Opinions wanted for Meditation Walk

I'm a firm believer in usenet, especially for opinions. This concerns US zone 6-7, the western suburbs of Philadelphia, PA.
Three years ago, we moved from a small twin with a 20-foot front yard out to Paradise. We now have a little over half an acre, with some interesting features inherited from the previous owners. Coming into our third summer here, I have an overwhelming urge to remake the landscape, but I admit to having a black thumb. Last year, I planted about 100 bulbs in my new "garden" along the back edge of the property, and only succeeded in feeding the deer and rabbits.
Overview at http://www.tfrog93.com/garden/garden1.htm . While I really wanted a "photography garden" back there, I think I've given up on that idea. Now I have a week off, and I'm working on a Meditation Walk.
Again, the previous owners had installed a gravel walk from the garage around to the rear patio, planting primarily pines, with a Japanese maple and a flowering dogwood as accents. Because of major construction last summer, the Meditation Walk had to be redone (see: http://www.tfrog93.com/garden/walk.htm , a page I just put up). To my mind, there was far too much pine back there, so I've decided to plant at least four rhododendrons along the walk, which I think will be a nice mix and a nice "feel".
Along the walk, amongst the pine needles and between the rhodos, I'd like to have a few sprays of color (perennials?). We have hostas all over the place, that can be transplanted here, but I'd like some more - and different - color, ideally from Spring through late Summer.
What kinds of plants can I put into this environment that will produce colorful blooms at different times of the season? Mostly shade, only partial sun in late morning, early afternoon. Again, my "focus" is on photography, over and above the natural visual beauty...
Thanks for your advice, all!
dwight
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I'd add Black Bamboo, Umbrella Pines and Japanese red tinged ferns. While at it some Hellebores, Sweet Woodruff, Japanese hollies too. Some water sculpture with fish would add movement. I'd add some large rocks for stillness. Wind chimes.
Books
A Japanese touch for your garden.
ISBN 0-87011-391-7
The Art of Setting Stones
ISBN 1-880656-70-1
Space & Illusion In the Japanese Garden
ISBN 0-8348-1522-2
DVD
Shaolin Soccer with Stephen Chow
Music
Stone Garden 6:17 Quiet Fire Zen Moods for the Spa Experience
Water Garden 7:51 Jalan-Jalan Bali
Chinese Bamboo Flute - Japanese- Daha (higuchi Taizan) 4:40 Wood Flute Meditative
Ambiance
Have a party with friends and family to start the work.
Have fun and think of it as a life long endeavor !
Bill
--
Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA


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Idleness and contemplation in all stages, beginning with the planning......spend idle time in the area before you ever start and let your mind do it's thing...as Bill says, let it develop and grow as you to develop and grow. Contemplation, not completion is the goal.....
Charlie
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<Charlie> wrote in message >

That's kind of why I refer to it as a Meditation Walk. I've been meditating on it for three years. Simply by relocating the path, I've opened up all sorts of possibilities.
But you're right. The rhododendrons are a must. I'll start there, then sit, look, and think some more before I decide on the next step. I'm trying to picture what it will be ten years from now.
But, come next Spring, I'd still like to see colors other than green and brown.
:()
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wrote:

You will. :-) Contemplating the area at different times of the day can really be helpful......very early morning and dusk, the in-between times, are often revealing. Soft light and shadows.....
Sometimes appropriate music and appropriate, according to your taste, brain lube are helpful in clearing away the haze from your vision....
Try and visualize the seasonal aspects........this will look great in July, but what about dead of winter, which has it's own beauty and requires elements that fit.....
You are going to have fun, and it sounds as though you are starting well. Keep us updated, both here and on your webpages.

Nice! I love going places such as this and cutting and pasting images into my imagination, taking away feelings and such.

Let the sweat begin! :-)
Care Charlie
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wrote:

Wow. You've given me a lot to think about. The total space is about 40' long, 25' wide, so there's plenty of room there. I had thought it was a bit more sparse than it needed to be.
Along the post-and-rail fence are some beautiful ferns (and other touches I can't identify), and that's the only area with what I would call full growth.
You've convinced me that I can do far more with this walk than I originally planned. I guess I was thinking of a mountain path, more than a pure garden. I like your suggestions. And, yes, I've got nothing but time. We plan on being here for another, oh, 25 to 30 years (god willing).
I think I'll pass on the water features, though. We have a Lab mix, and she'd be in there constantly, pawing at the fishes.
Thanks for the references. That rock garden may become more than I anticipated.
dwight
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