honey suckle

honey suckle


BIRDS IN THE GARDEN (メジロとジョウビタキ)

I found a bird at a persimmon tree in the evening.  The bird, a Japanese white-eye, was eating a persimmon that is the last one left on the tree.  I took pictures because it was so cute.

The Japanese white-eye (Zosterops japonicus, Mejiro) is olive green on its back and is pale green on its underside.   It has a green forehead and a yellow throat.  Its wings are dark brown, but outlined in green.  It exhibits the distinctive white eyering that gives it its name (mejiro also meaning "white eye" in Japanese). Adults range from 4 to 4.5 inches in length, and weigh between 9.75 and 12.75 grams.  It is very popular in Japan.

The persimmon tree with only one fruit.

It is stretching its neck to eat persimmon.  

Another bird came to our garden in that evening.  It was a Daurian redstart (Phoenicurus auroreus Pallas).  It often visit our garden in winter.  It has an outstanding large white wing patch.  Its song is also characteristic and we can easily recognize it.

On a branch of Rosa 'Paul's Himalayan Musk'
On a net frame bar at blueberry trees
It is a fun to look at wild birds when we are in our garden.  They are cute and their songs make us calm.

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"Penelope Taberner Cameron is a solitary and a sickly child, a reader and a dreamer. Her mother, indeed, is of the opinion that the girl has grown all too attached to the products of her imagination and decides to send her away from London for a restorative dose of fresh country air. But staying at Thackers, in remote Derbyshire, Penelope is soon caught up in a new mystery, as she finds herself transported at unforeseeable intervals back and forth from modern to Elizabethan times. There she becomes part of a remarkable family that is, Penelope realizes, in terrible danger as they plot to free Mary, Queen of Scots, from the prison in which Queen Elizabeth has confined her.

Penelope knows the tragic end that awaits the Scottish queen but she can neither change the course of events nor persuade her new family of the hopelessness of their cause, which love, loyalty, and justice all compel them to embrace. Caught between present and past, Penelope is ever more torn by questions of freedom and fate. To travel in time, Penelope discovers, is to be very much alone. And yet the slow recurrent rhythms of the natural world, beautifully captured by Alison Uttley, also speak of a greater ongoing life that transcends the passage of years."
(quoted from New York Review Books) 

Alison Uttley (1884–1976) , the author of this novel, was born Alice Jane Taylor in Derbyshire, England, into a tenant-farming family that had lived on the same land for two hundred years. By the end of her life, Uttley had written some one hundred books of fiction and nonfiction and become one of twentieth-century Britain’s most popular children’s writers. 

I found an introductory article of this novel in the Japanese gardening magazine 'Bises' several years ago.  It was introduced as a novel with many descriptions about gardening at Elizabethan time.  The article interested me and I bought one copy of the novel translated in Japanese a couple of years ago.  

It was very easy to read.  Country life and gardening in the Elizabethan time, as well as the history about Mary, Queen of Scots, and Queen Elizabeth I were so interesting.  

Now, I am trying to read the novel in English, however, I am struggling with many special words that I don't know.  

 私は、花壇をめぐる、迷路のようにいりくんだ細道をあっちこっちへと歩きました。ツゲの生け垣で一つ一つ区切られたたくさんの花壇は、もうすぐ花々で美しくかがやこうとしていました。青白いスズランと血のように赤いプリムラはもう咲いていて、庭のむこうの石の台にならんだ巣からきたミツバチが、ぶんぶん飛びまわっていました。背の高いオレンジ色の百合は青銅でできているように見えるつぼみをつけて、花壇を守る兵士のように立っていて、その上を青いツバメがすいすい飛んでいました。・・・」 (松野正子 訳)

"...So I gathered the pungent grey-green herbs which grew on many small bushes in the Thackers herb patch where I had been before, and I sniffed the strong, clean smells which were those which permeated the Thackers kitchen, where bunches hung from the beams and walls.  As I filled my large basket with the sprays and leaves I looked round at the flowers in surprise, for although my  Aunt Tissie's garden had many abloom as I knew very well, for I went there every day for a posy, this garden was more carefully tended, and lay in straight lines and squares like a patterned quilt.  There were the same small daffodils, which my aunt called "daffodown-dillies" growing in masses by the walls, and white violets in snowdrifts filling the crannies of the path.  Gillyvers striped and yellow sprung from the mossy walls, where a cat crouched eyeing me balefully.  The beds were bordered with little low hedges of box, smooth as green walls, cut into trim shapes like the hedge.  There were bushes of Lad's-Love which sent out their rich fragrance, and lanes of lavender, and clumps of spraying rosemary, with many a rose-tree frowing alongside, already in full leaf.
 I wandered about on the narrow paths which led e in amaze in and out and round about a dozen flower-beds which would soon be ablaze, each one bounded by the box hedge.  Pale lilies-of-the-valley and blood-red primulas were out with bees hovering round them from the straw skeps perched on stone stools farther up the garden.  Tall orang lilies, bronze-budded, stood like soldiers guarding them, and overhead darted the blue swallows...."

