Trip to Tokyo for the Cherry Blossom

In April 2018 we were back in Tokyo to see the fantastic cherry blossoms.

Our Koi Pond

Regular readers will have followed the progress of our Koi Bond build, heres the finished result

Singapore Botanic Garden

Whilst in Singapore we visited the botanic gardens, a fantastic explosion of tropical and exotic plants.

Colourful pots

The summer of 2016 saw the addition of a number of colourful pots tp the top patio

Phoenix from the Flames

After the fire came rebuilding and our new Jungle Hut is better than ever!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

April in the Garden

Well Spring seems to have finally turned up after what seems like a much longer break so last weekend we finally got some time in the garden. I can't just blame the weather as we have been away quite a lot recently too, but it has felt too miserable to do much even when we were at home.
 
The patio area almost looks like summer is here, most of the plants have done ok this winter, although the agave in the bottom right hand corner is showing some damage. Hopefully it will just be marked rather than anything more serious.
Feeling like summer on the top patio

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Seeds everywhere!

Last year must have been a good year for Trachycarpus as many of the palms in our garden are laden down with seeds.
 

Trachycarpus fortune seeds
Trachycarpus fortune seeds


Trachycarpus fortune seeds
Trachycarpus fortune seeds

We tend to ignore the palm seeds, usually cutting off any the birds, mice or squirrels haven't taken once we get round to tidying up palms later in spring. In the past few years this has meant a small number of seedlings appearing under the palms each year. However given the abundance of seeds on them this year I think we may end up with a whole forest of them.

Still that makes a change from weeding out sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) seedlings that turn up in their thousands every year!

Gaz

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Marché aux fleurs revisited

Having only just returned from Japan, we had another short break last weekend, with two days in Paris to celebrate our anniversary.
 
Paris in the Springtime! We are fortunate that Paris is a short journey for us either via Luton airport or train (just one change from the station five minutes walk from home).
 
With only a short stay planned we decided not to have too much of a plan and just enjoyed being there. A favourite haunt of us both is Marché aux fleurs, a flower market on Île de la Cité (one of the two islands in the Seine in central Paris), close to Notre Dame.

Its quite an eclectic market, with produce aimed at both tourists and locals alike. After all there's not many tourists that could take home a large bamboo or yucca as a souvenir.







Although most of the weekend was bright and sunny, we did seem to manage to visit the market during the only overcast period in the whole weekend!


Notre Dame
Notre Dame
Shortly after we had left the market the sun was back!

Gaz

 

Friday, April 06, 2018

Japan 2018 - Part 2

Following on from yesterdays post on Japan we continued our trip with an organised tour to Mount Fuji. We tend to avoid organised tours, usually preferring to organise ourselves and be able to flex how long we visit somewhere, or change our plans mid way through a day. However for Mount Fuji we decided we would be better joining a tour group and leave all the planning to them. This worked well, and having a local guide definitely was an advantage, although I think I would be tempted to hire a car for such a trip next time we are in Japan.
Mount Fuji

Fuji is a couple of hours coach drive from central Tokyo, and we were given tempting glimpses on the journey there - its such a large mountain that even from Tokyo you can get a reasonable view if elevated.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Japan 2018 - Part 1

Cherry Blossom
As mentioned yesterday we had a return visit to Tokyo at the end of March. This trip was planned for some time and we had hoped to see the cherry blossoms, it was always a risk with only one week as to whether we would be there at the peak but fortunately we were very lucky!

On our first morning, we had a tempting glimpse of what may be ahead with a small park outside our hotel full of blossom.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Meguro River Cherry Blossoms

We are just back from a trip to Tokyo to see the Cherry Blossoms. As many people will know Japan has a love for the flowering cherry and the annual flowering is a time for celebration. Signalling in the new season in spectacular fashion.

One of the highlights of the trip was an evening at Meguro River in Tokyo, this is a fairly small tributary river lined with trees on both sides. At night the trees are illuminated which made for a magical experience. With food and drink stalls and a party atmosphere this felt more like we were at a music festival than a botanic event!

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens, Malta

 
Last weekend we had a short break to Malta, staying in the capital city of Valletta. As a weekend destination Valletta has a lot to offer, lots of history, architecture, great places to eat as well as various museums and grand churches - lots with historical connection to knights and the crusades.
 
Whilst there we had to get a little garden fix, and took in the small gardens of Upper Barrakka and Lower Barrakka.
 
Both are free to enter public gardens, with plenty of tropical plants to whisk us away from the late wintery weather back home.
 

Lower Barrakka Gardens provides a great view of the Grand Harbour and the neighbouring city of Vittoriosa. At the centre of the garden is the Monument to Sir Alexander Ball, pictured above which is a neoclassical temple located at the centre of the garden.