honey suckle

honey suckle



Lycoris radiata is called Higan-bana (彼岸花、this means 'autumnal equinoctial flower') in Japan because it flowers at the autumnal equinoctial week.  However, it starts blooming now this year; quite earlier than usual.  It is native in Japan, and mostly planted beside rice fields, especially  'Tanada' ( this means 'rice fields arranged in a staircase pattern on a very steep slope on a mountain).  It is believed that moles dislike tubes of it and it is useful to prevent water leak from water-filled rice fields.  Yellowish green rice leaves and pure red lycoris flowers really contrast their complementary colors and look so beautiful.

Shot on 23 September 2005 at Yamato town in Saga. 

In our garden, lycoris flowers here and there to tell us the autumn is coming.

In front of the bench

Under plum trees

Lycoris flowers before leaves grow, and this looks as if this is a flower of a hosta in this photo.  



It's raining today.  
Our garden is always wet, and nothing can be done.  Let it be!

Weather of this summer vacation season in Fukuoka area was shown on a local TV yesterday.
Since the last day of July, we had only few sunny days here.



Salvia guaranitica produces long spires of large, deep blue flowers from early-summer to late-autumn in our area.  This is one of our favorite flowers in our garden.
This is, however, a very vigorous perennial plant, and we sometimes need to 'weed' it here and there in our garden.  It grows in a compost yard even after being thrown away.
We prune it two to three times a year after flowering and it flowers again after pruning.

Many kinds of wildlife come to this flowers for nectar; bees, butterflies, moths, and bumblebees.

A bee is sucking nectar from a flower.
A hawk moth is hovering
A bumblebee



Two kinds of lilies are blooming now in our garden.

The first one is 'ginger lily' (Hedychium).  It is not Liliaceae, but Zingiberaceae.
We planted it beyond a rose arch beside a bench.  It has exotic foliage and fragrant spikes of flowers.  It grows almost 180 cm (70 in) tall.

It has very sweet fragrance and we really love it.

Another lily is blooming here and there in our neighbourhood.  It is Lilium formosanum originally imported from Taiwan about a hundred years ago, and it grows wild now in Japan.
It is slender and looks pure.  It is a messenger of autumn.



Pink roses are blooming again in our garden.  They are not so gorgeous compared with those in May, however, they look cute.

Rosa 'Angela' on the arch under rose steps

They are growing toward the sun.  

Rosa 'Mary-rose' beside the rose steps.  

Rosa 'Gertrude Jekyll' on the wall


This evening, a rainbow appeared after a rainfall, and we felt a little bit happiness for a short time because we are tired with too much rainfall this August.



Sweet autumn clematis (センニンソウ Clematis terniflora) has begun to bloom last week in our garden and neighbourhood. It is a native clematis in Japan as well as in other east Asian countries. It usually bears flowers in early September in our area, however, this summer is cooler than usual and it has begun to flower earlier.

Sweet autumn clematis on a lemon-scented teatree (Leptospermum petersonii)

It locates behind the brick wall.  

Four-petaled white flowers with white stamens are so pure and beautiful.  

Another native clematis on a cherry tree.  

At the roadside of our walking course.  

Only one flower of a cultivar clematis ('Shishinden' 紫宸殿) is blooming now at the Rosa Angela in our garden.  



Too much rain fall in this summer we have in Japan.  Moderate rain is essential to plants, but it depends on its duration and volume....


Sometimes I use umbrellas to cover plants against rain.  Peonies and some kinds of roses are particularly susceptible to rain.  Rain bends flower peduncles and hurts flower petals.

We have a bangasa (a Japanese traditional coarse oilpaper umbrella) and plastic umbrellas for our garden.  Handles of umbrellas are tied to or inserted into the posts.

A bangasa for a tree peony (April 2013)

Looking down a peony through the window pane (May 2013)

Herbaceous peonies (May 2013)

Herbaceous peonies (May 2014)

Herbaceous peonies (May 2014)

Stacys byzantina (May 2013)

Plastic umbrellas for roses (June 2012)



Last Saturday evening, We went to Hakataza in Fukuoka City.  Hakataza is a theater reception center equipped to handle a multitude of musical programs including kabuki, musicals, Takarazuka Revue and new dramas as a genuine performance exhibition theater.  It was an hour drive from our house.

The entrance of Hakataza

Leading actors and actresses (double casts)

We saw a musical “Lady Bess,” by the world-renowned team of German writer Michael Kunze and Hungarian composer Sylvester Levay, with famed hit-maker Shuichiro Koike directing.
We really enjoyed the musical :-)

An introduction according to the article of 'The Japan Times'...

