Monday, May 13, 2013

A Springtime Walkabout

We have been blessed with beautiful, sunny weather for the last 3 weeks. 

We even had temperatures into the 80's! 

I enjoyed my days outdoors, but now the weather is a little more unsettled; breezy and showery. 

While I was outside I took a few photos. 

Come along with me and we will take a little walkabout and see what is blooming. 

This year, my dwarf apple tree has really put on a show. It is a biennial variety that produces a heavy crop every two years.

I think it is called 'Akane'. I've lost the tag. 

With the beautiful, sunny weather, we are guaranteed a nice harvest. There is a second apple tree in behind that blooms alongside. 

We do not prune these trees except very lightly. 

They are very happy trees. 

Forget me Not and wild Buttercup bloom beneath. 

Along the picket fence, beside the Hydrangeas, wild Mother wort blooms with long spikes of green bells tinged with pink. Buttercup blooms alongside. 

Stepping back we see Forget me Not, Buttercup, and Mother wort in a central bed. 

The large Hemlock tree whose branches overhang the view on the left, has died leaving us with a 60 ft. tree to take down. 

We will be hiring someone to do that this fall. 

We are sad about this tree. It was only 10 ft. tall when we moved onto the land and we watched it grow. 

It was a magnificent tree with graceful, spreading branches. 

But in every forest, and every garden, you watch the ebb and flow of life. 

This particular tree was a victim of several summers of prolonged drought. 

As we turn around we see The Mister's tool shed with bright pink Azalea blooming.

My vintage washing machine is spilling Ivy and Forget me Not are blooming around the steps. I did have lovely hay basket planters under the windows, but the moisture rotted the wood, leaving The Mister to do a big repair job and leaving me to repaint. It has a new roof and is good as new once again! 

Some treasured 'relics' in front - an old wood burning stove, coal cart wheel and birdhouses made by my son when he was young.

'The Boys' found the coal cart wheel in the gravel along the riverbed.

This was once a coal mining town. 

Columbine and Azalea. Soon this flower bed will be bursting with blooms. 

The sign graced an antique shop I once owned. Hand made by my sweet Mister. 

Variegated Vinca blooms along the ground. 

A large cedar tree grows in front. 

The view from under the cedar tree leads up the driveway, past the little apple trees. 

Where wildflowers grow in the bright shade. 

Here we have the earliest blackberries blooming, a trailing variety that grows along the forest floor. 

Young Elderberry leaves, pink Herb Robert and the mossy trunks of Alder keep company with the green bells of Mother wort. 

Wild Bleeding Heart. 

And a less common yellow wildflower that resembles buttercup, but grows on a tall stalk. I remember seeing the name of this in one of my reference books, but it escapes me now. 

A faithful friend. 

My sweet Mister and another faithful friend following along. 

An ancient, crumbling tree stump supports Red Huckleberry, Ostrich Ferns and Mother wort. 

You will always find Red Huckleberry growing from the rotted stumps of Cedar trees. They love the acidity. 

Some unfurling fronds of evergreen Ostrich Fern below Alder and some young Holly. 

Pink Herb Robert with Creeping Blackberry and Mother wort, grow at the base of a young Cottonwood tree. 

Herb Robert is also called 'Stinky Bob' because of it's pungent scent when disturbed. 

Many people consider these to be weeds. 

But one person's weed is another person's wildflower!

Oregon Grape is just now finishing it's bloom season. The yellow spires smell sweetly of honey. Soon the  wands will be full of edible purple 'grapes' that the birds love, and that can be made into jelly.

The evergreen fronds spread into an attractive ground cover in deep shade. I have several areas growing along the driveway. They seem to prefer banks and sloping, exposed areas beneath large evergreens, especially Hemlock.

I have taken care to keep these watered in our long, dry summers.

You can see the lighter fronds of 'Bear Grass'.

I went to the large Northwest Garden Show in Seattle a couple of years ago and the displays featured this grass in all their plantings.

I am blessed that both of these beautiful plants grow wild here.

As we circle back and come to the opposite end of the driveway, where we have our parking area, we find this white Camellia blooming under the long branches of a Hemlock.

This year it is putting on a show.

Camellia is something I can successfully grow here, with our deep shade. But it takes years for one to grow to this size and bloom heavily.

The Big Leaf Maple has beautiful catkins this time of year. The catkins are about 6 inches long. The leaves get as large as a foot across. When the leaves fall off these, it forms thick leaf compost. They are beautiful trees if you have a large expanse to allow them to grow.

Growing to about 60-75 ft. tall, they are not for the average garden.

The Indian Plum are done blooming and now the Red Elderberry is the understory tree that is blooming.

These form colonies under tall deciduous trees in open forest. They are an important food source for many migrating birds, including the Western Tanager that eat the berries.

The Western Tanager returns just before the berries start to ripen, and while they are rearing their young, they feed on the readily available and abundant red berries.

These berries are not edible to humans and can be toxic in quantities.

I have a nesting pair of Western Tanagers that come back every year.

