honey suckle

honey suckle

31.12.14

MARPLE MADE HANGING BASKETS OF VIOLA  (ビオラのハンギングづくり)

Yesterday was the last day of gardening this year and Marple planted hanging baskets of viola.  I helped her to make them.


Viola seedlings bought at a nursery.  

At first she removed old cocoa liners, and inserted a new liners.




She made six holes at the side of the liner.  Then she wrapped viola leaves/flowers in a small plastic bag and pulled them out through the holes.




Several additional young plants of viola were planted on the top of the baskets.

The baskets were hung at the rose arbour in front of the bench, where they can get plenty of sunshine.



Viola of the baskets will continue to flower until May when we open our garden for charity.




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29.12.14

DOWNTON ABBEY HAS COME! (ダウントンアビーがやってきた)

A Downton Abbey calendar 2015 and a cushion came at Christmas.







I bought a DVD box of series 1-3 in last February.  The DVDs have neither Japanese subtitles nor Japanese dubbing, therefore it took long time to watch the stories and it was useful to improve my reading and hearing English.

There are helpful homepages about 'Downton Abbey' such as;

 Downton Abbey Wiki (ダウントンアビーのあらすじ、ビデオクリップなどの紹介)

 Downton Abbey Episode Scripts (ダウントンアビーの全セリフ)




When I visited UK last October, the season five had started and I watched one episode on a TV at a hotel in Torquay.  It was really a fun.






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27.12.14

ABOUT THE WHITE WOOD FENCE (白い木製フェンスの話)

There is the white wood fence at the upper entrance of our garden beside the house.  Climbing roses were trained to it, a fig tree was planted inside it, and hydrangea was planted outside the entrance.  It prevents entrance of unwelcome visitors such as wild boars.

In May, the fence was decorated by rose flowers, and in June by blue hydrangea flowers.

Rosa 'Shropshire Lad' (May 2014)



Blue hydrangea (June 2014)


I designed this fence several years ago.  In January, I started to make it.
I used waste scaffolding iron pipes fixed to concrete blocks as fence posts.  At first, I set those pipes vertically, and then the pipes were covered with wood boards.


After setting upper and lower rail, pickets were fixed to the rails. They were all treated with antiseptic paint.




Decorative rafters were fixed on the top of double rails, which made it look like a pergola.


The fence was then painted white, and finished in April.




Last spring, I repainted the fence, and it looked new again.


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25.12.14

CORING LAWN (芝生のコアリング)

Aeration of lawn is vital since it allows deep root growth and so helps the turf to become established as well as reducing soil compaction.
There are several ways of aeration, and we adopted coring.

We use a hand tiner, which lifts out cores of grass and soil 1.0cm wide.  Before coring, I prepared sand for filling the holes in order to improve drainage.  Sea sand I bought at DIY store contained small broken shells and a bit larger grains of sand.  So I put the sand through a sieve to get rid of them.  The sand was filled in a plastic bottle and a sharp‐pointed cap with a small hole at the top was set.  






The hand tiner removes a core of grass, thatch, and soil, making a series of holes.  Remove the cores and fill the holes with sand to prevent them from closing and to allow air and water into the lawn.



Cylindrical soil comes up from the metal tube of a hand tiner.

Cylindrical holes were filled with sand. 

After filling sand

Lifted cores of clayey soil

The lawn after coring

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23.12.14

MORNING OF THE WINTER SOLSTICE (冬至の朝)

It was the winter solstice yesterday.  In addition, it was a new moon.  So, yesterday was the darkest day and night in this year.

From today, daytime becomes a bit longer and the moon appears and brightens the night.  

Every weekday morning I take a walk in my neighborhood with my wife at around 7:00 a.m.
In December, it is still dark at that time, especially on a cloudy day.  When I leave my house at 7:30,  the sun rises.  I come home after sunset, therefore, I can't look at our garden on weekdays.  I've set LED illumination lights at the gazebo.  They are twinkling at night.   

The dawn looking from the summit of he hill (6:57 AM yesterday)

The gazebo windows with LED illumination (7:12 AM)

Pink flowers of camellia and rose with red leaves of blueberry (7:26 AM)


Snow on the mountains and rafts for culturing oyster on the sea (7:30 AM)



At night, we enjoyed Yzuyu or a hot citron bath, which refers to the bath in which yuzus (a kind of citrus fruits) are put and set afloat.  Japanese traditionally enjoy it on the winter solstice.




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22.12.14

A JAPANESE GARDEN IN SCOTLAND DESIGNED BY A JAPANESE WOMAN IN 1908 (明治の日本人女性が設計したスコットランドの日本庭園)

Several months ago, Itsuko-san, my classmate of English conversation class, gave me a newspaper-clipping introducing a Japanese Garden designed in early 20th century.

In the article, it was written that a Japanese woman who learned horticulture at Studley College (Warwickshire) in England designed a Japanese garden at Cowden Castle in Scotland in 1908.  Her name is Taki Handa.  She was born in 1871 at Kurume City in Kyusyu Island.  Kurume City is very close to my home town.  I was really surprised to know that a Japanese woman made a Japanese garden in Scotland more than 100 years ago!



I researched about this amazing story, and I found a  report written by her granddaughter in Japanese (you can read it here).  She was a teacher of English and Horticulture of a woman's collage in Kyoto, a mother of children, a wife of an army surgeon and a manager of a fruit farm.

I found a English web page (here) which introduces the Japanese Garden of Cowden Castle in Scotland.

If you are interested in her, please visit web site shown above.  You can look at many photos of the woman, the garden and related people.


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20.12.14

HARVESTING POTATOES (秋じゃが収穫)

We planted potatoes (Dejima) in the potager in the middle of September (posted on 21st Sep).




In November, I put the cold frames covered with plastic film on the beds in order to grow it better.

Potato in the cold frame (November)



A week ago, my wife Marple harvested the potatoes.  It was not so much but it tasted good, much better than those harvested in late May.




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