Thursday, April 25, 2013

Friendship Blossoms of 花水木 Flowering Dogwood

Every year, Hanamizuki (花水木), Dogwood, or Bathmat florida, comes to bloom in response to the stillness after cherry blossom front passes over with floral blizzard.  This year, cherry trees bloomed much earlier than usual, so did dogwoods accordingly, and the season of dogwood blossoms, which usually last through the Golden Week, has already passed its peak. 

Flowering dogwood is a symbolic tree of friendship between the United States and Japan.  Seedlings of white dogwood was presented to Tokyo from Washington DC in 1915 in return of 3000 cherry tree saplings  presented by Tokyo Mayer to Washington DC back in 1912.  And in 2012, 100 years after the gift of cherry trees to Washington, 3000 dogwoods were presented to Japanese People from American People.

Dogwood is native to North America.  Since it looks like Japanese Yamaboshi, Benthamidia japonica, it is also called America Yamaboshi in Japan.


Total number of cherry trees is by far more numerous than dogwood trees all over Japan, but in my vicinity, almost every home seems to have one or two dogwoods in the garden. It is such a popular tree as an ornamental tree in the residential area, park, school campus, or public facilities.

I enjoyed walking through the dogwood flowers and other plants in season at Umami Hills Park last Sunday.

Camellia is almost over.

Dandelions, white clovers, and other grasses of unknown names, cover the slopes of burial mounds.

Dwarf azaleas are almost in full bloom.

layers of pink and white blossoms

Sky-blue flowers, Nemophila, look smiling while looking up at the sky.

Does this shape look like frog, cat, or heart?
I felt like that my heart was filled with fresh green essence.

The colors of the mountains are special to this season.

Dogwood blossoms in this post are all past the peak and petals are hurt by the rain storm of the previous night, but still they retain beauty of its own stage, don't they?

The song "Hanamizuki" by Hitoto Yo was written as a requiem right after the September 11 terrorist incident.  No matter when or where the tragedy happens, the pain and agony of losing someone is something any one can relate to.  The original lyrics sung at the live was very long including direct references to September 11 but Hitoto Yo editted it down to the shorter and abstruct when she recorded it. 

The song is about the love of the father killed by the incident to his very young daughter. He wants that his sacrifice will lead to the peace of the world, the wave of anger, revenge, regret, and sadness will stop foever, and his daughter will saty positive and live long and happy with her loved ones. 

English translation by Brian Stewart & Takako Sakuma, here

cf:  "Water's edge" in the lyrics is the Sanzu River, a legendary river between Life and Death.


  1. Oh, pretty, pretty flowers. Dogwood is a stunning flower and I love the rich pink. We have Dogrose in England. I wonder if they are they are from the same plant family. Always great to visit you and view the trees and flowers in Japan. The spring blossom is always captivating!

  2. The name Dogwood doesn't really reflect the beauty of the blossom - I do love those sky blue flowers of Nemophila. Our blossom still has yet to reach its full potential.

  3. Beautiful post, stardust. To me the 2012 gift of 3000 dogwoods are a reminder that once warring nations can become great friends who enjoy exchanging gifts and are at peace. I particular liked the white dogwood with the pointed petals that look like stars and are native to Japan. The dogwood also happens to be the floral emblem in my province of BC in Canada. :)

  4. Gorgeous pictures from gorgeous place and flowers !
    Heaven in Earth !
    Have a nice day !

  5. I am enjoying your walks almost as if I was there with you. The layered blossoms form a canopy overhead. Long ago, I was in Washington DC when the cherry blossoms bloomed. I still remember their beauty.

  6. Son unas fotografías preciosas. Es la apología perfecta de la primavera, explosión y colorido.

  7. Wow! Beautiful flowers and nature! I especially like the photo of the raven(?). You make me want to go to Japan!
    Enjoy a happy day :)

  8. I didn't know dogwood trees though we might have a few around here. I'll try to pay more attention on my next walk! However, it has a very beautiful inflorescence in which I see a combination of cosmos and white magnolia.
    Nemophila is also lovely, so cheerful, like a baby face smiling back to you with his/her entire being. And the wooden frogs bears written Miyazaki's "Spirited away" all over it!

    I like the idea of befriended people, the more so as very different cultures, and I only wish a single sacrifice would suffice to bring peace all over the world as this lovely song suggests. If it were so, the world would already be an extraordinary place to live in. Unfortunately, when after an event like that one hears "we will hunt them down and punish them" (which makes sense up to some extent)and sees the horrible results of such a hunting, can only doubt the image of democracy-bringer and civilisation-creator America is struggling to fabricate for herself. I will only say that democracy and civilisation doesn't mean throwing countries in chaos and supporting civil wars every time it's convenient for you.

