Hours ago I took this particular shot with sharing in mind. So we could all just stop and look without the razzmatazz of blooming things. The center background is vertically grounded by the hemlock I've left mostly alone up until last spring. I haven't tampered with the tree's intentional shape or inherent architecture but I have cut off a raft of secondary branches that were blocking several hours of sunlight a day from the frog pond's general eco-system.
The foreground features original plantings of standard mid-70's issue: never-fail hostas. Seriously run amok rudbekia/brown eyed susan, chocolate mint, astibles, columbine, 3 different sorts of iris and spurge. These are inter- mixed with a variety of native asters and milkweed that I've welcomed and encouraged. Also way off to the far right corner of this space out of picture-range - there's a wonderful epimedium that's trebled in size under my care and unfailing admiration.
[am pointedly not mentioning the pachysandra in this area and elsewhere. in an ideal world I would never ever mention this specific plant and it's 'miraculous' mid-70's Fool Proof planting solution status. But someday I will do an entire post illustrating what an ecological dilemma this diabolically invasive plant poses.]
The skewed mitre-frame beyond the straw mulching created by dried plant stalks. Follow that line of tall extinguished plant matter. It joins with a comparable line to form a not-right angle. This is goldenrod. I hope to root-out more of it before the ground freezes but there are a number of other things I hope to do with a lot more sense of urgent purpose. The large rust colored mound of spent flowers just left of center is a snowball viburnum. The tree to its left, directly in front of the hemlock, is a Japanese dogwood. She's not completely well but I prune all dead branches over the fall, January thaw, and earliest spring. When we first arrived she was merely partially dead but she barely flowered. Now the tree's yearly rise of life-force is contained solely in living wood. She flowers beautifully and on every bough that's survived the winter.
Two volunteer offspring saplings flank their mother. One is incredibly robust and may in my lifetime replace her mama in the role of visual anchor. She'll be tall and lithe but ever so off-the-mark by a yard or two in relation to where a Perfect Eye would place, plant and maintain the backbone planting features. I've planted another somewhat less date-the-trend type of tree; in a comparably less design-y obvious place but right along the same undeniably pleasing sight line. Will introduce the Fair Lass on the other side of winter. It will be her second here and how she responds next spring will determine whether she's planning to put energy into being a 'proper' tree or if she'll survive more happily as a multi-sprigged shrub.
Also share-worthy: yesterday a/k/a the first day-long sun we had after so much rain sleet or snow - I did indeed visit Grandfather Hickory just as I intended. I would share more of him and his Place beyond my personal sense of connection but that would involve walking rather than standing still with me. Today I'd much rather we all just stand still in this moment of embrace.