honey suckle

honey suckle



Prince William is now visiting our country.  This is his first visit and we really welcome His  Highness.

(This is yesterday's TV news on NHK.  )


A POPULAR GARDENER the late GEOFF HAMILTON (人気ガーデナーのジェフ・ハミルトン)

I have learnt the late Geoff Hamilton from a comment of a blog which is written by a Japanese woman who have been living in UK.  He was the popular English gardener, broadcaster and author, and best known as a presenter of BBC television's Gardeners' World in the 1980s and '90s.

On her advice, I bought his two second-hand books; 'Geoff Hamilton's COTTAGE GARDENS' and 'THE ORNAMENTAL KITCHEN GARDEN.'  These books were published in the '90s, and based on a BBC television gardening series; 'The Cottage Garden' and 'The Ornamental Kitchen Garden'.  The books were so interesting for me because he showed many ideas of small garden plans and how to make garden features less expensively.

 And, he was a committed and informed early advocate of the organic approach to gardening.  In 'THE ORNAMENTAL KITCHEN GARDEN', he showed how to grow flowers, vegetables, herbs and fruit trees together in the same bed to manage pests and diseases without chemicals, and he considered that ornamental beauty of kitchen gardens is also essential.




I had read the books here and there and they were so interesting, so I decided to translate the latter ''THE ORNAMENTAL KITCHEN GARDEN' into Japanese.


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Hereborus flowers are now fully bloomed here and there in our garden.
We can look at many signs of coming spring such as enlarging flower buds of cherry, plum and blueberry.  In the potager, I have found spears of asparagus for the first time this year.
February is going and March will soon come, and we can look at vigorous regeneration of plants and wildlife again.  I do really love March and April.


Next five pictures were taken under plum trees.


This photo was taken at the entrance of our garden, where snow drops have been blooming.


The last photo was taken at the shady slope garden.


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There are three arches and one arbour for roses in our main garden.  I had made an arch and an arbour with reinforcing iron rods. Last weekend, I pruned and trained roses of them.  The weather was not suitable for gardening because it cold and cloudy with some showers.


Rosa 'Pierre De Ronsard' was trained on the upper arch.

Rosa 'Angela' was trained on the lower arch.

Rosa 'Snow Goose' trained on the arbour in front of the Lutyens bench.

Rosa 'Francois Juranville' on the arch beside the brick wall.
After pruning and training, roses are now ready to welcome spring.

The two arches at the both end of steps.

The self-made rose arbour at the front of the bench.

The rose arbour and the rose arch. Yellow flower buds of mimosa are growing.

The pictures below were shot in the middle of May when we opened our garden for charity.  You can look at the arches with rose flowers.  We are opening this year, too.  I will write the schedule of open garden on this blog in the next few weeks.


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SNAP PEAs (スナップエンドウ)

At a fence of the potager, snap peas has started to flower and small beans are growing.  It is still cold now and active growth is still later on.  We are eagerly looking forward to spring.

(ポタジェのフェンスではスナップエンドウが花を咲かせ始め、小さな実が成長しています。まだまだ寒いので、ぐんぐん成長成長するのはまだ先のことです。 春が本当に待たれますね。)

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At the end of February, we are going to plant seed potatoes in two triangular beds of the potager.  So, we have prepared the beds for it.

At first, we dug out Swiss chard, lettuce and cauliflower by using two shovels, and re-planted them into felt-made containers.  Then, soil in the beds was sieved to remove remnants of veg, such as roots, and larvae of insects.

Finally, we added lime to the soil and mixed.  This concludes preparing soil in beds.

Another preparation is chitting seed potatoes to sprout before planting.  We already bought seed potatoes with sprouting buds.  So, we are ready to plant potatoes!





There were vegs planted in the two triangular beds. 

Digging up Swiss chard

Digging up cauliflower 

Re-planting cauliflower into a felt container

Felt containers filled with Swiss chard

Swiss chard is a biennial, meaning it will grow back a second year and then set seed. It’s not neccessary to pull it out the first year as it will come back.  

