Thursday 29 November 2012

Tulip Trenches

Brrrrr, today was a cold one.  It’s great to get back in the garden again and see some blue sky after all the recent rain.  A beautiful crisp early morning and the full moon was still out when I started work.  The garden looks decidedly wintry with all the fallen leaves and bare trees.  A rather chilly water trough in the garden looked gorgeous this morning as the drips from an overhead outbuilding splashed into it, so I couldn't resist a picture or two.

The soil is heavier than I’d like at the moment but I must get the remainder of my tulip bulbs in for next spring. We have also had a few frosts now which reassures me, when planting tulips, that hopefully, I can avoid any potential problems of ‘tulip fire blight’ which thrives in wet warm conditions.

I love planting tulip bulbs, not so much the physical digging of many a trench for 100s of bulbs, but picturing the little beauties in spring as I plant different varieties.  I have the usual suspects that I love this year, Ballerina, Rococo, West Point, Angelique to name but a few.  I also always add a few new ones each year to my inventory and this year I have added the luscious, sexy, deep red, lily flowering, ‘Lasting Love’ and the double, ‘Lilac Perfection’.

I plant my bulbs much closer together for the cutting garden than would be advised in a conventional garden setting this still produces plenty of blooms and foilage.


Planting tulip bulbs feels such a refreshingly different experience for a cut flower grower, who, for much of the year, focuses on successional sowings of tiny annual seeds.  Of course I love the tiny seeds but nothing beats the satisfaction of planting juicy tulip bulbs full of promise for next spring.

Now back to some more trench digging!

Monday 26 November 2012

More from Beautiful Kyoto

Just a few more images from Kyoto just because there are so many beautiful sights to share!

I love the detail of this temple lantern with grapevine and parrots

The gorgeous Japanese Umbrella Pine

On my last day I even managed to find time to 'ForageFor' a few vintage flower items at Toji temple flea market.

A stallholder selling cut seasonal Umbrella Pine and winter flowering cherry blossom, they were going like hot cakes!

Indigo dyed textiles

Perhaps the 'Cliff Richard' of Japan?

I couldn't resist this beautiful antique Japanese hair clip in its gorgeous original box

And finally a couple of signs seen along the way that brought a smile to my face.  I'm not sure if the first one is a mis-translation or not but life certainly does feel like this sometimes.  The second one, I think, is informing the public what to do if a dog starts a fire?

Saturday 24 November 2012

Lost in Translation (in technicolour in Kyoto)

Visiting Japan last week feels like I have now had two autumns in one year.  The autumn colour in Japan starts just that bit later than England.  Consequently, I had all the gorgeous autumn colour here in England and then as it started to fade, I arrived in Japan for the full on peak autumn colour there.  The Japanese maples and gingko were in full colour change mode, spectacular.

Autumn Colours

Around Osaka Castle

And then the beautiful temples and gardens in Kyoto


The chrysanthemums were also in full swing with large displays in temple grounds and edible blooms for sale in food halls. 

The potted chrysanths displayed in Nishi Hongan-ji temple in Kyoto had the most gigantic blousy blooms the size of a small head. Mad and beautiful at the same time. I knew great care had been taken to get them to this size and quality but I found myself contemplating them as cut flowers which brought a smile to my face.  How would I use them as a cut flower? In bouquets? Perhaps as a single flower as one would use a hydrangea bloom? I could use a large number of different white blooms individually floated in a variety of vintage glass comports and cake stands at different heights on a large table for a wedding? The white spider ‘Fantasy Chrysanthemums’ with some delicate gypsophila in a bunch? But really I just wanted to touch and handle them, good job I had no cutting implements with me for temptations sake.

'Hardy mums'

From big and blousy to tall and thin.

There were even some gorgeous cute ‘bonsai’ chrysanths on display I have never seen a chrysanth 'bonsai-ed' before!

This one had it's stems trained up the crevices of a rock!

Mmmm! Boxes of fresh chrysanth flowers for sale in the food markets.

Some other Kyoto Gardens full of inspiration

Not sure what this tiny purple berry is but I would love it in my garden.