Considering the play is based on the life of Elizabeth I, the Queen of England from 1558-1603, before she was crowned at the tender age of 25, it’s exciting to imagine just how her astonishing tale might be staged. After all, when she was just 2½, her mother, Anne Boleyn, was beheaded by order of King Henry VIII, her husband and Elizabeth’s father, who then had their marriage annulled — which led to the girl being declared shamefully illegitimate. Then, with religious strife wracking the nation, Elizabeth’s own Catholic half-sister, Queen Mary I — who is notorious for having Protestants like Elizabeth burned at the stake — had her imprisoned for nearly a year.

Already four musicals by Kunze and Levay have been performed in Japan, with one in particular, “Elisabeth,” about the wife of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, a major hit. After its Vienna premier in 1992, directed by Harry Kupfer, the show — in which the character Death plays a key role — was staged here in 1996 by the all-female Takarazuka Revue before being taken up, with a mixed cast, by the Tokyo-based Toho company. The former version has currently been performed 799 times, and the latter 1,067 times — with Koike directing both productions.

When I asked Kunze, 70, and 68-year-old Levay why they chose Elizabeth — one of whose nicknames as monarch was “Good Queen Bess” — as their subject this time, Kunze replied. “Well, the reason she brought glory to England is connected to the kind of wisdom that is needed even today. We want to show that if a talented woman can gain power, she can change the world.

“In the 16th century, the tolerance and open-mindedness to not force a religion on the citizens was a common sense Bess had acquired to avoid conflict and discrimination.”

In terms of his score, Levay explained, “I included Celtic music to evoke the atmosphere of the time and the region, though I wove in modern elements — just as Kunze, to create an image of a person that resonates with people today, didn’t stick strictly to history. So our goal was to create a stage with universality.”

As a result, the cast features both real characters and fictional ones such as Robin, a minstrel Bess falls in love with who seems to embody the exciting spirit of this era with its great voyages of discovery and the likes of William Shakespeare reshaping English culture.

“The free-spirited Robin is an artist who follows his heart. When Bess, then heir to the throne, meets him, he represents to her a different set of values from any she’s known. Of the characters in this work, he’s the one I’d like to become,” Kunze adds with a laugh. To which Levay dryly responds: “I’d like to be Robin’s best friend!”......

→ Official trailer (YouTube)



Yesterday I harvested 1 kg prunes.
     Marple was discharged from the hospital yesterday afternoon, and she made prune and red wine compote.

     We have two prune trees in our garden.  We planted one besides plum trees at the beginning of the garden.  Another one has grown spontaneously, and when I found the tree about eight years ago, I didn't know what it was.  The tree we planted bore the first few fruit last year.

     This April, both trees flowered at the same time, and the flowers were so similar, and therefore, I thought they were the same trees and I pollinated them.  This unknown tree bore many prunes for the first time after several weeks, and it proved to be a prune tree.
It is mystery where this prune come from.  Nobody planted it. Someone might have thrown a seed after eating it raw.

     Prune is a tall deciduous tree of the rose family, a species of plum. Among these species, especially those which have fruits that are purplish-colored and edible as dry fruit in particular, are called 'Prune'.
Prune tree exceeds a height of 5meters, has a beautiful spread of branches and white flowers resembling those of the plum trees. Prune is said not to self-pollinate, and bears fruit with bees acting as intermediaries. I pollinated them and that may be why they came into bearing for the first time this year.

A spontaneously grown prune tree.  

Marple made prune compote with red wine.

I tasted it immediately with vanilla ice cream.  That's fantastic!



Today I have made cuttings of boxwood, ivy and Lantana montevidensis.
Box (Buxus sempervirens) had not been so common in private gardens of Japan, however,  recently it's becoming popular.  I had planted it in the kitchen garden, and I read about box cuttings in the book 'Gardening at Longmeadow' written by Monty Don which I bought several months ago.  That is a quite interesting book.  He wrote gardening of every month from January to December at his gardens at Longmeadow, England. I felt an affinity with him because he is about my own age.

Cuttings of box, ivy and lantana in small containers

Watering before sticking into containers
I really like box because of its beautiful light green color and tolerance to insufficient sunshine.

Boxwood in the kitchen garden

I bought Monty Don's 'Gardening at Longmeadow' last December via Amazon.  Now we can buy almost foreign books online.  It is very convenient, isn't it?

An article about box cuttings.  It's well illustrated and easy to understand.

Ivy is another evergreen ornamental plant, and it has a many varieties of colors.  I read about ivy cuttings in the August issue of Gardeners World.

An article in August issue of Gardeners World.  

In addition to two plants above, I made lantana cuttings.  This Lantana montevidensis in our garden was brought up from a cutting.  In this summer, it flowers less than usual because of unusual weather; more rain and less sunshine.