Life in the Land of the Rising Sun

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Letting Nature Take Its Course

Not so long ago I talked about the ambitious garden project that I started in the cleared-out area in front of my house. I described how my in-laws, who had insisted they'd had neither plans nor time to do anything in the area, had suddenly hijacked the project and taken it over. I also mentioned that the in-laws have always practiced "random gardening", i.e. there's little rhyme nor reason in their garden. For the most part they've always just left it to fate to see what seeds have blown in and taken root, digging out only the more troublesome ones. Anyway, I got a number of requests to show both "my" garden and the "random" garden, so now that I have a touch of good weather and some things worth photographing, allow me to give you a little tour.


This is the area directly in front of my newly-renovated house. Directly in front you can see the rock-encircled flowerbed that I made. I had intended to use it as either a rose or herb garden. The in-laws asked if they could put some lilies in it, and when I said yes they immediately filled it with all kinds of stuff. To the right you can see the decorative path I started to make with multi-colored gravel (more colorful than it looks in the picture). Further back you can see how I reinforced the bank with old, leftover roof tiles. (I had intended to work with that area, but the in-laws planted it up, too.) I had intended to line the right side of the path with rocks, bricks, a low decorative wall, or some kind of plant. As you can see, mom-in-law went ahead and set down a row of planter boxes instead. I was irritated at first, but I decided to go ahead and leave the planters there. I think I'm still going to do something with that side of the path, though. At least I need to get busy and weed it!


Move a little down the path, and this is what you see at the edge of the property line. I was originally going to have the path loop to the left and continue behind the little cypress tree through the space in that back garden, and eventually I was hoping to put some plants and decorative items (like a stone lantern or a small shrine) back there, but MIL had a fit, insisting most of the plants (weeds?) growing back there are "keepable". She says the same thing about all that growth on the bank, which is why I haven't weeded it. You can see that some of the lilies they planted there are in bloom, though.


Not well in focus, but still a "mood" shot. This is a closeup of the blooming lily in that rear garden, looking back toward the space I may still someday make into something a little more interesting, like a private, little shrine.


A much better closeup of another lily in the same area, this time looking back toward the in-laws' house. I'm amazed it turned out so clear. Right when I started trying to take these close-ups, a little breeze started blowing. Then a much stronger wind started coming from the air conditioner unit directly behind me (thanks to my kids). I guess I timed this one just right!


Moving back toward the front again, you can see yet another lily, this time blooming in the new, little flowerbed my FIL set up in front of the newly-cleared fishpond (which goes back under the azalea bush). As you can see, my FIL borrowed my idea of using leftover, old roof tiles to set off the flowerbed. He says he's planning on setting up a little table and some chairs nearby. I think that's a good idea...if you don't mind a few mosquitos.


Turn to the left, and this is what you see. Those plants had completely overgrown and taken over the area around those log stands and the place where a path used to loop around the azaleas back into the rear clearing (my "shrine"). I was going to dig them all out last spring, but MIL insisted they were "keepable". I guess she was right. They are a nice shade of purple...if perhaps a bit of overkill...


Move past the "purple invasion" and the outdoor washbasin and you start to come into the "jungle" (or maybe "swamp"). There's all kinds of stuff back here, and a lot of it is in bloom. I'm not sure what kind of bush this is, but the butterflies and honeybees sure seem to like it.


Continuing further back, you can see a small orange tree in bloom on the right. On the left is a chestnut tree bearing fruit, and the metal rack supports a natural canopy made by a kiwi fruit tree, which is a crawling vine. (My FIL raises bonsai trees back there.) Meanwhile, the bottom of the picture is dominated by...


...a massive overgrowth of blade-leafed plants which are actually a kind of scallion. My FIL uses them to make a type of (very strong-smelling) pickle he says is good for the health. There doesn't seem to have been any method to their planting; they are pretty much all over the place in that section of the garden. Still, you can find all kinds of small, flowering plants popping up in and among the jungle (swamp?) growth.


So far only one of the gladiolas has bloomed, though. Experts thought that, thanks to La Nina, our rainy season would be unusually short this year. Instead, it set a new length record. We almost didn't have July at all. I'm sure that's why the flowers are blooming late instead of early despite the predictions. Oh, well. Now we're getting some summer sun, and the world is filling with color once again!

[nasal voice]What color?[/nasal voice]

(You just knew I was going to say that, didn't you? I guess that, even with all that has happened lately, nothing has really changed.)


  • I've never understood my dad's fascination with flowers either. We would go for hikes to the most remote places in hopes of catching a photo of something or other, my dad lugging his heavy camera bag along.

    They are pretty, but when I owned a yard, it was so big and so much work to take care of I had little time or interest in that sort of thing.

    Oh, and "purple."

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:25 AM  

  • Beautiful. Makes me turn green. The path you built and the use of tiles along it looks really nice. Too bad you don't have a free hand to realize your vision for the whole yard.

    Those lilies are beautiful too. Coincidentally, I found a lily (yama yuri) in our backyard day before yesterday.

    By Blogger Pandabonium, at 8:46 AM  

  • That second lily shot looks like a character from a Kabuki performance.

    By Blogger Swinebread, at 3:10 PM  

  • Waaaahhh.... so nice to see all these green pics in here :)

    By Blogger Selba, at 5:09 PM  

  • I really like the look of your little garden-we do alot of the same kind of gardening as your default.

    I have some nice planter boxes of things, but it's evident that gardening, i.e. "weeding" is not our forte!

    We're more the "stick it in the ground and hope it makes it" type.

    By Blogger ladybug, at 9:30 PM  

  • Love it, whether random gardening
    or highly manicured, gotta be surrounded by nature, sometimes carefully ordered sometimes wild.

    Great close-ups of the white Lilly(s)

    By Blogger QUASAR9, at 5:04 AM  

  • Moody Minstrel
    Even more stunning on webshots zoom

    By Blogger QUASAR9, at 5:07 AM  

  • Good job, MM. A chestnut tree bearing fruit? Wow! I've never seen them fruits on the tree before. And a kiwi vine? And oranges? And beautiful lilies and all? Lovely!

    By Blogger Happysurfer, at 3:33 PM  

  • What color?
    No BLUE anymore! {giggle}

    By Anonymous The colorman, at 3:44 PM  

  • i love all the flowers, bushes and trees you have. the lavender is so beautiful. it's one of my favorite types of flowers/bushes. i can't get them to grow worth squat here...

    really beautiful.

    By Blogger Um Naief, at 4:28 AM  

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