Crawl, Don’t Walk

 A late-March, nose-to-the-ground wander through one gardener’s emerging shade garden.


It’s early yet, but already this winter-dormant garden is beginning to push upward and out, a transformation worthy of careful attention. You won’t see much if you’re standing, though. Not at this stage. No, for now the magic is close to the ground. If you were standing here in my garden with me I’d tell you, “Go on, risk it. Get down on your hands and knees. Let your elbows get a little wet. Belly up to my emerging shade wonderland, my friend.”









Soon enough these tender new shoots, these unfolding wonders will have knit themselves together into a lush, intricate, verdant quilt of life. You’ll be scarcely be able to see even the smallest patch of soil before long. And then, yes then it will make perfect sense to find some higher vantage point, a way to look down upon it all from above. For now though, I hope you can see why my humble shade garden seems best, viewed in tiny, bite-size vignettes . . . and from a crawl. (Click on the image below to see a much larger version.)


Each of the photos in this blog post (with the exception of the one below), was captured with a Canon G-12 point and shoot camera, in much the way you see me below capturing what turned out to be the first shot in this blog post. This self-portrait was captured with my iPhone 5, the aid of a Joby GorillaPod and one of my favorite photo apps, Camera+.




25 thoughts on “Crawl, Don’t Walk”

  1. Love it, David! I do this too, although not as often as I’d like. I will put more effort into embracing those rebellious body parts during odd positions and my own self-consciousness at the neighbors’ odd stares. 😉

  2. Love it, David! I do this too, although not as often as I’d like. I will put more effort into embracing those rebellious body parts during odd positions and my own self-consciousness at the neighbors’ odd stares. 😉

  3. Your words are as magical as your photography. Thank you for sharing. One of my favorite plants to photograph in the spring is rhubarb.

    1. I’m right there with ya’, Susan. Rhubarb is kind of a totem plant for me too. Mine is looking pretty interesting just about now, too. It just happens to live in a much sunnier couple of spaces within the garden, and so did not make the inclusion in this particular shade garden crawl.

  4. First shot looks like animal horns creeping up toward the sky. love it. Grape Hyacinth shot is fantastic too. I have a G12 and I can’t get shots like this. Ugh. I guess back to practicing. I am inspired yet again.

    1. Any pianist, guitarist, or musican of any sort understands the concept of daily practice. As does any yogi, poet, or probably, juggler. One never gets good enough to be too good for practice. I am a big fan of daily practice, renata. Your camera is as capable as the eyes behind it. Thank you for your generous words. May your practice seem like a gift.

  5. I remember Joe Young catching me nose-to-earth and awestruck at one of our Wallowa expeditions…”Never forget this perspective. This is where everything begins.”

    1. The ability to experience wonder and awe… one of the greatest gifts of being human. What I wouldn’t give to spend a day in wonder with you and Reg and Joe Young and the rest of that class up in the Wallowas again.

  6. This put a big smile in my heart and eyes… I, too, will be grabbing my camera and hitting the soil to see thru a different set of eyes. Thank you for sharing your art.

  7. I love your Spring Awakening photos. I went to the Arboretum yesterday and took some, not as creative as yours, but I did use the Pic Arts app to make one of them into a “painting.” Will see if I can send it to you.
    I just discovered this blog after reading the story about you in the Sunday Seattle Times magazine. I am so thrilled to get inspiration for garden photos!

  8. Wow! I can’t express in words what a happy and blessed feeling your photos gave me. We spend Jan – Mar down in Florida and then return to a shady corner of Maryland April 1 or so, when we see how the weeds have taken over and the perennials have sprung to life, and are too far along to catch this early poke through and say hello, so thank you so much for a reminder of what we are missing up north. Then again, we’ll pull out our cameras and catch what we can here in FL and soon in MD – thanks for the inspiration!

  9. David, I recently googled a picture of a bride running through a garden. Can we purchase this photo? I work with a program in Miami for brides and we would like to use it on a marketing piece. You can write me back at


I am always eager to read your thoughts . . .