No big recap or Best of List to close out the year. Instead, some pictures that I haven’t previously shared. I took 3,706 photographs with my
Fujifilm X100T in 2017—here are 13 memorable moments.
February 8. Mondo grass berries ( Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’). In February I collected the fruit and attempted to grow something from seed indoors for the first time ever. It worked and I’ll have a post this February to recap the process.
April 15. Magnolia soulangeana seen during my first horticulture course, in which we learned to identify and spell hundreds of deciduous plants. Learning latin names and how to ID trees has changed the way I see my surroundings, and has helped me get more out of the books I read.
June 2. Chickadee fledgling on red huckleberry ( Vaccinium parvifolium) in the front yard — having a much better time than the nuthatch fledgling that our cat brought inside at 3am, two days later.
July 13. Staghorn sumac ( Rhus typhina) down the road. Though they’re never recommended as a specimen, they sure put on a nice display. You can see how this one’s trunk runs along the ground, and just days after this picture was taken the largest branch snapped off, leaving little behind.
July 13. This golden grass is Stipa gigantea, growing at the Center for Urban Horticulture. This UW facility has demonstration gardens and trails and is home to the Elisabeth C. Miller Library. I visited CUH for the first time back in spring and now I frequent the library. It’s open to the public and anybody can borrow books — if you live in Seattle, check it out.
July 23. Roots of the witch hazel ( Hamamelis ✕ intermedia ‘Dianne’) that I bought on Arbor Day, cleared of soil to investigate before planting. Exposing the roots to this degree is somewhat unecessary, and even risky on a sunny day, but I was able to correct a big root that was growing back up through the middle. Also, because too few books ever address roots systems in any detail, I think this is a good way to get to know a new plant.
August 13. Our smoke tree ( Cotinus ‘Grace’) after an August shower — water will run right off or bead up, as if the tree was covered in a fine wax. In just two months, these large leaves will be as pink as the stems here.
August 21. The solar eclipse and tall Douglas firs cast wavy shadows in the backyard for a few surreal minutes.
October 22. Japanese maple ( Acer palmatum ‘Emperor I’) in the backyard. I planted this last year and because it’s sited above our roofline, we catch its color from the underside of the leaves. With the sun filtering down to us, it becomes a good example of why it’s advantageous to have a garden rise up over your house, rather than down and away.
October 22. The Grace smoke tree in full color. This plant seems to take on a new shade of green, purple, or red every week, but it absolutely explodes in October, when it’s so bright that I have a hard time capturing it accurately.
October 28. From one ferry to another — crossing the Puget Sound on our way home from Southworth, WA.
November 13. The Emperor I again, this time in full color. The leaves are a deep purple for most of the year, before they transition to a maroon and then this bright red. The tree is only about 6', so again, the fact that our view from the house is below the tree helps a great deal in recognizing its beauty.
November 24. A harmless slug in Gig Harbor, WA.
It seems silly to say this when we all have good cameras in our phones and take so many pictures already, but if you ever feel like photographing something, just do it. The staghorn sumac a few blocks away is practically gone, and though it felt a little awkward at the time—photographing the yard of somebody I’ve never met—I would have regretted not capturing it before it collapsed.
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