Spring is everywhere, isn't it? This time of year always reminds me of our time in Tokyo. Unlike California where many types of flowers bloom at once, Japan's plantings appear a little bit at a time. First, the plum blossoms, then the cherry blossoms fill the air with their faint perfume. People organize cherry blossom viewing parties and make a point to go to temples, shrines, and parks during March and April. After the trees cast off their blooms, the tulips come up followed by wisteria, roses, hydrangea, and then iris in June.
Some shrines and temples are known for growing particular types of flowers. Kameido Shrine in Tokyo is a great place to view wisteria while Meigetsuin Temple in Kamakura blooms with hydrangeas. In June you can walk next to the iris-filled streams in Meiji Shrine in Toyko. You might also get a chance to see young women in their Spring kimono walking the grounds.
With the wet weather we had in the Bay Area this winter, public gardens here in the Bay Area are filled with flowers at their peak.
|Easly Spring at Filoli|
|The tulips at Filoli in bloom|
Filoli and the Gamble Garden in Palo Alto both have large plantings that you can wander through.
Hakone Gardens in Saratoga provides another chance to see a Japanese style garden.The Blake Garden in Kensington is a research garden, part of UC Berkeley, with surprising views of the Bay Area. Even at Ruth Bancroft's Succulent Garden in Walnut Creek, you can spot flowers on the succulents and cacti that she planted there.
|Though the flowers are already gone from this cactus, the fruit left behind is beautiful too.|
Have you seen your first iris, bird-of-paradise or a Swallowtail butterfly of the year? Are you counting the bees in your area? If you are, send your data to the Great Sunflower Project.
Let me know if you have a public garden near you.
Check out these websites for more information about public gardens in the Northern California and Japan:
http://www.filoli.org/flower-show/ Palo Alto, CA
https://www.gamblegarden.org Palo Alto, CA
http://www.alliedartsguild.org/index.html Menlo Park, CA
http://www.hakone.com Saratoga, CA
http://blakegarden.ced.berkeley.edu Kensington, CA