Ginkoo, Gingko Walk

A Ginkoo walk is a Haiku walk often taken in Spring but any season in the garden can be appreciated in this way.  The objective is to enhance the outdoor experience and be inspired by nature.  You can spend time walking and observing  the garden, or you could or take a picture or write a poem about the garden.  Darts Hill is the perfect location for a Fall Ginkoo walk.

A walk in the quiet Fall garden at Darts Hill, is punctuated by the bright golden leaves of Ginkgo biloba.  There are two Ginkgo trees at Darts Hill.   The uphill tree by the driveway entrance has already shed most of its leaves.  The second Ginkgo is spilling bright yellow leaves along a path in the lower garden.

Golden Ginkgo Leaves on the Path, Darts Hill

Golden Ginkgo Leaves on the Path, Darts Hill

Golden Ginkgo Leaves in Fall

Golden Ginkgo Leaves in Fall: the Ginkgo biloba tree is also called the Maidenhair tree

The pond and waterfall at Darts Hill are redecorated with fall color:

The old apple orchard and familiar wagon wheel bench inspire a wistful sense of nostalgia in these fall pictures:

The unexpected bright blue berries of  Ulmus x hollandica ‘Jacqueline Hillier’ are a joy to discover.

Ulmus x hollandica 'Jacqueline Hillier'

Ulmus x hollandica ‘Jacqueline Hillier’

Camellia heimalis kanjiro, consistently blooms in November at Darts Hill.

Link to the Darts Hill Garden website for more information about garden dates, events and openings.


Two Years in the Garden

For this 2 year review and final Darts Hill Garden blog post, I have chosen seven categories of representative pictures.  These photographs make a strong statement about the character, value and importance of this garden.

Garden photography has many forms of expression. When I first started taking pictures at Darts Hill, my photographs were a direct response to the beauty and character of this garden.  As I continued over the next few years, I came to realize that each different garden subject or photographic objective benefited from a different approach. The strongest garden pictures are linked to purpose and intent.  I have chosen seven picture style categories that have a direct relationship with my purpose and intent.  The seven categories are; Plant Identification, Editorial Garden Pictures, Plant and Flower Portraits, Flower Close-ups, Natural Patterns, Monochrome pictures and Abstract garden pictures.  Each style of picture brings with it a set of conventions and expectations.  I will briefly discuss and define the seven garden pictures styles followed by examples of each.

The first three picture categories are taken from the conventions of the garden photographs often seen in garden magazines or in botanical publications. The last four picture categories have links to fine art traditions.  Plant identification pictures are about detail, accuracy and the correct plant name.  Editorial garden pictures are about “eye-catching” and a wider point of view.  Editorial garden pictures are the  kinds of pictures used for a cover image, poster, centerfold or promotional brochure.  Plant and flower portraits make beauty a central concern.

Flower close-up and plant pattern pictures become more personal and interpretive for a photographer.  All photography starts from seeing and discerning visual relationships.  Composition choices and the recognition of pattern amid chaos are used to create these pictures.  They tend to be accepted in fine art circles because they rely on a visual language that is common to the fine art world.  They are structured using elements , such as pattern, color, form and composition to create the picture.  When the artistic elements speak as strongly or have a stronger impact that the subject, the photograph has a greater chance of being accepted in the art world.

Monochrome pictures reference the past.  Black and white pictures often look vintage or archival because of the history and traditions associated with photography.  Drawing, ink and wash and classic Japanese painting are some of the influences that can also be seen in my monochrome pictures because they are part of my art training and influence the way I create my pictures.  I have started using a toning technique that is reminiscent of vintage photography’s hand tinting in my latest series of monochrome pictures.  This technique reinforces a sense of the past and memory.

Abstract garden photographs rely more on the language of abstract art and impressionism than they do the traditions of conventional garden photography.  I have created abstract garden photographs using several techniques but intentional camera motion is my favorite.  Motion blur photographs tend to be active and energetic as sense of movement is captured along with the subject.  How much of the original subject remains, ends up determining if the photo is impressionistic with a recognizable subject or abstract (no subject).

Garden Photography

Examples of Different Photo Styles

1. Plant identification pictures strive for specific detail.  They are most successful if the photographer has some background in biology or botany.   In the case of Darts Hill, these kinds of pictures  were possible because of the support of knowledgeable master gardeners, rhododendron masters, propagation and botanical experts.  For these photos to the most useful, they need to need to reference the correct botanical plant name.  Plant appreciators as well as botanical experts enjoy these pictures.

2. Editorial garden pictures are the style that is preferred when it comes to showcasing a garden.  These are the pictures that are taken in ideal light and peak bloom.  Snow or frost in the garden can make for dramatic editorial pictures but the peak of Spring, Summer or Fall color is usually what sets these pictures apart.  They often depict the climaxes of a seasons, bloom, or intense garden color.

