Archive for November, 2009


Lotuses and orchids

This post is a “filler” to publish photos of some great flowers that I saw at the Botanical Park called Banana Vani-en in Izu Peninsula, Japan, and share them with you. The Botanical Park hosted some wonderful specimens of tropical plants. I was most impressed by lotuses and orchids and had a field day clicking them. Check out the last photo of this post too – I’d like to know the name of the plant and need your assistance. I have a chart identifying most of the lotuses that I have shown here – so ask for the names if you need them. Here are the orchids first:








Now here are the lotuses:






I felt a great sense of peace and happiness in the botanical park and wished I could have spent some more time! Needless to say, I was the last visitor to pass out of the gates of the park!

Finally, here’s an extraordinary plant with a purple flower that seemed to be growing from the tip of a pink leaf. Can you identify the flower?

pink leaf with flower on tip

Have a great day!

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my winter garden

My visit to India for two months from August to October threw awry the plans for planting seeds for autumn and winter.  This year’s offerings are a little unplanned, but sometimes such plans turn out to be just wonderful.

Christmas cactus

Christmas cactus this year (see photo below for comparison)

Firstly, the Christmas Cactus did not disappoint me this year too. They are in full bloom now.

Christmas Cactus last year

Christmas Cactus last year behind our cat who insisted on showing up on camera!

On comparison, this year has a lot many blooms and looks fuller this year.

The camelias are doing very well bordering the edge of our parking lot as the photo below shows.


Sasanqua camelias bordering our parking lot

I found one camelia plant that had blooms slightly different than the others – it looked more like a Rose of Sharon. These were planted when we moved into our house and I noticed it this year.

Camelia -  different type Camelia

Camelias – the one on the left is different from the others (right)

I plan to take cuttings of the camelia plant on the left and propagate them next spring.


Pansies, violas, alyssums

With the hostas drying up and shedding all their leaves (see upper right corner for remnants), I planted some flowers that would last the winter and brighten up the place.


Veggie patch

Winter veggie patch

Here are my winter veggies. These include cabbage, broccolli, lettuce, sugar snap peas, and onions (those thin weedy plants at the right corner). Yes, I have planted onions for the first time, and hope to harvest them in June next year. The cabbages and broccolli have been planted at one to two-week delays for staggered harvest.

Another view of patch

Another view of veggie patch

This view shows a small “hot house” that I got last week to store all my propagated plants. This was the largest one I could manage given the space! I really need to get a larger garden – and am looking out to hire some space!


Pansy Alyssum
Lantana Geranium

 Now in bloom!

Clockwise from top – pansy, alyssum, lantana, geranium

White assortedI also tried to use white as the theme and put together seasonal flowers and placed them at the entrance of my house. Let’s see how they turn out!

Next post – flowers from the botanical garden in the Izu Peninsula!

Happy gardening!














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Rose garden and orange orchard in the Izu peninsula

Orange Orchard

Last week, the entire family spent the weekend at the hot spa resort of Atagawa, Izu Peninsula in Japan. We visited a wonderful rose garden and an orange orchard. The orchard was a “mikan gari” which means you pay a fixed charge and they give you a pair of scissors that you take with you and pick any number of oranges you want and eat them on the spot! The charge per head was a reasonable 400 yen (about 4.5 dollars).

Orange orchard

View from the orange orchard overlooking the sea and the island of Oshima in the distance

Pick and eat

Pick as many as you like but eat ‘em!

Orange tree

Delicious oranges waiting to be picked and eaten!

The trees were planted in a terraced garden – it appears that these oranges don’t like cold, and such an arrangement is quite suitable for growing oranges, so the owner told me.

This was a fun place and I like the concept. The owner does not need labor to pick oranges, the visitors would gladly pay the reasonable charge and have a good time eating as many oranges as they like – a mutually-beneficial arrangement. The owner even picked us up from the railway station and dropped us back after the visit. We had a great time at this orchard. Japan has various “eat-as-much-as-you-like” orchards including strawberry, pear, grapes and so on.


Rose Garden

We visited the Bagatelle Park, about 10 minutes by bus from Kawazu station in the afternoon. It was opened, in a tie-up with the park of the same name in Paris. Three of the park’s five hectares are devoted to a reproduction of the Paris park’s Rose Garden, thus recreating the atmosphere of the French capital in the 18th century.


Entrance to the Bagatelle Rose Garden

The garden included some magnificent specimens of roses – let the photos speak for themselves!

Yellow roses

Yellow roses



Yellow with tinges of pink

Yellow with tinges of pink


Light pink





We had our fill of oranges and roses and returned to Tokyo tired but happy!

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Local Japanese gardens

This Sunday I visited a local seaside park facing the Tokyo Bay. The local newsletter had featured an announcement that a park called the Sodegaura Kaihin Park would hold a festival with the first 200 entrants to the park presented with plants. I was pretty excited and hoped to find lots of flowering plants, maybe a botanical garden too!

Upon entering the park, two of the officials gave me a map of the park – it seemed to be fairly large by Japanese standards. I saw a high viewing platform and a large windmill within the park, that had large lawns, palm trees lining the paved paths, plenty of space for kids to play, clean toilets and a splendid view of the Tokyo Bay including the Aqualine, an bridge-cum-undersea tunnel linking Kisarazu, (the city where I stay) to Kawasaki, Tokyo and Yokohama. 



Platform (left) and panoramic view (bridge-cum-tunnel in the sea can be seen on the right in enlarged view)

I ambled over to a tent-like structure where volunteers presented me with some marigold plants, a packet of Dianthus seeds, calorie mate and some pamphlets.

CIMG0060  CIMG0062

    Presents to visitors (left) and tent-like structure (right)

 Barring some camelias and a huge wind propeller that generated around 180 MW of power, there wasn’t much to hold my interest, so I decided to visit Sodegaura Koen, a large and popular Japanese garden not far away from this place.

wind propeller Camelia
Wind power in park Camelia

The Sodegaura Park, one of my favorites, was holding a chrysanthemum festival with the best flowers to be awarded prizes. The exhibits were amazing and  I was delighted to see bonsais of chrysanthemum flowers too. The photos here speak for themselves!

chrysanthemum chrysanthemum
chrysanthemum chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemums entered for the contest (click to enlarge)

The bonsai exhibits were the best I have ever seen.

Bonsai-01 Bonsai-02

Bonsai – chrysanthemums


Bonsai Bonsai

More Bonsai exhibits – chrysanthemums

I also met an elderly Japanese couple who introduced me to seeds of the Castanopsis cuspidata, lying on the path that ran around a lake within the park. These seeds are edible and taste quite nice. It appears that during their youth, these seeds were sold and were quite popular, but not many people bother to pick these up nowadays.

Castanopsis Scene from the park

 Castanopsis cuspidata seeds (left) and a scene from the Sodegaura Park (right)


The park is in full of flowers in spring and the beginning of autumn, but with winter soon to come, the flowers in the park in bloom were mainly chrysanthemum, serbia, and a sprinkling of cosmos, and of course, with plenty of ducks, swans and the Japanese carp in the waters.

Serbia Begonia
Flowers-01 Flowers-02

Flowers in bloom at the Sodegaura Park

Ducks-01 Ducks-02
Ducks on land Swan and ducks

Birds in the park 

Have a great day!

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November 2009