Inspiration at the Arboretum
Years ago, when I started studying landscape design, I spent three hours every Friday morning for a year traipsing around the National Arboretum (and other places) learning about trees and shrubs. One chilly winter morning, my class was following our teacher down a winding road headed to a destination that now escapes me when we rounded a corner and there, in front of us, was a plant that stopped me in my tracks. It was Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena,’ a hybrid witchhazel that sports fantastic orange, strap-like flowers in winter.
When I took this photo, I was still shooting film and using a point-and-shoot camera. It’s not a great photo (too dark, even though I’ve worked on it in Photoshop), but when I got it back from Moto Photo, it entranced me and took me back to that overcast Friday morning. Later, when I scanned it, it became one of the very first images in the plant photo database that I now use in my design work, showing clients the plants I propose to include in their gardens. Since then, I’ve photographed witchhazels (‘Arnold’s Promise’ is another favorite) in other gardens, but ‘Jelena’ remains first in my heart and the photographer it helped to inspire is very grateful.
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