    I wish someday we would learn the lesson of beauty, compassion and humbleness Nature, our Planet in general, is patiently offering with every passing season, with every passing year...

  9. I love the dogwood tree, but what an ugly name! I prefer the Japanese name. And thanks for the Hanamizuki video. In pain and suffering, but also in joy, humans beings discover their similarities. Witness your blog where people from all over enjoy your writing and photos. In the face of such beauty, does nationality even matter?

  10. ハナミズキは公園だけでなく、あちらこちらの家の庭にも沢山咲いているのでこの時期はぶらりと出かけても気楽に長く楽しめますよね。美しい歌ですね。すこしでも被災者の慰めになることを願います。

  11. ハナミズキと桜のそんな歴史があったのですね。そういえばアメリカハナミズキっていいますものね。やっぱり、うちの庭にもハナミズキの花が今盛りです。思い切り窓よりに植えてるので、夏はいい日よけになりますし、ヒヨが巣をつくった事もあります。冬は葉が落ちて太陽がさしこみます。我が家にとっては、とても重宝な木です。

  12. Gorgeous pictures, Yoko! The dogwood tree blossoms are beautiful. But my favorites are the smiling sky blue flowers of them all and the window through your heart. The song towards the end is very heartwarming and gives out a much required message of hope and positivity, in todays chaotic world.

    Wish you wonderful days ahead, Yoko. :)

  13. They are really beautiful. There is also dogwood in my garden. The tree will bloom soon. The flowers are pure white.

  14. ハナミズキ、とっても素敵に撮れています。我が家の庭も今、百花繚乱の趣ですが、ハナミズキも最後の輝きです。
    " the pain of losing someone is something any one can relate to. By loving someone, we spread the love across the world and hopefully towards peace." 愛の力って、ほんとにすごいですよね。これを読むだけで、温かい気持ちになれます。とてもシンプルな事なのに・・・

  15. The color of the petals is very profound.
    A refreshing season has come.

    I thank for your usual visit.

  16. 花水木、水木、美しい響きですね。家には残念ながらありませんがご近所の花を楽しませてもらっています。ずっと以前4月に訪れたヨセミテの野生趣に満ちた大木の花は忘れられません。

  17. stardustさん、こんにちわ。



  18. ハナミズキ、とてもきれいですね。こちらでもあちこち咲いています。私はこの記事の写真のようなピンクと薄紅がさしたハナミズキが一番好きです。ハナミズキが咲くと、春本番といった感じですね。

  19. Beautiful photos. I've never seen a pink flowered dogwood tree. I have the white kind.

  20. Wonderful Yoko, thank you so much for this heartfelt post!
    I remember white dogwood trees from our stay in America, but I never saw those pink ones.
    I listened to the beautiful song - presented in such a magnificent surrounding of lush nature.

  21. There's so much more to Japan than just cherry blossoms.

    The dogwoods are beautiful, but in this particular post my heart belongs to Nemophila. It's a gorgeous colour.

    PS: The flowers are confused this year. Here in Tokyo, everything is either early or late. It makes flower-hunting quite unpredictable. ^^

  22. Colori pieni di vivacità e bellezza...complimenti!


  23. What a gorgeous post. And powerful. Dogwoods are among my favorite trees and we have many of them here in Central Florida. They add so much color, I wish they would bloom all year long! Once again, your photography is exquisite as your pictures bring to light nature's beauty!

    And the song! She is a strong singer and those lyrics go right to the heart. The song reminded me of one I wrote about a father whose daughter was dying. It was titled "Anytime You Call," and as she slips away he promises to be with her anytime she calls.

    Thank you for your most kind words about my poetry. You amaze me for you always seem to "get it!"

    May the coming week be filled with love and peace and happiness.

  24. i do believe i love the dogwoods better than cherry blossoms. so gorgeous. i liked those 2 cute frog carvings, too. made me smile.

  25. こんばんは。とても美しいです。英語名より日本語の花水木はとても素敵な名前ですね。


  26. Such beautiful images of those dogwoods, thank you for sharing them, I've never seen such beautiful blooms in such a quantity :)

  27. Pięknie kolorowo jest teraz u Was. Dereń jest cudny teraz jak i widok na przedostatnim zdjeciu. Pozdrawiam serdecznie.
    Beautifully colored is now in you. Dogwood is wonderful now and view the penultimate picture. Yours sincerely.

  28. Such beautiful spring colours... it's still cold here in Toronto!

  29. If only we could learn from tragedy... These flowers are beautiful. We don't have them here. It must be spectacular to walk among all the blossoming trees.

  30. These shots are like beautiful poems.


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