A View Into the Woods Renewing

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.”   Ralph Waldo Emerson

The view out of my darkened office window on June 6, 2010.


Foxgloves in the Woods


Foxgloves in the Woods 2


These views might be unremarkable except for what happened here not so long ago…


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This is what it looked like after they cut down the trees and ran over and turned their heavy equipment around on a fern covered forest floor immediately behind our house in January, 2009.


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 For more about what happened, read my post:  Toad Lake Logging: Is 80% enough for them?  


I don’t see this kind of logging any differently than I see what is going on in the Gulf of Mexico at the hands of BP and its cronies. What my neighbor’s trustee did to the woods here was only different in scale. It is kind that they have not objected to our cleaning up the mess and encouraging some wildflowers and replanting uprooted ferns to grow where they left carnage, but the woodcutters have not returned to plant trees or to remove the piles of detritus.  It was pretty clear that they would not do that work, even though the state permit requires it. They took the wood and left the debris.  There is no enforcement of rules about cleaning up after the logging process.

With their heavy equipment and giant chain saws they destroyed the gentle slope of the meadow where cattle once grazed and girls rode horses.  The path where joggers ran around the west side of the lake is gone.  They have moved on to pillage elsewhere.


Blackberries have now grown over some of the massive heap of sticks and branches they left behind, and I can only see it from the second story deck, but eventually the brambles will engulf it in berries.  It’s just about to flower and there will be lots of blackberry jams and syrups made this summer.


Foxgloves in the Woods 3

Thoreau

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Living by Toad Lake is a Seasonal Process

We live in a gorgeous brown shingled house with entwined cedars right outside the french doors to our bedroom. We see these beauties when we wake in the morning. These trees serve as a metaphor for how our lives have become involved with the four seasons, the woods and the lake since coming here.

Currently Dan is staining the trim of our house. The fascia boards and rain gutters are being painted an earthy red, the downspouts a rich brown similar to the shingles, the corner boards a dark chocolate and the soffits are a natural cedar color. The shingles wait until next year.  The rain will come again before Dan can get to that task.  We keep picking up large stones to bring back for our gardens.  The house is woodsy and warm looking, a natural for our gorgeous surroundings.  This is how it looked before the painting…

All of what we do as we live here in this lovely house involves living here consciously, appreciating the richness of what we have. Our house is surrounded by gardens  we planted and that are largely perennial.

Teaser on the deck

This is Firecat scratching the post that Dan made for him and his pal Teaser, shown above on the deck.  It’s a pretty cozy life.  My complaints are asinine.

WHERE WE LIVE: The Gorgeous Pacific Northwest

Moving to the Pacific Northwest is one of the best decisions in our life together. I hope you enjoy the pictures…I’ve got lots more.

No Hippies
 Welcome Sign in Port Townsend

 Sequim Lavender

Lavender Festival in Sequim – You pick!

Deception Pass

Deception Pass

Bridge View

View from the Deception Pass Bridge

Silver Lake Near Mount Baker

Silver Lake near Mt. Baker

Whatcom Chief

Mount Baker in the distance, Whatcom Chief ferry leaving Lummi Island

Lummi West Side

Driftwood Beach on the West side of Lummi Island

Pebble Beach Trail

Trail from my house to Toad Lake (below)

Toad Lake Canoe

House

It’s always good to come home!

Our House

The garden is so lovely

Garden 1

Garden 3

Garden 4

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

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Mount Baker’s snowy cap is on the horizon, peeking up behind the foothills.

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There were lots of puddles and mud to interest our grandson.

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We were not alone!

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There was a beautiful garden that was marked so you would be able to know the varieties.
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Even some of the early rhododendrons were contributing tremendous color.
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Every garden benefits by little surprises like this!
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The next door neighbors were llamas…

llamas at the tulip festival

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Most of these photos are from the RoozenGaarden and were taken on my iPhone on March 27th.   RoozenGaarde: A Division of Washington Bulb Co., Inc. sells the bulbs that you see in the labelled photos.
The Tulip Festival has a web site at http://www.tulipfestival.org/index.php

It’s So, So Green at Toad Hollow Today …

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Cuttings (later)

This urge, wrestle, resurrection of dry sticks,
Cut stems struggling to put down feet,
What saint strained so much,
Rose on such lopped limbs to a new life?
I can hear, underground, that sucking and sobbing,
In my veins, in my bones I feel it —
The small waters seeping upward,
The tight grains parting at last.
When sprouts break out,
Slippery as fish,
I quail, lean to beginnings, sheath-wet.

