Last Light in the Garden

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Thimbleberries, Snowberries at base of Paper Birch trunks

With long days this time of year we don’t often get in from working in the garden until 7:30 or so and then we’ll have dinner as we watch the late afternoon night move and shift on the woodland border at the back of the garden. Last night was no exception, and as soon as dinner was finished I headed back out to capture a bit of the magic.

This cluster of paper birches (Betula papyrifera) is at the edge of our woods. It’s a favorite place, and a favorite photo subject nearly year-around. Now that the thimbleberries have leafed out it’s at peak.

I’ve used this location for more than one family portrait, with all the foliage and tree trunks as the background. In addition to the obvious thimbleberries (Rubus nutkanus), this shrub border also includes snowberries (Symphoricarpos albus), bald-hip rose (Rosa gymnocarpa), and a nootka rose (Rosa nutkanus) that we planted. The roses are showing buds, so before long we’ll have little dots of pink among this scene.

Island perennial bed

We call this the “new bed” because it’s one that we’ve completely reworked and expanded after moving here. The thin sliver of sunlight hitting it comes between our house and garage, highlighting the iris about to open.

Thimbleberries in woodland border

Our woodland border is constantly changing. Not so long ago it was dominated by red-flowering currants and red elderberries. They’re both still there, but they’ve finished flowering and their fruit is yet to ripen. Now were’ in the midst of a riot of thimbleberry blossoms. We’re looking forward to ripe fruit later in the season.

Early morning and late evening are my favorite times in the garden. The low light adds a golden hue and the wind has usually died down. The last couple of days have been particularly nice, with high temperatures in the upper 70s. By the time the light gets this nice soft glow the air has cooled and I’m back to wearing a fleece jacket to stay warm, but still barefoot and in shorts. I love spring!

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