Crab Apple Archway, Darts Hill

Crab Apple Archway, Darts Hill

3. Plant and flower portraits offer a more intimate view of the garden.  For me, these pictures have  greater value and intimacy if they linked to a particular garden and place.  The wider context can not be seen but referencing a specific garden acknowledges the history, time and effort that is needed for a plant to thrive and produce a perfect bloom.  References to a specific garden, grower or proper plant name can help to focus on individuality and the unique qualities of an image.  Flowers are one of the most frequently photographed subjects on earth.  Individuality helps.


Hellebore Trio, Darts Hill

4. Flower Close-ups concentrate on form and color.  These pictures are often found in fine art photography collections and are also used for decorative purposes.  They are also about energy, feeling and mood.

Iris Tango

Iris Tango, Langley, BC

5. Natural Patterns make for wonderful garden pictures that are based on color, shape and repetition and variation.  The most compelling natural patterns are the ones we can almost glimpse.  I try to compose these picture so that an elusive pattern completes or reveals itself just outside the frame.  Human beings seem hardwired to see or discover patterns. Patterns catch our imagination, stimulate the senses and the intellect.  They hint at ongoing cycles, energy and emotion.

Fall Tapestry, Leaves from Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy'

Fall Tapestry, Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’

6. Monochrome garden pictures emphasize tone and form over color.  They have a timeless quality and for many viewers, offer a direct link to the imagination or a special mood.  Monochrome pictures can have a distancing quality that references the past.  I often use the textural qualities of monochrome prints to remind the viewer of graphite drawings or ink and wash paintings.  Monochrome pictures are another way to emphasize timelessness and unique qualities of a garden.  These photos are can have a calming and meditative effect.

Siberian Iris, Toned Monochrome

Siberian Iris, Toned Monochrome

7. Abstraction in the garden can be taken farther with motion blur pictures.  These pictures can range from impressionist to strongly abstract (if a subject is no longer discernible).  When used with botanical subjects, the photographic technique of intentional camera motion retains color, movement and energy even as the subject becomes blurred.  These pictures  draw from the artistic traditions of impressionism and fine art abstraction.

Ornamental Grass, Abstract Motion Blur, Darts Hill Garden

Ornamental Grass, Abstract Motion Blur, Darts Hill Garden

I am currently working on a series of toned monochrome and softly colored photographs for display at the Newton Cultural Centre in March 2016. This collection of calm and introspective pictures is called “Solitudes.”  There is an opening reception March 12th from 1-3.  Some of the pictures that will be exhibited are included below.

Fog in Fleetwood, Surrey, BC

Fog in Fleetwood, Surrey, BC

Two years in the garden has left me looking forward to new photographic projects.  To all my Darts Hill friends and project partners, I am always on call for flower or garden “beauty emergencies.”

In the garden, I am never alone.  The Darts Hill Garden photography blog was a labor of love that I shared with garden friends and partners at Darts Hill.  Support from The Darts Hill Conservancy Society Members was very appreciated.  Special thanks goes to Nancy Oike, Pam Yakome, Nancy Cameron Armstrong, Sue Klapwijk, Gardeners Ken Warren and Alan Cheung and garden staff Stacy Rosa. These last two years in the garden ended up being more joy filled, productive, and creative than I had ever hoped.  A steady stream of published pictures has increased the visibility and recognition of Darts Hill Garden Park.  The pictures helped to reinforce the value of this garden for visitors, garden volunteers and for City Parks staff.  This two year project has been indirectly extended as the photos first appearing in this blog now have a permanent home at the new Darts Hill Garden Website.

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Breath of Spring

Mild winters combine with a southern exposure to bring signs of an early Spring to Darts Hill.

First Crocus at Darts Hill

First Crocus at Darts Hill

Though Spring is not until March 20th, mild temperatures and limited frost means that the Darts Hill winter garden has extra life and color.


On a Winter’s Day

The is often one or more snow days at Darts Hill.  The snow usually doesn’t last as temperatures do not often stay below zero for long.

The coral toned bark of Acerpalmatum ‘Sango-kaku,’ makes a strong statement in the winter garden.

Hamamelis X intermidia Jelena and other varieties of hamamelis commonly known at witch hazel bloom in winter.  Yellow, orange and red varieties of Hamamelis can be found at Darts Hill.

The Holiday Season at Darts Hill

The holiday season in the garden includes brightly colored leaves, berries and winter blooms.


Red and Green Leaves

Iris Seed Pod

Iris Seed Pod

December blooms:

Viburnum farreri nanum

Viburnum farreri nanum

Cryptomeria japonica

Cryptomeria japonica

Darts Hill Garden has recently launched a new website: Darts Hill Garden Website .  The site includes information about the garden, Membership, Newsletters, garden events and photos.



Monochrome December

The weather is cool but plants in the garden are still growing.

The garden is a quieter place in winter.


Cryptomeria japonica

Link to the new Darts Hill Garden Website.