Sorakuen and Mizunomori

Last week, Christina and I were training at Sorakuen, a traditional Japanese style garden in Kobe City. IMG_7134

One of the largest specimens of Cycas revoluta (Stago Palm, but it's not a palm) that I ever seen. This is one plant with many clumps.

One of the largest specimens of Cycas revoluta (Commonly called Stago Palm, but it’s not a palm) that I ever seen. This is one plant with many clumps.

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A Meji period home is located in Sorakuen. During the Meji Restoration (Late 19th century) Japan ended its policy of isolationism and began trading with western countries. The architecture of that time was influenced by western culture.

A Meiji period home is located in Sorakuen. During the Meiji Restoration, (late 19th century) Japan ended its policy of isolationism and began trading with western countries. The architecture of that time was influenced by western culture.

Horinouchi-sensi teaching us how to assemble a traditional bamboo fence.

Horinouchi-sensi teaching us how to assemble a traditional bamboo fence.

We also learned how to traditionally prune pines. We prune the center bud, and remove needles until there are needles remaining on the axillary buds. This prevents the pine from growing drastically, as well as preventing pests and disease due to more air circulation between branches.

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Wearing long sleeves was a very smart move by Christina.

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Mori-san assisting with cleaning up.

Mori-san assisting with cleaning up.

Bean paste is the best ice cream flavor!

Bean paste is the best ice cream flavor!

On Thursday we had the day off, so I went to Mizunomori with Shiroyama-sensei and Sawada-sensei. Located in the Shiga Prefecture near Kyoto, Mizunomori is on the shore of Lake Biwa.

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Nelumbo sp.(Water Lotus) on the shore of Lake Biwa.

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Mizunomori is literally translated to “Water forest”. It houses aquatic plants such as Victoria cruziana.

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Metal baskets supported by poles allow for terrestrial annuals like Impatiens hawkeri to also be used in the pool displays.

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A minor detail that drives me insane in gardens is unsightly hoses lying around the garden. Mizunomori’s clever solution to the problem is hiding them in false rocks!

Lycoris radiata

Lycoris radiata in bloom everywhere I go!

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I mean it. It’s everywhere!

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Guzmania sp. mania!

Acalypha wilkesiana, Xanthosoma sagittifolium 'Chartreuse Giant' and Musa sp.

A wonderful foliage display of colors from Acalypha wilkesiana, Xanthosoma sagittifolium ‘Chartreuse Giant’ and Musa sp.

Ramen with the fruit of lotus.

Ramen with the fruit of lotus.

That elephant can stare directly into anyone's soul.

I tried to not make eye contact with anyone from this seedy group. That elephant can stare directly into your soul.

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A great week at Sorakuen!

3 comments

  1. Charlene

    Really nice pictures and glad to hear that you are enjoying all of the Japanese gardens and such. Truly enjoying your blogs. I like the blue “coat” you are wearing. Does it have anything to do with gardening?

  2. Nicholas Giaquinto

    The jacket is called a happi. It is traditionally worn during festivals. The shoes are Jika-tabi, which feels like you’re wearing an extra pair of socks.

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