Thursday, February 26, 2015

Floral harbinger of spring

When I saw common snowdrops, Galanthus, blooming in profusion, 
the landscape reminded me of the carpets of white in European woodlands I had seen in the photos.
I was captivated by these little white fairies with green markings inside.

Snowdrops also reminded me of a fairy tale,The Month-Brothers, by Samuil Marshak. 
A little girl is ordered to find snowdrops by her cruel stepmother.
The child knows that the spring flowers do not grow in the middle of the winter,
but in the frozen woods she comes upon twelve magical brothers who make the impossible task possible.

I’ve learned from my European blog friends, how snowdrops bring forth hope for spring.
They are among the first to raise their heads from the ground.

In my country, Japanese Narcissus start to flower year-end and continue throughout the winter until spring. 

However, snowdrops to Europeans' heart would be like ume, Prunus mume, or Japanese apricot, to the Japanese heart.
Ume is one of the earliest fragrant bloomers to harbinger spring.  

When you find only one or two ume blossoms in the biting cold, your heart is warmed up.

Buds on the verge of flowering
It feels like weather becomes warmer with each new bloom.

The modest, lovely flowers inspire power of life by surviving through the piercing cold  
and emanating pure fragrance in the midst of winter.

When you see ume blossoms in full bloom at last after a couple of weeks later,
you can't hold back your excitement spring is on its way.

In my garden,  white-eyes have been coming since the time much too early for the ume blossoms
of which nectar they are fond of.
Ume in my garden is blooming soon.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Hints of spring in the north wind

February is the coldest month of the year in Japan.
Different from the warm last Saturday, yesterday was the coldest of the season
with the highest temperature barely 4 degrees Celsius or less in Kansai region.
In some parts of Japan, it has been snowing to heavy amounts, but not here in Nara.
Though I'm chilled to the bone in the raged north wind or in the chilling rain, 
I sense hint of spring here and there.  

Rice straw in Asuka Village
Buds of magnolia are constantly swelling to burst.

Some winter flowers have brightened up pale wintry day.

January 3
The buds of winter-flowering Chimonanthus praecox form. Concolor, or Soshin-robai, 
 flowered and are going to be withered. 

January 31
One day in early February, desolate but simple beauty was seen along the edge of the pond.....

.....while the ducks looked swimming merrily on the green water in the warm sunshine.
The next day, weather turned to the chill again.
"The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. "

Hamamelis japonica (Japanese Witch Hazel in English, Mansaku in Japanese) 
bloom about four weeks from February to March.

Prunus mume (Japanese apricot in English, Ume in Japanese) starts to flower in mid-winter, 
typically around mid-February until early-March.
They will be at their best in two weeks.  
Fragrant scent makes you forget the cold air and fills you with the promise of spring. 

At Nagai Botanical Garden on Feb. 7

F likes to play outdoors.
She braved the cold and tried to catch the wind under the wintry sky before the fluttering of snowflakes.

A crow was perching on a branch with full of buds as if saying.....

Relax, spring is around the corner.

- This post is linked to Our World Tuesday. -

(In response to Barb's comment)
F's kite is here, Barb.
She enjoyed kite-flying after she climbed down the hill.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Evening winter-scape in Nara Park

Weeping-willows at the edge of Ara-ike Pond

Hello, Friends! How have you been enjoying or surviving your winter or summer?
It has been much colder than usual in my part of the world, but I won't be huddled up with the cold.

When I walked around Nara Park toward the sunset time,
 it was the time for deer to graze heavily for supper at the Kasugano Park.

In the meantime the sky would have gotten noisy with the calling of crows heading for one direction.

At the Sagi-ike Pond, the eastern sky was still bright
with the last rays of the sun shining on the trees on the bank.

On the west side, the contrast of light and darkness was sharp.

Rosy clouds and dark trees were floating in the blue pond.

How cute!  Between Sagi-ike Pond and Ara-ike Pond, I saw these deer.

At the Araike-Pond, bare trees of gigantic weeping-willows were silhouetted against the setting sun.
This is one of my favorite winter evening tree-scapes in Nara Park.

This post is linked to Skywatch Friday
Weekend Reflections.