Just this morning I heard the melodious song of the brightly colored male.

My first glimpse of this little beauty always makes my heart skip.

I hope you enjoyed our little walkabout with Whitey and Champ.

We enjoyed taking you along!

Didn't we Whitey?

Yes we did!


Thank you for all of your Dear Mother's Day wishes.

I had a lovely day.

I hope your weekend was lovely, too!



  1. you have such a pretty, lush, thick, natural wonderland! sorry about the tree loss. your dogs are so cute and that tanager is like a tequila sunrise!

  2. That last picture of Whitey looking up at you made me laugh out loud! I just love the way he 'talks' to you. Such a sweet boy that LOVES his mama! XXOO ~H~

  3. You have a beautiful garden, I like the rambling feel of it and all the little bits that make it different and the stories behind them.

  4. A lovely walkabout - thank you. The Camelia is gorgeous - I've not seen a white one before. I like all the native plants and how they grow so nicely together. Mmmmm blackberries!!!

  5. Ok those Camellias are outstanding!! Actually, everything is outstanding! I love the layers of lush colors up against the tool shed! So amazing! And I really connected with what you said about the ebb and flow of true with everything and such a wonderful perspective you have! How much land do you have??? It is such a beautiful sanctuary!!! My husband has been saying that we need to live the big town and head somewhere with land! These shots would just so inspire him as well! Cheers to you friend...thanks for taking us along!!!

  6. Thank you, Nicole, you are sweet! To answer your question, we have just a bit over 5 acres. Not a lot of land, and it is heavily forested and left natural on the top of a hillside, facing south. We garden as naturally as possible and that leaves more time for enjoyment! Over a period of years we have learned that nature is the best gardener, with a little help and editing from us! We have never regretted 'leaving it all behind', although it does have it's challenges. Lots of commuting, limited services, and dealing with Mother Nature. But if you want peace, I highly recommend it! Hugs, xoxo

  7. My dear friend Karen,

    Your tour was amazing and the pictures so real.
    Because you are a separate piece of spring.
    And because are you the happiest symbol of motherhood.

    Many greetings to you and your family from me and my family.
    Yannis Politopoulos

  8. What can I say ? Amazing tour garden Karen!!! Nature is so generous at your part of the world! Such beauty and wonderful , bright photos ! I fully enjoyed this virtual walk . You can capture beauty and light and loveliness and uniqueness and tenderness and all...
    Thank you !

  9. It's amazing how rich the green is there! Wow. And the Western Tanager is a beautiful bird. I would love to see one in person someday.

  10. Whitey and Champ you and I.... I did enjoy this walk about. Between your words and your wonderful photos my day will begin and remain calm and peaceful. Thank you. B

  11. great photos. I want to join you next time!

  12. Too bad about the tree. :(

    Lovely views you have. I confess I'm jealous. :)

  13. Once again I am blown away with your surroundings! You are so lucky to live in such a perfect and beautiful place. I look forward to seeing more. Chel x

  14. What a beautiful place in which you live! My 9 year old would think it was from a fairy tale. :)

  15. I love seeing all the things that grow in your neck of the woods. So different from here in the midwest. That bird is so pretty! We see scarlet tanagers only rarely. Thank you for showing us everything!

  16. I really enjoyed our stroll together live in a most wonderful, magical place... your photographs are Fabulous... Hugs May x x x

  17. I enjoyed this walk with Whitey and Champ! I continue to be impressed with your garden and your surroundings. So lovely! Sorry about the tree that died. That is sad! But I guess that's how it goes sometimes, especially when you've had a drought.

    That shot of the Western Tanager is awesome! Such a gorgeous bird.

  18. Dearest Karen,
    Lovely forest you live in... what a nature you have around you. LOVE your wild flowers and you are lucky for having the climate to grow apples. Apple blossoms are so pretty. That western tanager is so exotic looking. Hope it can breed undisturbed and return many more times to your paradise.
    Enjoy this pretty season.

  19. What a beautiful post! It is so gorgeous around your must love living there! Your dogs are so cute and the tanagers have the most wonderful coloring!

  20. SO pretty! it's like walking in a story-book forest. Love the picture of the birdie. what a treat to be surrounded by so much natural beauty. xoxo

  21. Hello Karen
    Thank you for a wonderful trip in a very green area.
    Wishing you and your a good day :) Hugs!

  22. Forget me Not and wild Buttercup bloom wow wee together growing like that is so stunning -- and the Western Tanagers breath taking.. You know this Western Tanagers I painted for my mother to be her Christmas gift but she died in Nov and this was one of her favorite birds -- so when I see this bird I think of my Mother and the hours I spent painting it.. and by the way I have never seen one in person.. I long to see one so very much!
    All your photos are lovely and making me wish I was walking along the path to such a home.. beautiful!!

  23. Such beautiful photos on a nice "walk" this morning as I enjoyed my second cup of coffee! Love the gorgous colors on the Tanager! Blessings, Dianne


Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

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