In February, we visited Awaji Island for a few days. The weather did not cooperate but no worries, we still found plenty of things to do. One highlight was a visit to Kiseki no Hoshi no Syokubutsukan (Miracle Planet Museum of Plants) for their 20th anniversary exhibition of orchids. The exhibition was stunning - a bit overwhelming, in fact. The range of colours, shapes and sizes was almost unbelievable and I think I said WOW in front of just about every arrangement! Below is one of the many photos I took while I was there. If you'd like to see more, view Gallery 8 on the PHOTOS page. (One of the limits of this website is that I can't add a photo gallery to a blog post.)
Spring is most definitely in the air! There are flowers around, of course. The plum blossoms are in full bloom and various camellia trees are as well. However, it's a delight to stubble across something unexpected, like this phox that was growing among the rock work fronting a grand house nearby. I can't wait for spring to really be here!
The sasanqua camellia bushes are blooming at my work place. Some bushes are covered in white blooms, some in pink, and some in fushia. This particular bush is my favorite and since it is growing right next to the walk-way to the office, I get to pass by it multiple times a day. It cheers me up every time...
I wanted to post this just to show you a different kind of chrysanthemum. I'm not really sure what the variety is called, to be honest, but it always brings to mind those noise makers - the kind that makes a noise when you blow into it and a paper tube uncoils and then coils back in. So, how about "noise maker" chrysanthemum? Okay, so that name's not going win any prizes but it is quite descriptive, don't you think? (^.~)
Within this variety there are additional variations of colour and petal width, length and number. As can be imagined, the blooms needs extra support and you can see the wire frame below the flower head. I expect these are quite challenging to grow. I have no interest in even trying...
Several years ago, if you had asked me if I liked chrysanthemums, I would have said no. It wasn't until I visited a chrysanthemum exhibition, held at a small city nearby, that I had any idea how beautiful chrysanthemums could be! Wow! I now make a point of going to the exhibition every year and am especially taken with single-bloom chrysanthemums. I continually marvel at the skill required to grow them into such tall, blemish-free flowers. I only have small multiple-bloom chrysanthemums in my garden and have yet to win the fight with the bugs. They love them so...
A little research shows that chrysanthemums have been cultivated in Japan since the Nara Period (8th century) and were especially popular in the Edo Period (early 17th to late 19th century). In fact, the Imperial Seal of Japan is a chrysanthemum and is used by the Emperor and the members of the Imperial Family.
The exhibition nearby has its roots in the Edo Period and apparently made the city quite famous. The exhibitions used to include shaped shrubbery as well as famous scenes, historical figures, and dolls all decked out in chrysanthemum finery. Sadly, those days are mostly gone since few people have the time and skill to produce these labour intensive pieces. However, much smaller versions are exhibited every year to give a taste of once was, and every year I look forward to seeing what will be on display.
The chrysanthemum exhibition just ended last weekend but here are links to 2 blog posts that include pictures of exhibitions in the past:
Below is one of the prize-winning single-bloom chrysanthemums from this year's exhibition. The flower head would have been about the size of a slightly flattened, medium-sized cabbage.
I'm a photographer based in Osaka, Japan. I love to take photographs. I like to share.