Theodore Roethke


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Teaser loves to check out what’s going on down on ground level…


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While we call our home Toad Hollow, it’s also been called the house of the entwined cedars.  Behind the Aurora Dogwood is an enormous Douglas Fir.  Just beyond them up hill is a Stellar Pink Dogwood, shown in the very next photo.


Entwined Cedars & Aurora Dogwood


There is an Eddies White Wonder Dogwood in the foreground, and to it’s left is the Stellar Pink. Look at that Rhododendron color!

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The Rhododendrons are blooming one by one, we’ve bought different varieties with differing bloom times to extend the time we get to enjoy them.


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The Clematis have been blooming in successive waves and growing and growing and growing like never before up the posts that support our deck.


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My editor demands that I upload a photo of him too…


Firecat the OS Editor


There is so much to do.  This began as 15 square yards of 4-way garden soil.  It seems that we haven’t moved much of it yet …


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“Since childhood, since childhood!

Childhood is a toad in the garden, a

happy toad. All toads are happy

and belong in gardens. A toad to Diana!”

Excerpt from Romance Modern

William Carlos Williams 

FOR LOVE OF A GARDEN: Autumn Leaf Color Even in Summer

 “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of
strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something
infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature— the assurance
that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”

Rachel Carson

Dan replanted this minature lace leaf Japanese Maple the second Spring after we moved to Toad Hollow because it wasn’t in a good location.  Now it’s size and color contrast with the enormity of the Douglas Firs, Cedars and Alders that grow here naturally.  We love that contrast found in the Fall, its bright, clear red against the deep greens of the needles, the grey brown of bark and the brighter greens of the moss.  That color contrast is our inspiration for many of the plants we continue adding in recent years to the garden.

Tiny lace leaf red maple

Just yesterday, I helped Dan, a little, to plant one of these Emperor 1 Japanese Maple trees in the front bed with the enormous, shiny leafed Rhododendrons.  Emperor 1 turns bright red in the Fall and will stand out against the brown shingles of our house.

Emperor 1 Red Maple

We live on a corner lot.  The mailboxes for our neighbors are congregated in front.  The trash and recycling bins are collected just around the corner of our lot from those mailboxes, also in front of our house.  This is what we see from our front window on Tuesday night through Wednesday when the trash is collected.  So we need screening.  Already we have a beautiful lilac and Forsythia that we planted there the first year.  They were bareroot plants and it took them some time to get some size.

As I get older I don’t think I have so many years to wait for things to grow.  I have moved on to 1 gallon to 5 gallon potted shrubs in hopes of seeing a beautiful multi-colored screen of plants such as this Golden Ninebark, which will grow to be about 8 to 12 feet high eventually.  Love the color!

Golden Ninebark

We also planted a Diabolo Ninebark, and a Black Lace Elderberry as well, an example is shown second below.  When I buy plants in pots I still need to research their eventual size and I search the internet for pictures so that I can imagine how it will work out in the future.  The pictures I am posting here are all but the very first, examples from my research.

Diabolo Ninebark

This is the type of Black Lace Elderberry we planted along with the two Ninebarks.  I am hoping it’s branches will arch out over the others gracefully.

Black Lace Elderberry

The first year we were here I planted two of these Sutherland’s Gold Elderberry in a fairly shady area of the garden and we planted Rhododendron and Azalea beneath them.  The color is a standout, especially in the low early evening sun.  I added two somewhat shorter Black Beauty Elderberry just adjacent to those a couple of years later.  These provide both a backdrop to the garden and some colorful, taller structure.

Sutherland's Gold Elderberry

Black Beauty Elderberry

 The type of Ninebark below is called Coppertina. She is progressing very well near a Karmijn de Sonneville Apple and an Australlian Pear tree since we planted her last year.

Coppertina NinebarkIn the perennial garden I added Euphorbia and Spurge, which are really from the same family and are often noted for their crazy neon green flowers.  This low growing, ferny leafed variety really appealed to me.  I also got another variety that has striped leaves, red, yellow & green, with similar neon green flowers.  Nice addition to the garden for being a bit unexpected. The various Rudbeckia will look wonderful alongside these.

Spurge or EuphorbiaIrish Eyes, My Favorite!

   Cherry Brandy Rudbeckia

Rudbeckia Goldstrum   “If you have a mind at peace, and a heart that cannot harden,

Go find a door that opens wide upon a lovely garden.”

Author Unknown