Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Floral photo exhibition - Early Summer -

These are from the photos I photographed in May and June.  Some are at their best, some are withering, but each flower stands noble simply enjoying its life at each stage.  Which flower or photo do you like best?   

Exchange of cheerful  smiles 
Rudbeckia, Cone flower

Floral symbol of Japanese rainy season

Spotlight on small starry-petaled fertile flowers 

As soft and tender as can be
    桔梗, Platycodon grandiflorus, Bellflowers
Silvery-blue summer-lover
エリンギウム, Eryngium

Shy smiles
ヒマラヤ山法師, Cornus Capitata, or Himalayan flowering dogwood


A flying flower

Translucent white wings
With Blue Salvia in my garden

One with wind
ナツシロギクTanacetum parthenium, or Feverfew

What time is it now?
時計草 meaning clock-plant, Passion flower

Another "passion" or fire in the fields


Bathed in the sun

Bending low

Promise of posterity
Flat seedpods of ルナリア(ゴウダソウ),  Lunaria Annua

Wish you a lovely July!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Tranquility and solitude in the moss garden

Gio-ji Temple, a Shingon Buddhism nunnery, is nestled in deep Sagano, Kyoto. It is a modest thatched hut with a moss garden surrounded by bamboo forests.  The moment you enter the temple, breathtaking moss garden unfolds before your eyes.  Shades of green mosses, ferns, and tall maple trees create Green Paradise.

Tranquility is green here.

The garden was dim after the overnight rainfall which stopped around the noon.
I felt like I was at the bottom of the sea where little light and sound  reach.

People were sparse.
there was silence around me which I broke with my shutter release.

Strolling around or standing still,
breathing in the moist cool breeze,
listening to the sound of tsukubai water,
mind and soul relax.

This patch of moss does not look exactly the same as the next patch.
There are many different species of mosses in the garden. 

Moss thrives in a humid environment,
can survive periods of drought. too.
It will turn brown but  will return to its rich green after watering.

Seasonal flowers bloom not to disturb the green-scape
 but to add a little of color modestly.

"In Heike-monogatari (the Tale of the Heike), there is a story that is related to this temple. A Shirabyoshi dancer Gio was loved by Taira-no-Kiyomori but was jilted when he was enslaved by the beauty of another Shirabyoshi, Hotoke-Gozen. Gio, her sister Ginyo and their mother Toji left Kiyomori and after all they entered a nunnery that was present day Gio-ji. Then, Hotoke-Gozen joined them as she knew that she would be eventually jilted also by heartless Kiyomori. It was when Gio was 21 years old and Hotoke-Gozen was 17. The four women lived here remainder of their life."

At the small thatched hall, wooden statues of Gio, her family, Hotoke-gozen, Taira-no-Kiyomori as well as the principal Buddhist image are enshrined. (Photography is not permitted in the hall.).

Steps to the thatched hut
A round window, Yoshimo-mado(window),  in the next room to the worship hall

"Gio-ji was built in the precinct of Ojo-in temple that was founded by Ryochin who was a disciple of priest Honen, the founder of Jodo-shu sect of Buddhism. The huge temple was dilapidated before long and the present day Gio-ji survived as a tiny nunnery.

In the year 1868, the temple was abandoned and Daikaku-ji took custody of graves and wooden statues of Gio-ji. The head priest of Daikaku-ji lamented over the situation and planned reconstruction of the temple. In the year 1895, Kitagaki Kunimichi, an ex-governor of Kyoto Prefecture, donated one of buildings of his villa that is the present day hall of Gio-ji. Gio-ji is now a sub-temple of Daikaku-ji and belongs to Shingon Buddhism." (Source:here)

The path down from the exit
Going back to the earthly world step by step with peace and serenity...

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Rainbows on earth under overcast skies

Rainy season has set in. It usually runs from early June through mid-July with consecutive cloudy or rainy days occasionally accompanied by thunder and lightning. Hanashobu iris, or Iris ensata var. ensata, starts blooming with the arrival of rainy season.  

"Iris" is from the word "rainbow" in Greek; Iris was the name of the Greek goddess of the rainbow.  From this, I've figured out why the plant "iris" shares the same name with the round colored part of a person's eye.  The iris of the eye was named after her  to reflect the many colors of the eye in reference to a rainbow. The plant “iris” was given the same name probably referring to the wide variety of flower colors found among the many species.

There are many "rainbows" on earth under the leaden skies.

So far, I have displayed the photos of 花菖蒲 Hanashobu, or Iris ensata var. ensata, which grows in the wet land and is the most extensively cultivated variety in Japanese gardens and is the most commonly referred to as “Japanese Iris”.  However, the English term "Japanese iris" encompasses three species of Irises cultivated in gardens or growing wild in Japan: 花菖蒲 hanashōbu (Iris ensata), 杜若 kakitsubata (Iris laevigata) and 菖蒲 ayame (Iris sanguinea), or maybe four species when シャガ Shaga (Iris japonica) is included. 

The image below is Ayame iris which grows in wet meadows, damp forest margins, and or sunny dry banks. It flowers from May to June.

Kakitsubata iris features pale purple-blue flowers at the margin of ponds, lakes, and streams, and flowers from May to June.

This photo is from Memories of Grandmother and kakitsubata iris.
Shaga, Iris japonica, commonly called fringed or Japanese irises, are perennial plants native to China and Japan. They thrive along the edges of forests, on rocky hillsides, and in moist, open grasslands, and so on. They are used as ground cover plants because of their showy evergreen foliage.

Back to Hanashobu irises, they are in full bloom now.
They are more beautiful in the drizzly rain or right after the rain.