Tuesday, February 16, 2016

What the Hawk Sees

This is what my garden looks like from the point of view of a hawk passing overhead.

Actually it's what Google saw flying overhead last year in early October.

I clearly see our solar panels as they look from above, and I recognize the plantings and hardscape and the dot of the mailbox and even the utility boxes, but I puzzled over a white spot with shadow at the bottom of the driveway, until I figured out that Google flew over at the exact moment Jim was on his John Deere mowing the front lawn. That's him on his mower. In a white t shirt.

That made me feel a little weird. We are observed.

Our lot is an irregular pentagram, but the gardens and mown lawn have spilled over into common property, carving an arc out of the weeds that surround us. It's a half acre, but with the boundaries expanded into common land, it's more.

At street level it's impossible to determine just by looking where the odd angles of our lot end and common land begins, and the homeowner's association does not tend any of the space around us, so we encroach a little and make more lawn and gardens out of weeds.

The area to the left (west) of the house at the end of the driveway is the gravel sitting garden. The light tan area is where we put in a section of pavers for a driveway turnaround

At the back of the house (north side) is the patio and deck, surrounded by a garden. My potting bench and storage shed are there.

It's fun to see all the elements of my entire garden, stripped to the essentials of shape and placement, without any of the 3D complexity of form or height.

Jim mows openings into the surrounding common area behind the house, and I can see the wandering network of paths from above. It's more extensive than I realized. The meadow plants hide the paths from sight at ground level.

At the convergence of some paths in the center there is a single red blob (the first red maple to color in fall), and that marks the start of a steep treed hill. You can't see from overhead that the land rises in a sharp incline there.

The three white blobs to the right (east) of the house are three dappled willows planted in a line.

Where the meadow and paths begin, I can see the light colored squiggle of the dry creek bed, and from above it looks too small. It is -- I need to expand it.

I can see the big irregular blob of the Birch Garden out in the middle of the lawn, and my hedge of bottlebrush buckeyes along the back (even the space left in the hedge where one was taken out last September). I can identify each tree and shrub and it's interesting to see how each relates to the others just by their placement.

The zoomed-in shots from Google are so grainy, but at least I know what I'm looking at.

But having seen what the hawk sees of my garden, I'm now thinking a GoPro camera and a drone might be the thing. I could take high quality overhead garden photos and terrorize Jim while he mows the lawn at the same time.

Maybe not.

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