I view this spent rose every time I look out our family room window. At times, I become fixated with it and imagine how I can best photograph it to convey what I see and feel. Waking up from a late afternoon nap, I looked out and saw the rose side lit by the late afternoon sunlight. The wind was still and I was able to grab my camera with a 400mm lens and isolate the hip through the family room window. In post-processing, I simplified the image converting it to black and white and added a simple vignette blur.
Our forsythia is getting ready to bloom. As the saying goes, when the forsythia blooms, it is time to prune the roses. Next week my winter attraction will be cut down to prepare for new spring growth. So long my friend …
“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 is the first of March, time to clean up the meadow and other planting beds. The weather here will be mild in the mid-50’s for the next week and a half. The garden is calling for attention. Grasses and perennials need to be cut back to make room for new growth. Trees and shrubs need to be trimmed to guide their shape as the new growth emerges. Winter weeds need to be extracted before they get carried away. Several of our shrubs need to be transplanted to accommodate the placement of new plantings. Some of our hardscape needs to be modified to allow for our landscape design plan changes. In an evolving garden, nothing remains constant.
And while all this is going on, the 2000 bulbs we planted last fall are sprouting! March will be a busy and exciting month at Heatherwood.
As I have commented several times before, every time I walk through our garden I see something from a different perspective. Many of the views through Heatherwood have been planned as part of the design. The one above is an unplanned gift, looking through the lower rock garden northwest to the surrounding hills and our neighbor’s cherry orchard.
We have several such views since our newly planted trees are relatively small. Over the years, the tree canopies will grow and block many of these “peek” views. In turn, they will frame and highlight other views. The garden will continuously change bringing new surprises. Exciting!
Last spring we planted six small witch hazels, 3 red (Diane) and 3 orange (Jelena). The Jelena (shown in my 9 Feb posting) was the first to bloom. The Diane started to bloom about a week earlier. The blooms on both are now faded. The plants are small, only 12 to 18 inches tall. They are forming the start of an understory of shrubs for one of our planting areas in the lower Heatherwood garden. We are searching to add a yellow species to fill out the witch hazel color template: red, orange, and yellow.
As the witch hazels mature, they will provide a beautiful burst of mid-winter color in the garden. The will act as the harbinger of the coming spring.
Nothing is perfect … nothing is permanent … nothing is complete. Wabi-sabi is a characteristic concept of our Heatherwood garden. I find beauty in every aspect of imperfection throughout our garden. This spent rose was a beautiful red flower in its prime. The summer flower’s fleeting beauty transitioned to these stems and rose hips in the fall and winter. In nature the hips would release the seeds to the ground. Its life is incomplete as the seeds create new plants.
I admire the beauty of this rose stalk and hips every day as I sit and read and look out our family room window. They fascinate me. I do not have the heart or desire to prune the winter roses to make them look neat. I just simply enjoy them as they are. There is plenty of time to prune the roses before the spring growth.
On a crisp winter’s morning, I gaze out over the Heatherwood landscape. I look over our immediate landscape to the hills surrounding our grounds. My eyes stop and become fixated on our neighbor’s beautiful cherry tree. It is the last standing memory of a bygone cherry orchard of the past.
We frequently walk by the tree on the way to pick up the mail. We stop and admire the tree throughout the year. Zelda, our neighbor’s Black Labrador, frequently greets us yearning for a pet.
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.
I don’t know which I enjoy the most: the snow-covered panicle hydrangeas in winter or the profuse white blooms in the summer. Each conveys a different feeling: one a quiet, peaceful, solemn feeling, the other a robust splurge of brightness. The more I think about it, the easier the answer is. I like both for the enjoyment they bring.