Sieving the soil

Added lime, and mixed

Two triangular beds ready for planting potatoes

We planted  'Kita Akari' and 'Grand Pechka' last year.  We'll challenge 'Haruka' this time.


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We have many climbing roses in our garden, and roses of the brick wall may be the most stunning, I gather.  You can look at the pictures in last May here.

The best season for pruning roses has come to our area.  If they are pruned too early, they put out their buds earlier and new leaves are susceptible to be damaged by the late frost.  In addition to this, we must also start measures to prevent fungal diseases early.

Last Sunday  was a warm (highest 13 degrees Celsius) and brightly cloudy day.  We pruned and trained climbing roses of the brick wall.  We started from left side of the wall, in front of which a Lutyens bench had been placed (the design that was created by the English renowned architect Sir Edwin Lutyens over 100 years ago).  We started to remove dead, diseased or dying branches.  Then we untied all branches from the wires fixed to the wall, and trained and tied branches one by one to the wires, considering the whole balance of branches and imagining how they bloom in early summer.


Before pruning and training the left part of the wall

Before pruning and training the right part

Pruning and training Rosa 'Francois Juranville' on a stepladder

It took three hours to prune and train roses of the left half of the wall.  They include three pink roses; 'Constance Spry', 'Gertrude Jekyll' and 'Francois Juranville'.  Rosa  'Constance Spry' was planted on the left of the bench, and Rosa 'Gertrude Jekyll' on the right.  Rosa 'Francois Juranville' was trained over the wall.  You would be surrounded by scent of roses when you sit on the bench in the season of rose flowers, and you can definitely spend a splendid time there.


Looking down the brick wall at noon from the window
In the afternoon, we finished the right half of the wall.  There are four varieties of roses.  They are 'Teasing Georgia', 'Pat Austin' and 'Crown Princess Margareta', from left to right, and another one is 'Paul's Himalayan Musk' over the wall.

After pruning and training

After pruning and training roses, in addition to pruning a conifer in a container

All of the branches and leaves removed 

Next time we are planning to prune and train climbing roses on four metal arches.


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In June 2014, I visited a beautiful private garden at the south foot of Mt. Yatugatake, 20 kilometers north-east of the South Alps (including Mt. Kitadake which is the second highest mountain in Japan) , and 50 kilometers north-west of Mt. Fuji, .  The area is surrounded by these beautiful mountains, and very popular place for sight seeing and one of the most popular summer resorts in East Japan.  There are so many country cottages, too.

The yellow X indicates the south foot of Mt. Yatugatake

This photography was posted lately by the owner of the cottage on the  on-line photogallary of Bises (Japanese Gardening Magazine) with a caption that 'Living at the south foot of Mt. Yatugatake; From happy days to struggling days with Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism'.  What happened to him?

(この写真はガーデニング雑誌ビズのホームページにあるフォトギャラリーにコテージの持ち主により投稿されたもので、「八ヶ岳南麓に住んで: 幸せだった生活が戦いの日々へ、国土交通省とガーデナー?との戦い」という説明が書かれています。いったい彼に何が起こったのでしょうか?)

He had been devoting his life to making a beautiful English garden at the cottage with her wife.  I was really surprised with the stunning garden when I visited there.  At that time, he told me that the new motorway was planning, which might run in the vicinity of his cottage.  He was worrying about it.  And a month after my visit, the rough route of the motor way was determined.  The route was close to his cottage.

The lost landscape will never recover.  Is it really worth while to make a motorway by destroying the beautiful landscape?
I sympathize with his sorrow, and I wish he regain his passion to gardening.


(失われた景観は決してよみがえることはありません。美しい景観を壊してまで、高速道路を建設する意味があるのでしょうか? 私は彼の悲しみに共感し、彼が再び熱意をもってガーデニングに取り組めるようになることを祈ります。)

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