Gratitude Bestows Reverence

November 24, 2016

Succulents, Center for Urban Horticulture gardens

Succulents, Center for Urban Horticulture gardens

“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.”
— John Milton

I am grateful for family and friends, art and nature, books and writers, and for each day.  Happy Thanksgiving!

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Giant hibiscus (with color effects)

Giant hibiscus (with color effects)

“In my view, you cannot claim to have seen something until you have photographed it.” —  Emile Zola

Giant pink hibiscus in the gardens at the Center for Urban Horticulture

Giant pink hibiscus in the gardens at the Center for Urban Horticulture

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Like Zola, I seem to see better through my camera lens.  I can frame details that are harder to zero in on when I gaze with just my eyes. I was amazed to see such joyful, spring-like pink in the late summer gardens at the Center for Urban Horticulture. These giant pink hibiscus were in all stages of bloom — from bud to fallen petals.

 

 

Walking along Lake Washington Blvd, Seattle

Walking along Lake Washington Blvd, Seattle

I continued my long walk around the periphery of Seattle with another segment on the eastern border of the city.  Most of this day’s walk was along the shores of Lake Washington on good sidewalks in dappled shade.  My husband dropped me off in the Laurelhurst neighborhood at 42nd N.E. and I hiked south from there.

Blackberry blossoms

Blackberry blossoms

You really can’t go far in Seattle without seeing blackberry bushes growing wild.  They were in full blossom.

Center for Urban Horticulture

Center for Urban Horticulture

I soon arrived at the Center for Urban Horticulture where I wandered around the flower beds and botanic gardens.  There is always something delightful growing and blooming here.

At the Center for Urban Horticulture

At the Center for Urban Horticulture

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The path through the cultivated gardens leads on into the wild Union Bay Natural Area, where meadows are under restoration to improve the habitat for birds and other small animals.

Path between the Center for Urban Horticulture and the Union Bay Natural Area

Path between the Center for Urban Horticulture and the Union Bay Natural Area

Union Bay Natural Area

Union Bay Natural Area

The trail continued onto the University of Washington athletic complex, past soccer and track fields, tennis courts, the boathouse, and Husky Stadium.  I walked across the Montlake Bridge over the Ship Canal, which links Lake Washington and Lake Union, and from there headed to the Washington Park Arboretum.

Montlake Bridge over the Ship Canal

Montlake Bridge over the Ship Canal

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I passed an old totem pole carved by Haida Chief John Dewey Wallace from Waterfall, Alaska in 1937.  I intended to follow the Arboretum trail across Foster Island, but parts of the trail were under water.

Haida totem pole

Haida totem pole

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Instead I entered the Arboretum near E Miller Street in the Montlake neighborhood.  Once in the Arboretum, I headed toward its eastern boundary and followed it south.  I was still separated from Lake Washington by the Broadmoor Golf Course and its gated community.  I hadn’t walked this part of the Arboretum before and the path took me past magnificent tree specimens and a garden showcasing plants from the Pacific Rim.

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Path in Washington Park Arboretum

Path in Washington Park Arboretum

Tulip poplar tree

Tulip poplar tree

Looking up

Looking up

Eucalyptus branch, Pacific Connections Garden

Eucalyptus branch, Pacific Connections Garden

Calla lily at south entrance to Arboretum

Calla lily at south entrance to Arboretum

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Upon exiting the Arboretum, I walked to Madison Avenue and followed it all the way to the shores of Lake Washington.  The rest of my long walk followed the lakeshore through these Seattle neighborhoods:  Madison Park, Madrona, Leschi, Mount Baker, Lakewood/Seward Park and Rainier Beach. As you can imagine, the residential areas were lined with beautiful homes with lovely landscaping.  Lake Washington Boulevard attracts bikers and joggers, and the lake itself is a recreation spot for swimmers, picnickers and boaters.

Rooftop garden on home in Madison Park

Rooftop garden on home in Madison Park

I was amazed by all the different colors on this hydrangea bush

I was amazed by all the different colors on this hydrangea bush

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Window on home along Lake Washington Blvd

Window on home along Lake Washington Blvd

I walked past the I-90 floating bridge across Lake Washington

I walked past the I-90 floating bridge across Lake Washington

Rowers on Lake Washington

Rowers on Lake Washington

I walked as far as Rainier Beach and then headed to the Light Rail Station to catch a ride back home.

Estimated walking distance:  about 14 miles

“What was the best thing that happened?  Reviewing the day’s delights often yields surprises, and serves as a reminder of how full a life is, how lucky some days feel, and how stressful days may contain glowing nuggets of peace, pleasure, or joy.”
— Diane Ackerman, Dawn Light:  Dancing with Cranes and Other Ways to Start the Day

A grace note in my day — ‘Bishop of York’ Dahlia at the Center for Urban Horticulture

Sometimes it’s good to remember how little we need, really need, for a good life.  Today, for example, it gives me joy to write the date: 10/11/12!!!

What We Need
by David Budbill, from While We’ve Still Got Feet: New Poems

The Emperor,
his bullies
and henchmen
terrorize the world
every day,

which is why
every day

we need

a little poem
of kindness,

a small song
of peace

a brief moment
of joy.

The Good Grasses of Earth

October 10, 2012

“And the earth brought forth grasses . . . and God saw that it was good.”
Genesis 1 – 12

Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron’)

 

Detail of grasses

Pennisetum (Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Moudry’)

I saw these wonderful grasses in the demonstration beds at the Center for Urban Horticulture in Seattle.  They are good indeed —  very good.

Cornelian Cherries

September 10, 2012

Cornelian cherries line the driveway at the Center for Urban Horticulture

Washington is known for its Rainier and bing cherries, but I had to ask for help identifying the cherry trees that line the driveway to the Center for Urban Horticulture in Seattle.  They are cornus mas trees, commonly called Cornelian cherries.  Their small, oval-shaped fruit are ripe and dropping from the trees.

Cornelian cherry, a small red gem

Watercolor sketch of Cornelian cherry

From the archives of the Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium

In all the times I’ve visited the Center for Urban Horticulture and the Elisabeth C. Miller Library, I had never taken the time to explore the Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium, just one door down from the library entrance.  On my latest visit, I was invited in by Katie Murphy, the graduate student who manages the collection.  And what a resource it is!

Inside the climate- and humidity-controlled room are cabinets full of pressed plant specimens, most collected from the Washington Park Arboretum.  This is a growing collection — plants are still gathered, dried, pressed and mounted on archival paper, an ongoing effort.  The mounted specimens are beautiful, suitable for framing.  But what distinguishes them from art is the label, which documents attributes of the plant, its setting, when and where it was found, family and genus name.  Sometimes there is even a little envelope attached with bits of plant material that can later be viewed under a microscope.

Visitors are welcome.  The herbarium is also a resource for identifying mystery plants — a free service for the public.  Now that I know about it, I’ll have to think about how to use this resource in future art projects.

Framed plant specimens on the wall of the Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium in the Center for Urban Horticulture, Seattle

Neatly organized cabinets of pressed plant specimens

Specimens ready to be sent and shared with other horticulture organizations across the country

Mounted iris specimens

Look at the color and details preserved in this iris specimen.

Asplenium specimen