October 24, 2020

Kinmokusei (Osmanthus fragrans) flowers and Sho-kannon-do temple: Engaku-ji

Kinmokusei (Osmanthus fragrans) flowers and Sho-kannon-do temple: Engaku-ji


The countless small flowers of Kinmokusei (sweet olive) are in full bloom to notify the fast deepening of autumn and are announcing their gorgeous blooming by diffusing their sweet fragrance in this tranquil garden which will soon be adorned with colored autumn leaves. 

In the humble "Sho-kannon-do" temple below the cloud of golden yellow flowers, the small wooden statue of the Sho-kannon (Holy Avalokiteshvara) is silently standing, while tenderheartedly staring at the ceaseless and swift transition of the seasons and all living things before his eyes.


Kinmokusei (Osmanthus fragrans) flowers: Engaku-ji

Kinmokusei (Osmanthus fragrans) flowers: Engaku-ji


According to a Chinese legend, Kinmokusei has been considered to be the sacred tree of the heavenly realm, which purges evil spirits and provides eternal youth and longevity. 

The moon is regarded to be the origin of this sacred tree, and the full moon shines in gold because golden Kinmokusei flowers are in full bloom on the moon.

This plant of fragrant flowers is dioecious, but only male plants were introduced to Japan from China in the 18th century as a garden plant and were propagated throughout Japan by cutting. 

Therefore, all Kinmokusei trees grown in Japan are male plants. These male flowers send out their sweet perfumes as if to silently sing ballads that express their unfulfilled longing of love in the midst of this gentle season.


Hagi, Sarusuberi, and Kin-mokusei flowers: Engaku-ji

Hagi, Sarusuberi, and Kin-mokusei flowers: Engaku-ji


Being wrapped with the transparent sunlight that descends from the clear autumn sky, the various colorful flowers that decorate this garden seem to be joyfully competing with each other for splendor.

Before long, the north wind will begin blowing to cause this garden to be ablaze with the autumnal tints of leaves.

The seasonal changes in sunshine conditions and ambient temperatures cause the blooming of different flowers and the transformation of various leaves, which makes us notice the stealthy turn of the seasons.
 


Shion (Aster tataricus) flowers and a statue of Jizo Bosatsu: Engaku-ji

Shion (Aster tataricus) flowers and a statue of Jizo Bosatsu: Engaku-ji


Countless pale-purple Shion flowers are facing all together toward the bright autumn sun and are swaying faintly in the fresh breeze blowing through the green cedar trees around the Sangedatsumon gate (Three Gates of Liberation).

Surrounded by the cascades of Hagi (Lespedeza) flowers, a stone statue of the Jizo Bodhisattva (the guardian deity of children, travelers, and lost souls), in the figure of a young boy, is standing still and praying for the infinite happiness of all living things in this world. 


Susuki (Miscanthus sinensis) flowers: Jochi-ji

Susuki (Miscanthus sinensis) flowers: Jochi-ji

 

Seascape: Yuigahama-beach

Seascape: Yuigahama-beach

 

Shumei-giku (Anemone hupehensis var. japonica) flowers: Tokei-ji

Shumei-giku (Anemone hupehensis var. japonica) flowers: Tokei-ji

 

Higan-bana (Lycoris radiata) flowers: Eisho-ji

Higan-bana (Lycoris radiata) flowers: Eisho-ji

 

Higan-bana (Lycoris radiata) flowers: Eisho-ji

Higan-bana (Lycoris radiata) flowers: Eisho-ji

 

Shion (Aster tataricus) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Shion (Aster tataricus) flowers: Kaizo-ji

 

Hagi (Lespedeza) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Hagi (Lespedeza) flowers: Kaizo-ji

 

Rindo (autumn bellflower) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Rindo (autumn bellflower) flowers: Kaizo-ji

 

Shion (Aster tataricus) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Sion (Aster tataricus) flowers: Kaizo-ji

 

October 7, 2020

Higan-bana (Lycoris radiata) flowers: Eisho-ji

Higan-bana (Lycoris radiata) flowers: Eisho-ji


The transparent sunlight peculiar to early autumn is falling through the pellucid atmosphere and is filling the humble garden of this Buddhist convent with its serene and clear brightness.

As if to heartily welcome the refreshing and rich sunshine of this season, the vivid vermilion flowers of Higan-bana are blooming all together vigorously on the tips of the leafless stems before the appearance of their fresh leaves. 

The stunning color of a roaring flame is blazing quietly in this monastic garden, which makes me realize that the long-awaited autumn has just arrived here definitely.


Hagi (Lespedeza) flowers: Kencho-ji

Hagi (Lespedeza) flowers: Kencho-ji


The overwhelming sun and thick greenery of the dazzling midsummer, which once dominated everything in this garden, has already gone away.

As the gentle sunlight of autumn comes back here again, a variety of delicate colors of plants and lively signs of living things are beginning to quietly fill the garden which gradually restores its peacefulness.

Autumn begins with the arrival of a pleasant cool wind and soon ends with the incoming of a harsh northern wind. The cascades of Hagi flowers keep swaying slowly in the autumnal breeze as if to know the hurried passage of this beautiful season.


Higan-bana (Lycoris radiata) flowers: Chojyu-ji

Higan-bana (Lycoris radiata) flowers: Chojyu-ji


"Higan-bana" means the flower which blooms around Higan (the autumnal equinox) and its flowering season is about the middle of September. 

Its flower buds in the soil know their flowering time by sensing only the seasonal change of temperature. The flower stalks emerge from the ground before the leaves and its delicate flowers bloom in the form of radial clusters simultaneously.

When the flower stalks disappear after flowering, the leaves grow out and remain green over the winter. In early summer, when other plants start growing leaves, the leaves of Higan-bana die and the above-ground part of this plant is no longer visible.

Instead of producing seeds, this plant reproduces by making its bulbs in the soil for multiplication. The individuals in the same colony are genetically identical, and so they have similar flowering periods, flower size and color, and grass height.