” Heatherwood Japanese Garden
Today is a very special day full of sweet and happy memories of the past. Many times we spent the day walking through gardens around the areas where we lived. On our adventures, we were always keeping our eyes and mind open to observe the beauty surrounding us, both natural and man-made. We collected ideas on what we could bring home to our own garden.
Other years we would explore various garden centers and purchase new additions for our garden. We couldn’t wait to plant the new acquisitions. Here at Heatherwood, I have been able to draw on these previous experiences to develop a Japanese-influenced garden in part of our property. Strolling through Heatherwood takes me back to prior wonderful memories and stimulates me to enjoy the present and look forward to bright future days.
Heatherwood continues to give up something new and interesting every time we stroll around the garden. Little elements of nature abound at every turn. These gifts are for the taking. I just need to recognize them and add a little creativity.
“Kotoji, Waterfall, & Japanese Maple” Heatherwood Japanese Garden
I keep coming back to this view in our Heatherwood Japanese garden. The Japanese maples continuously change in color, shape, and texture through the revolving seasons. In time they will flow over the stream’s edge becoming one with it. The Kotoji Japanese lantern acts like a guardian over the stream stabilizing the scene with its graceful legs .
The Guardian A Japanese maple gently bends, Shielding the flowing stream, As the guarding Kotoji overlooks.