Archives for category: Landscaping

The big melt is on.

We still have cold nights, but the days are warm and longer. It’s melting fast and there’s lots of standing water that doesn’t drain well in the frozen ground.

I do what I can to make some temporary shallow ditches.

And get more water over to the ‘lake’ for quicker run off into the drainage system.

For the last several days it’s been below freezing, and it looks like it’s going the stay cold for the rest of winter.

I’m not quite done with the garden digging, but I’ll have to call it quits now. I lost ten days travelling to Japan and have almost gotten caught up, so I’m satisfied.

I even got all the raking done, leaf coverings on all the dug up areas, hedge trees planted and another bed of garlic in before the ground got frozen hard. This year it’s later than usual but more done.

Now all I need is a bunch of snow for skiing.

One of the most famous and photographed and visited places in Kyoto i the buddhist temple Kiyumizu dera. We went there again today too. We just can’t get enough. And it’s not the last time I hope. 


It was labor day in Japan, so the crowds were big. 


Alot of the buildings were covered in shrowd because they are being repaired. It was the same three years ago it seems but different buildings, so we didn’t go out on the famous balcony for pictures, but got some good ones anyway.

Wisteria in winter covers.


We had a fika break with amazake and warabi mochi. 


And some water from a mountain spring. 


We were there till dark, but didn’t stay for the light show. We walked down to the kamo river and got a river stone for and old friend. Then ended the day with dinner at the vegan restaurant Veg Out – brown rice with a view of the river. 


  

We like Kobe too. 


It’s a nice town on the coast of the Pacific Ocean – a bit cheaper and more funky than Kyoto. We can stay here and still get to Kyoto easy and fast by train with a Japan Railways Pass. The best, tho, is that we have made some good friends here.
Our favorite place to stay, the Yume Nomad Hostel is here. We are now nested in here for the rest of our stay. 

It is inexpensive, quiet, artsy, and a great gathering place where you can meet like-minded travelers and locals in a laid-back and cozy atmosphere.

Our hosts (and old friends)


Then there is the traditional market Higashiyama Shotengai nearby to get lost in and find just about any thing under the sun, such as traditional japanese underware, an extra suitcase or tofu or lunch. 

Grilled mochi balls

Kabocha pumpkins
We buy our supplies for cooking meals at the hostel here. The best place to buy miso and pickled vegetables was still there, of course. And the family that runs the stall was so glad to see us again. 

Three years ago we met Bun, the coffee enthusiast, at Yume Nomad. Since then he has established himself in the business and moved to a new shop in down town Kobe near Sannomiya station. We got a great cup of ethiopian coffee and spent some time talking about coffee and old times. 


The Ikuta Jinga Shinto Temple was almost next door and demanded a visit. History has it that it was establised around 200 AD. It has been burnt down and destroyed in wars and natural disasters many times but always rebuilt. 


Now it still stands majestic amoung the high rise.

The main pretence for our trip to Japan was to visit Arashiyama (on the outskirts of Kyoto) during the autumn leaf festival!
So far the autumn leaves haven’t impressed me much. Yesterday was a bit rainy, so we went today. We picked a good day. It was sunny with intermittent showers and a cold north wind. Arashi mountain itself was not so colorful, but there were huge crowds of locals and turists to see the autumn leaves. 


After walking all over the place we decided to finish the day with the gardens of Tenryuji Temple.


On the way there, we followed the crowd going in to see the gardens of Hogonin Temple. What a magnificent discovery! A fantastic moss garden canopied with maple trees in every shade of green, yellow, orange and red, complete with a couple of gardeners constantly brushing the falling leaves off the moss. 


Tenryuji had equally impressive gardens with moss, maple trees, water flows, a carp pond, rocks, fences and bamboo groves. 


At the end of the day. We were cold and tired and didn’t bother to go into the temple, but did catch a glimpse of this guy and then had to head back to the ryokan.

The destination of our trip was Gunillaberg, an estate run by the danish floral artist Tage Andersen. The weather was a perfect mix of grey clouds, rain and even some sun. 


There are lots of animals of various old fashion species and races that keep the grass perfectly trimmed. 



A wild profusion of trees, bushes, shrubs, weeds and flowers




Art



And gobs of garden art


For many people the high point might be a concert in the conservatory


Or one of Tages pastries in the outdoor cafe


Or a visit to the outhouse.

I finally got the stone embankment finished on the backside (north) of the gothic greenhouse. 



With a load of good shaped stones from the farmer and the help of my son, we rolled, slid and levered these big stones into place and filled in with gravel. This should help insulate, retaining heat while facilitating drainage. 



I was going to do the same for the front side of the greenhouse and have a perennial bed there, but I changed my mind. I can’t manage the weeds. So we took away the stones, dug it out, and I’ll just have a gravelly dirt embankment with grass that I can mow. That’ll be much easier. 

Getting done.


It’s done!



Except for some natural preservative painting as well as fixing the dirt and foundation later. 


This recycled graffiti plywood backside will hopefully be visited by some local graffiti artist and get a more colorful paint job, preferably in shades of green. 

Spring planting and sowing is done. All the crop circles are filled to the wedge edges. And it is raining (so no market today).




Out to the edges


I’m trying some pumpkins in the green house construction site this year.  


Even the hedges and trees and bushes are getting a weeding. 



Now summer is here! (in my terms). There are a few plants left to find places, mulching and weeding to do. And I’ve planted 2 new flats of lettuces and herbs to plant out for later for a later harvest. 

 

One crop circle is finished. The caged garden with a fence around it has all the raised beds made and filled with seeds and plants. Plants that deer and rabbits like – brassicas, chards, beets, leeks etc. 


The brassicas are covered to keep the flea beetles away.