honey suckle

honey suckle

31.7.14

A NEW WIRE ARCH FOR APPLE

There are three arches for roses I had made with reinforcing iron rods (rebars).  Reinforcing rods are flexible and easy to bend.  The surface of the rods are covered with rust in a short time and quite durable for more than ten years.  Rods are fixed with aluminium wires to make an arch.  The arch is hard to break because of its flexibility.  Its dark brown color is very natural and get on well with plants.

Crab apple trees are growing at the entrance of the kitchen garden.  Today I have made an arch for apple trees.

Crab apples at the entrance of the potager. 

At first two sets of three reinforcing rods were pushed into the ground at the trees of both sides.
Then other two rods were bent manually, and they were fixed by using aluminium wires.



Finally I trained the apple branches to the arch.



The trees are expected to grow to the top of the arch next year.





30.7.14

ROSES IN MIDSUMMER

Boiling hot days are continuing.  Except in early morning, I don't go out in the garden and stay indoor.  I prefer reading books and magazines at the window of the air-conditioned living room.


Rosa 'Mr. Lincoln' and the latest gardening magazines

In the garden, several roses are flowering now.  We cut some of the roses and enjoy them indoors.

So delicate pink Rosa 'Angela'

White Rosa 'Iceberg' 

Vivid pink Rosa 'Mary Rose'

Red Rosa 'Mr. Lincoln'

Orange Rosa 'Pat Austin'

Cute pink Rosa 'Scaborough Fair'

Beautiful pink 'Sky Lark'

29.7.14

MY GRANDPA in 1914

One hundred years have passed since the World War I started.
Today, I want to talk about my grandfather who was a soldier in 1914.

My grandfather was born in 1894, and did his national service in 1914.  He passed the physical examination as a Grade One conscript (in the Japanese military at that time).  He was chosen to be a imperial guard whose duty was to protect the Emperor's castle (the Imperial Palace) from attack.  It was a very honorable to be a imperial guard at that time, because very limited number of men, who are well built, healthy and have good family members and relatives, were chosen from nearby villages.
When I was a child, my grandpa often told me and my brothers the story about his national service.
My granny had gotten tired of his talk :-)

Japan declared war against the German Empire on 23 August, 1914 under the Anglo-Japanese Alliance and participated in World War I.  My grandpa had stayed in Tokyo all the time of his national service except military exercise at the foot of Mt. Fuji.

I recorded his talk about his military service on tape several years before his death.  At his memorial service all of my family members heard his voice nostalgically.

I found two photographs taken at his national service in a small drawer of his cabinet, about 10 years ago.  One of them was supposed to have been taken in the Emperor's castle.  My grandpa and his fellow soldiers were photographed in front of a stonewall.

I thought that this stonewall still existed, and when I went to Tokyo to attend the national conferences, I visited the Emperor's castle to find the place where my grandpa and his fellows took the photograph.  The castle is quite large and it takes lots of time to look round.  I visited two times to find the place, however, I couldn't find it.  The stonewall may have been destroyed or it locates in the restricted area.

My grandpa is sitting on the ground at the right end of the front row


Another photo (no information of time, place or situation)

My grandpa had given me a pocket watch when I was a student.  It still works now, but it goes too fast.  A medal attached to its chain has a design of crossed lifles and a cherry blossom.  



I want to transmit the story I heard from my grandpa to my grandchildren and posterity.
(Unfortunately, I have not grandchildren yet.)



28.7.14

WHITE HAIRY LARVAE OF BLACK PSEUDO-BUTTERFLY

There were white hairy larvae on the underside of the tree (Benthamidia japonica).

Pure white color of its hairy appendices

A Benthamidia japonica tree with four-petaled white flowers in June.


It is quite difficult to determine which side is a head or tail.  It is a larva of a black butterfly-like moth.  It is unimaginable that this white larva become a black 'butterfly'.  


The moth 'Epicopeia hainesii' looks like a butterfly


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Tour of France 2014 finished this morning, and Italy's Vincenzo Nibali won.  
I broke my own record of 180 kCal during 30 minute-aerobike training machine several days ago when I was watching the race.  


