“Robai (蝋梅)," Japanese allspice, or fragrant wintersweet, is one of few flowers which bloom outside in the time of freezing cold. Robai means "affection （慈愛）” in the language of flowers. I do love their lovely shapes and their soft, tender yellow petals in bloom braving the cold.
|The last kan-botan and shelter made of straw|
Now "kan-botan" (literally meaning "peonies in the cold"), which is winter-flowering one of remontant peonies and is not so gorgeous-looking as spring-flowering one, are gone. Only the shelters made of straw to protect peonies from frost and snow remain in the landscape.
You could learn the difference between the two kinds of winter-flowering peonies, kan-botan and fuyu-botan, here (pictures and Japanese explanation) if you are interested.
My eyes were caught by red flowers beyond the tunnel. By the way, do you notice that ceiling and left wall are covered with bamboo?
The red flowers are sasanqua camellia.
Another sasanqua camellia
This is about 300-year-old crape myrtle, or an Indian lilac. The thick gnarled trunk with stretching branches reminds me of well-muscled giant sustaining the whole life together with roots. Not only this tree but also other winter bare trees are shining in the cold, exposing trunks and branches proudly.
This is Sekko-ji Temple seen from outside. Right tree by the gate is that old crape myrtle: left one is old cheery tree. Imagining how they would bloom in summer and in spring respectively fills my heart with pleasure.
Spring is not far away!