Sunday, July 13, 2014

Hydrangea walk in the forest green


About 50,000 hydrangeas of 25 varieties bloom one after another from mid-June through the end of July at Kobe Arboretum (Kobe Shinrin Shokubutsuen).  Though hydrangeas at the arboretum are taken care, hydrangeas grow wild at Mt. Rokko and is the official flower of Kobe City.

My favorites are mountain lace-cap hydrangeas, which have delicate figure with smaller flowers and leaves.

The characteristic of hydrangeas at Mt. Rokko is soft pristine blue color influenced by its acidic soil from granites and its great temperature difference between daytime and night.  The color is called “Rokko Blue”.

 When I looked up, they looked like floating in the sea of juicy green: it was a wondrous sensation.

As a blue-color lover, I tend to take pictures of blue flowers more, but of course hydrangeas of any other color are as attractive as the blue blooms.



Do we look all right?

Some rare hydrangeas can be seen like "Shichidanka", of which rediscovery after 120 years from Edo period (1603-1868) made this flower famous.  Have a look at Full blooming Shichidanka hydrangeas at Mt. Rokko

Kobe Arboretum is Japan's largest botanical garden (142.6 ha).  Kobe City purchased an area of the Rokko Mountains close to the urban  area and planted approximately 1200 varieties of trees from each region of the world including Japan while keeping the natural forests as much as possible. It was opened in 1940.
Natural forest in summer
Autumn (Glorious Mandala of autumn at Mt. Rokko)
This is my all season favorite Hase-ike Pond.

Around the pond, I found a froglet with only a teeny tail stub.
Hello, grasshopper!  What’s your name?
 The white camellia-like flower is Stewartia pseudocamellia, or Japanese Stewartia.  娑羅樹 (shara-no-ki)) in Japanese has just started blooming.

White petals and orange anthers
 Japanese Stewartia blooms high above.
Can you spot two white flowers among the foliage in the photo below?

While walking along the Metasequoia avenue leading to the parking lot,
I felt like that green essence was dripping on me.

See you next year at the Rokko Mountains!


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Flowering lilies by the sea at Maishima Island

In the late afternoon glow

A very large plot of land about 50,000 meter-square on Maishima Island is covered by about two million lilies from early-June to early-July.  Since it is hot and humid on a sunny day during the rainy season, I entered the lily garden around 5 p.m. and stayed till 7 p.m.  Because of the location, right beside the sea, sea breeze was comfortable.  What I saw was shimmering indigo-blue sea, clear blue sky, and lilies of various colors and species.

Konohana Bridge





At around 7:00 p.m., the sun was setting behind the mountains across the bay but big container ships were still busily passing by.  Incidantally today's sunset time is 7:13 in Osaka.

Maishima is a man-made island located in Osaka Bay. It was included in the candidate sites when Osaka had aimed to bid for Olympics but at that time I didn't know what it was like except for two things: one is the huge waste treatment plant with unique architectural appearance which looks like the work of Dali, and the other is as a site for Summer Sonic, one of the best rock festivals in Japan, which is held in Maishima every summer along with Makuhari.   On my first visit to the island I learned about the wide range of opportunities of sporting such as tennis courts, football stadium (base for Cerezo Osaka), baseball stadisum, indoor athletic field, spacious open dog-runs, racing circuits, barbecue garden, and so on.  I understood why it was called Maishima Sports Island in English.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Symphony in blue

 Chokyu-ji Temple (Ikoma City) is flanked with woods to one side. 
The path along the woods is lined with numerous large bushes of hydrangeas.

Macrophylla hydrangeas are native to Japan.  (Hydrangea macrophylla native to Japan)
As symbol flowers of Japanese rainy season, they look the most beautiful and atmospheric
in the wet air of the woods or in the softly falling rain. 
Such hydrangeas are healing to see like tears relieving the pain.


My favorite is sky blue hydrangea, either large, ball-shaped blooms of mop-head type
or delicate-looking ones of lace-cap type.

The path runs between Mayumi residential area and the Tomio River close to the border of
Nara City and Ikoma City. 

I hope you enjoyed the harmony of blue colors with lush green.

"Many thanks for viewing us.  Take care!"
Thank you for your visits, dear Friends.
"Comments" is sill closed, but I'll make it open someday in July.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Flowers gone with the season change

For a long time I neglected the works of gardening but the lovely flowers, seemingly untamed but actually taken care by my husband, surely comforted me while I cared for and watched over my mother in turn with my siblings at her home in Kobe.  These are some of the flowers which made me pleased and smile since the start of my mother's hospice care at home in February.  (Hospice at home)   The doctor specializes in palliative cares and psychosomatic medicine.

Pansies and Violas were vibrant when my entire garden was dormant in winter and lasted till the end of May.


Christmas Roses look discreet always facing downward. 
They reminded me of my mother suffering and enduring in silence.


Japanese white eyes and Brown-eared bulbuls like this Camellia.
I was relaxed watching them coming and going.


Another Camellia with big face could be seen from where I tapped the keyboard of my laptop.

At around the time when Rhododendrons bloomed, spring was fully sprung in my garden.
The medicine to treat her anxiety for breathlessness, with which she was caught a few times with horror, seems to have made her unable to speak smoothly.
Her whole body was apparently weakening constantly but mind was rather sharp.
When dogwood was going to end, season was changing into early summer.
Delirium occurred more often to her and wakefulness made her suffer at night.  In the daytime, she looked relatively comfortable while her pain and anxiety was treated by medical morphine. Delirium, "senmo" in Japanese, is culturally thought to be the coming of the deceased loved ones to take her to paradise.

On a rainy day, something magical was happening when I stepped into the garden.
My favorite Bluebell
Blooming strawberry plant bore fruits soon.
Until six days before her death, she sat on the chair and ate, though what she could eat was only jelly-like things because not only small pieces of solid food but also liquid choked her.  She liked to taste sip by sip the broken and stirred strawberries harvested in my garden. 

 This Kyushy Azalea (Unzen tsutsuji in Japanese) was presented by my mother
when I had a house on this land thirty years ago.

Five days before her death, her wakefulness at night ended and she slept the whole night through till she was awaken late in the morning to find heart pains.  Rapidly she went downturn: only a small piece of ice was placed on her tongue to wet her throat but soon she got unable to swallow up even the melted ice.  Families gathered to see her one last time and we children cycled in and out of the room for the next four days, showing our thankfulness and goodbyes in our own different ways.  She kept on sleeping while her pain was under control by suppository of medical morphine, and then ..... she breathed her last quietly after being in a deep sleep for two days on June 5.  The rainy season set in the previous day.
Wake and funeral were held at home as she had wished, attended by about 40 people including only the family of children, grandchildren, great-grand children and the very small number of people who had been closest to her.  The alter was made with her favorite-colored flowers, pink, red, and lavender, based around the color white.

 Thank you for your unconditional love, encouraging sweet smiles,
and guiding me by your attitude throughout your life.

May your soul rest in peace, Mom.