Part rest, part fun, and part adventure. I count myself thankful for each and every trip away. This last few days I’ve spent in a little town called Walla Walla, deep in the heart of Washington wine country and deep in a land of friendly happy people. The trip celebrated a big birthday for my husband, and provided an opportunity to hear the stories behind how many of those we met ended up in a small dry desert town of 30,000. Taking in a part of the country I’ve never seen solidifies observations that the country is made up of unique people and our diverse climates and landscapes mean we never get bored in our explorations.
Above is a picture of the scene on all sides of Walla Walla. These are the Blue Mountains and fields of the “Amber Waves of Grain” already harvested for the season. The Mizzoula floods left this land rocky, dry and diverse. Many trees that have a hard time with Chicagoland soils and temperature swings such as Sweet Gum were beautiful street trees along main street.
This is one of the street trees along the main drag in Walla Walla. The locals couldn’t ID it for me. Turns out it is a type of ash called a Raywood Ash. The leaves are more delicate and narrow than the typical Green or White Ash found in the Midwest. Pretty cool overall texture.
The boulder wall above is made of dark, angular stone very different from the granite boulders found in the midwest. The suppliers typically find their boulders from Wisconsin quarries and are light shades of pink, buff, and gray with few angles. I am sure they blend into the landscape to the Walla Walla natives, but to a visitor, they are a beautiful change of scenery.
Check out this rustic pergola against the Saviah Cellars tasting room. The large-scale of the tree logs works in scale with the larger building. Another winery landscape essential was lavender. Even without the blooms the air was scented. The lavender was planted not only for aesthetics, but also to increase the crop species on winery property and deter deer, but we all know how well that usually works!
In contrast to the beautiful fall color display above, most of the planters still had their summer annuals. The temperatures in Walla Walla are relatively stable and there has not yet been a hard frost in the area. The fall colors were about three weeks behind too.
The blue sky accentuates the blazing red sumac along the road. This natural example of how beautiful the sumac looks in the fall against straw-colored grass is a reminder to incorporate this combination in homeowner landscapes. The sumac would look great among Karl Foerster Grass or Fountain Grass, both turn a yellow color in the fall.
This winery pup, also an important landscape feature in Walla Walla came to reside at Morrison Lane Vineyard as a result of a sled dog rescue. The stress of a former life melted away, the now less shy Husky, Wolf and German Shepard mix has the life of leisure with her brother. Like so many other stories, I encountered talking with the people of Walla Walla, the small town life of vineyard farmers might not necessarily be stress free, but no matter the tale behind their move, these many transplants came, fell in love and stayed to pursue a passion. Just as I hope to accomplish my own pursuit as a designer, and just as I hope my passion for what I do will always shine through.