honey suckle

honey suckle

31.1.15

SNOWDROPS:a sign of spring (スノードロップは春のきざし)

Today is the last day of January.  Snowdrops (Galanthus) have started to flower at the white fence.  Galanthus flower, which is a sign of early spring, is so cute and we love it very much.

Hellebores (クリスマスローズ) beside snowdrops are not in bloom yet.




We are longing for spring.




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29.1.15

FOXGLOVE IN THE POTAGER (ポタジェのジギタリス)

At the border of the kitchen garden, we grow foxglove with roses.  Some of foxglove seedlings of 2013 have grown so large and one of them has now a spike of white flowers.





Between fox gloves is a kind of aster.  
Some pests are so bold as to eat foxglove leaves.  Is digitalis harmless to their hearts?

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27.1.15

POTAGER NOW (今のポタジェ)

Some vegetables are growing slowly in the kitchen garden; Swiss chard, lettuce and broccoli.



Beside vegetables, leaves of tulips are visible.


Nasturtium, wild flower seedlings and tulips


Spring is just around the corner.


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25.1.15

BIRDS IN OUR GARDEN (庭の鳥たち)

In winter, so many kinds of birds visit our garden.

Brown-eared bulbul (Hypsipetes amaurotis, ヒヨドリ) is very popular in Japan.  It lives all the year in our area.  Songs of it is often used as sound effects, especially when tension is building in the play of historical TV dramas.

Brown-eared bulbuls like fruits of a mochi tree (Ilex integra, an ornamental tree of the holly genus which is native in Japan), as well as nectar of Camellia sasanqua.






Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, メジロ) likes nectar, too.  It is so cute because of its eyes.




Japanese tits (Parus minor, シジュウカラ) eat Coccoidea (カイガラムシ)on the tree branches in winter.  In spring, a couple of Japanese tits will come for breeding.


Jobitaki (Phoenicurus auroreus Pallas, ジョウビタキ) often comes to our garden.  It has a large white wing patch.




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23.1.15

LEMON CURD & POUND CAKE WITH LEMON PEEL (庭のレモンで作るレモンカードとケーキ)

Last Sunday my wife made lemon curd and a pound cake with lemon peel.

We have a lemon tree in the corner of our main garden beside blueberry trees.  We planted it about ten years ago, and it has grown 12 feet high.


She harvested six lemons, and made five jars of lemon curd.  Then she made a pound cake.  Lemon peels were added in and on the cake.




We enjoyed the cake with lemon curd.  I felt the lemon peels a bit hard, but lemon curd tasted so good.




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21.1.15

NOBLE SCALLOPS IN THE GARDEN (庭のヒオウギガイ)

There are noble scallops (Mimachlamys nobilis) for decorating bricks of the central raised bed in our garden.

A year ago, we brought back many scallops discarded at the nearby fishing port.  Colours of the scallops include yellow, orange, red, pink, purple and white.  They look dark and dull when they are dry, however, once they are wet, they become vividly colored.

Colorful scallops add colour in  a desolate wintry garden.


In a couple of months muscari flowers in the bed.  

Well grown foxgloves are waiting for spring in the bed. 





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19.1.15

GARDENING CONTEST OF A LOCAL NURSERY (園芸店のガーデニングコンテスト)

We applied for the gardening contest held at a local nursery last December.  I sent three pictures of our garden shot in March, September and November.





A letter which informs us winning a prize (gift certificates of the nursery) has come last Wednesday.  We were very pleased.  One of our pictures may appear in the 2016 calender of the nursery.

A notification of a prize and gift certificates


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17.1.15

KYOTO - THE OLD CAPITAL OF JAPAN 2 (古都 京都 その2 清水寺と水道閣)

Next, we went to Kiyomizu-dera temple (清水寺, it means 'Pure Water Temple' in Japanese).

The temple is one of the most celebrated temples of Japan. It was founded in 780, and derives its name from the fall's pure waters. In 1994, the temple was added to the list of UNESCO world heritage sites.

Kiyomizu-dera is best known for its wooden stage (舞台) that juts out from its main hall, 13 meters above the hillside below. The stage affords visitors a nice view of the numerous cherry and maple trees below that erupt in a sea of color in spring and fall, as well as of the city of Kyoto in the distance.
The main hall, which together with the stage was built without the use of nails, houses the temple's primary object of worship, a small statue of the eleven faced, thousand armed Kannon.








Inside the main hall.






And we visited Nanzenji temple (南禅寺).   This temple is one of the most important Zen temples in Japan. It is the head temple of one of the schools within the Rinzai sect (臨済宗) of Japanese Zen Buddhism and includes multiple subtemples, that make the already large complex of temple buildings even larger.


The Sanmon Gate(三門)

The Hodo (法堂)

Our main purpose of visiting Nanzenji temple was to look at Suido-Kaku (水道閣), which is a large brick aqueduct that passes through the temple grounds. It was built in 1880s' and the aqueduct is part of a canal system that was constructed to carry water and goods between Kyoto and Lake Biwa in neighbouring Shiga Prefecture. Paths run alongside the canal that lead into the surrounding forest.  The contrast of the old Zen temple and the western brick structure seemed me to be quite interesting.



Water from Lake Biwa flows to the City of Kyoto.  

Young women wearing Kimono. 


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15.1.15

KYOTO - THE OLD CAPITAL OF JAPAN 1 (古都 京都 その1 金閣と銀閣)

I visited Kyoto with my wife and our sons came too.

This time, we had chosen Kinkaku (金閣/the Golden Pavilion) of Rokuon-ji Temple, and Kannon-den (or 銀閣/Ginkaku; which means 'the Silver Pavilion) of Higashiyama Jisho-ji Temple for visiting at first.  Both are Zen temples and the World Cultural Heritage Sites.




Kinkaku is a Buddhist hall containing relics of Buddha.  This was built in 1397 by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the 3rd shogun of the Muromachi period.

The garden and buildings, centered on the Golden Pavilion, were said to represent the Pure Land of Buddha in this world.

Gold foils on lacquer cover the upper two levels of the pavilion and a shining phoenix stands on top of the roof.



As a pond garden designed for strolling, it is typical of the Muromachi period.



The place for tea ceremony.  


Higashiyama Jisho-ji Temple or Ginkaku-ji Temple was established in 1482 by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the 8th shogun of Muromachi period.

Ginkaku is two storied; the first floor is built in Shoin style (traditional Japanese residential architecture style), and the second floor is Chinese temple style.  The bronze phenix stands on the top.


The contrast of Ginshadan (銀沙灘) representing waves and white sand Mt. Fuji shaped Kogetsudai (向月台) is enchanting.  
Ginkaku and Kinkyochi (錦鏡池) pond

Katoumado (花頭窓) windows of the second level.  


The ground of the garden is perfectly covered with beautiful moss.


In winter orange and red twigs of the shrubs are stunning in the garden.


A great egret (great white heron)  were aiming at fishes in the pond. 




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