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Sometimes I walk up to a Shinto shrine near my place of work.  The shrine is surrounded by woods, and it has a solemn atmosphere, which I love.

When I visited there last week, I noticed a terrible smell like dung at stairs.  As I walked up, the smell had become stronger, and at last I found gingko fruits on the ground.

A Shinto shrine at the top of the stairs.  

The cryptomeria forest around the shrine

A shrine guarded by a pair of stone‐carved guardian dogs.

A huge gingko tree beside a shrine. 

Innumerable gingko fruits under the huge gingko tree.  

Gingko fruits
Gingko nuts are within gingko fruits.  Pulp of gingko fruits stinks, however, nuts are so delicious.  The nuts are usually toasted to eat.  Gingko yakitori is my favorite.  Gingko nuts are also used as one of ingredients of a Japanese dish "Chawan-Mushi', that is a savory steamed egg custard with assorted ingredients.  

Gingko nuts

Yellowish green gingko yakitori

A yellow gingko nut in Japanese dish 'Chawan Mushi'

Because of its awful smell, female plants of gingko are not suitable for roadside trees.  In order to eat the nuts, we must remove pulp with our nostrils closed!?

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crick to English Garden in Japanese blog village



Nice weather is continuing, and it is still sunny this morning.  It is warmer than usual in the daytime.  This must be a Indian summer.

Rosa 'Angela' and leaves of lycoris

Purple flowers of Lantana montevidensis

Acer palmatum and Camellia sasanqua

Rose geranium, cherry sage and borage in a herb bed

Benthamidia japonica

Oxalis flowers are still sleeping

Leaves of blueberry has begun to change their colour

Most of leaves of the climbing roses have fallen

The bench

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Fatsia japonica is a native plant here.  It has a large leaves sharply split into seven to nine segments; it is called 'Yatsude' in Japanese which means 'eight hand'.  The leaves are dark and glossy even in winter.  In autumn, it blooms large branching heads of tiny white flowers, gathering into spheres.  White spheres look gorgeous in contrast with green leaves.  In winter, the flowers give way to clusters of black berries...

Blue sky and white flowers

Fat buds of flowers

Sphere shape of flowers in full bloom

Fatsia japonica is ornamental and I love it.

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It was a really nice day today; a calm, sunny and warm weather.  Morning sunshine was so bright, reflecting on the surface of the sea.

Pink Camellia sasanqua has started to bloom.  White flowers of Oxalis are closed at night, and still sleeping.  As the sun  rise, plants in the garden start to shine and wake up.

Beautiful morning it was, today!

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Late November is the best season of autumn colours in our area.  Pictures below were shot in our garden and neighbourhood.

At the center of  our garden, Benthamidia japonica has grown so high.  It is extremely showy when in bloom, but what appear to be four-petalled white flowers are actually bracts spread open below the cluster of inconspicuous yellow-green flowers. The fruit is a spherical pink to red compound berry 2–3 cm in diameter, and is edible, a sweet and delicious addition to the tree's ornamental value. Its leaves shows beautiful red autumn color.

Benthamidia japonica

Trachelospermum asiaticum in front of the brick wall
Every weekday morning, we take a walk up to the hill top and then down to our kitchen garden.  There are so many beautiful autumn colors along the route.

Miscanthus sinensis
Acer palmatum is the most popular in Japanese gardens because of its beautiful green leaves in spring and summer, and especially its stunning red colour in autumn.
Acer palmatum

Enkianthus perulatus is popular as a hedge plant, because of not only the small white bell-shaped flowers in spring but beautiful autumn colour.

Mt Kaya and Enkianthus perulatus

Leaves of Japanese ivy become yellow at first and pure red at last.
Japanese Ivy and the Hikitsu Bay
Triadica sebifera is common and popular in parks and streets.  Contrast of red leaves and white berries is beautiful in autumn.
 Triadica sebifera
Toxicodendron succedaneum is native in Japan, and its fruits are utilized for making Japanese candles.  Its red color of the leaves is remarkably pure.
Toxicodendron succedaneum

Clerodendrum trichotomum is a native shrub, growing 3–6 metres. Its berries are ornamental.

Berries of Clerodendrum trichotomum


On weekends, we often stay in our garden, and if the climate is calm, we enjoy reading books/magazines and drinking tea.

Blue purple flowers of Melastomataceae are blooming now.

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