Thibaut PINOT, maillot blanc - Vincezo NIBALI, Maillot jaune - Peter SAGAN, maillot vert - Rafal MAJKA, maillot à pois (from left to right,  © ASO/B.Bade)

181 kCal for 30 minuites: my new record

27.7.14

BLUEBERRY JAM

This morning we harvested blueberries.  There was a shower before sunrise due to a passage of a cold front, and the air had become much dry and cooler than the last week.

Rabbiteye blueberries

Looks like a cluster of grapes!


In the afternoon, we have made blueberry jam for the first time this year.  Today's harvest was about 1,500 grammes, and 1,200 grammes were used for making jam.

It weighed 1,469 g

1,200 g blueberries + 400 g sugar

Low heat for 60 min. 

Heating has finished after 120 min

About 900 grammes of jam was divided into small jars and a plastic container.   

Each jar contains about 100 grammes.  
We tried the jam after dinner with plain vanilla ice cream, and it tasted very good!
Some of the jars will be sent to our friends with plum jam jars we made last month.



26.7.14

MY FAVORITE LANDSCAPES

Every weekday morning we take a walk in the neighbourhood, walking up to the hilltop.  Pictures below are my favorite views we can see while walking.


The south view from the path to the hilltop.  A small peninsula and oyster farm rafts in the bay can be seen.  Many temporary oyster restaurants open at the fishing port in the wintertime, and so many people visit every year.   

The east landscape from the hilltop.  Mt. Itoshima Fuji and a inlet.  This mountain is only 365m high, but because of its beautiful shape, it is one of the small Mt. Fujis found throughout Japan.  

The high temperatures of the days of this week is over 33 degrees Celsius, and the lowest are over 25.  Boiling hot days continues to the beginning of September, I'm afraid.



25.7.14

RED STRIPED SHIELD BUGS

Lady's lace flowers are still beautiful in the kitchen garden.
When I looked at the flowers, I found red and black striped beetles.
Judging from the shape of them,  I thought that they were a kind of shield bugs.

I don't like shield bugs because of its nasty smell, however, these didn't stink.  I searched online and found out that these are Graphosoma rubrolineatum.  Graphosoma likes Apiaceae plants, just like Lady's lace.


Flowers of Lady's lace in the kitchen garden.  

Very impressive black and red stripes.  


They are mating on the flower or at the neck of flowerhead.  



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Red and black stripes reminds me of Darth Maul of Star Wars Films.  But this association may be pitiful for the bugs.


Rather, the bugs look like a cute baby below :-)



24.7.14

FIREWORKS

Yesterday evening, a summer festival was held at the beach one mile from our cottage.
Fireworks started at 8 o'clock.  I hurried home and walked up to the top of the hill and saw the 60 minutes fireworks with my wife.

Sunset at 19:30

The sky is a little bit bright at 20:00

It looks like a kind of plants(?)

A very small Mt Fuji at right bottom.  

Double spheres of white and pink color. 

This looks like the Saturn.  

There were so many red hearts in the sky.  

A quite unique firework



The final fireworks at 20:55
Though it took three to four seconds for us to hear the sounds after looking the firework,  we really enjoy them.  It was boiling during daytime, but after sunset a gentle breeze was comfortable and the sky was so clear.



23.7.14

WHITE ROSES & HEUCHERA

In the morning, sunlight filtering through trees gets to the bench.  Even on a very hot day, it is a little bit cool at that time.
We always take a walk in my neighbourhood before seven o'clock and come back into our garden.  These days white roses are blooming in front of the garden bench.  We can take a short break sitting on the bench.


Rosa 'Iceburg' and 'Snow Goose'


Heuchera flowers in a sculpture planter on the wall.



22.7.14

KITCHEN GARDEN NOW

Yesterday espalier apple trees have been pruned except one beside a gate to make an arch of apple trees.





The rainy season is over and cucumbers and tomatoes are growing in the sunlight.
We harvested some of them yesterday for the first time.





Tomatoes are trained to the posts around the standard rose 'Mary Rose'.  We can look both rose flowers and tomato flowers.  





Looking into the standard rose, I found the most dreadful pest of roses again.  The beetle was eating bark of the rose.  I caught it immediately.

The beetle in a rose tree.  (Center of the photo)

A close-up photo
On 21 July, the Japanese Meteorological Agency declared the end of the rainy season in the northern Kyusyu area.  Very hot and humid days continue until September.