April 8, 2021

Yama-zakura (Cerasus jamasakura (Sieb. ex Koidz.) H.Ohba) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Yama-zakura (Cerasus jamasakura (Sieb. ex Koidz.) H.Ohba) flowers: Kita-kamakura


Bathed in the rich sunlight of mid-spring, the temple complex of Engaku-ji is standing still in the thickly wooded "Yato" valley, which is densely covered with fresh young leaves and white Yama-zakura flowers.

"Yato" is the valley-like landform made by the longtime erosion of the hillside and is one of the geographical features peculiar to Kamakura region.

The gradual upward arrangement of buildings from the San-mon gate to the Buddha hall and Hojo (the main hall) along the quiet valley makes the subtle and profound view which deserves the place where ascetic exercises are practiced in order to reach spiritual enlightenment. 


Yama-zakura (Cerasus jamasakura (Sieb. ex Koidz.) H.Ohba) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Yama-zakura (Cerasus jamasakura (Sieb. ex Koidz.) H.Ohba) flowers: Kita-kamakura


A fine pointillist picture of spring is painted on the sunny hillside with the tiny colorful dots of young leaves and Yama-zakura flowers.

Spring is the season of spectacular flowering, in which plants and trees bloom one after another to earnestly get a chance to be pollinated for their propagation. Flowering is the colorful manifestation of the hidden life-force which is quietly stored in plants and trees. By blooming vividly, the inconspicuous and unnamed green plants and trees, that are usually overlooked and unnoticed except in the time of flowering, let us know their precious presence clearly.

Before long, a high wind of spring will suddenly cause the pale white flowers of Yama-zakura to scatter like a snowstorm and disappear like a daydream. The hillside will transform into a glorious mosaic which is made by the pieces of greenness in various shades and tones.


Yama-zakura (Cerasus jamasakura (Sieb. ex Koidz.) H.Ohba) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Yama-zakura (Cerasus jamasakura (Sieb. ex Koidz.) H.Ohba) flowers: Kita-kamakura

 

Kaido (Malus halliana) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Kaido (Malus halliana) flowers: Kita-kamakura


Kaido (aronia) is a small garden tree native to China, which produces numerous five-petaled, dark pink flowers in spring. The flower stalk of Kaido is slender and its elegant flower gracefully looks downward as if to be dozing off.

This flower has been praised in China since ancient times and, together with plum and peony flowers, it is considered one of the "three outstanding flowers of spring."

In China, it is also called a "sleeping flower" after Yang Guifei in the Tang Dynasty. According to legend, when Emperor Xuanzong summoned Yang Guifei, she appeared with a tipsy and sleepy face, which let him murmur "the sleep of my beautiful Kaido flower is not enough yet." Yang Guifei herself is said to have loved the flower of Kaido. 

In China, this flower has been loved along with plum and peony flowers traditionally, and is often depicted as a subject in Chinese poetry and paintings.

Kaido (Malus halliana) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Kaido (Malus halliana) flowers: Kita-kamakura

 

Yama-zakura (Cerasus jamasakura (Sieb. ex Koidz.) H.Ohba) flowers: Engaku-ji

Yama-zakura (Cerasus jamasakura (Sieb. ex Koidz.) H.Ohba) flowers: Engaku-ji

 

Yama-zakura (Cerasus jamasakura (Sieb. ex Koidz.) H.Ohba) flowers: Engaku-ji

Yama-zakura (Cerasus jamasakura (Sieb. ex Koidz.) H.Ohba) flowers: Engaku-ji

 

Somei-yoshino (prunus yedoensis) cherry flowers: Kencho-ji

Somei-yoshino (prunus yedoensis) cherry flowers: Kencho-ji


Somei-yoshino (prunus yedoensis) cherry flowers: Kencho-ji

Somei-yoshino (prunus yedoensis) cherry flowers: Kencho-ji

 

Stone-images of Kannon: Engaku-ji

Stone-images of Kannon: Engaku-ji


Yukiyanagi (Spiraea thunbergii) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Yukiyanagi (Spiraea thunbergii) flowers: Kaizo-ji


Tanpopo (dandelion) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Tanpopo (dandelion) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Kobushi (Magnolia kobus) flowers: Engaku-ji

Kobushi (Magnolia kobus) flowers: Engaku-ji

 

Haku-mokuren (Magnolia denudata) and Kobushi (Magnolia kobus) flowers: Engaku-ji

Haku-mokuren (Magnolia denudata) and Kobushi (Magnolia kobus) flowers: Engaku-ji

 

March 19, 2021

Shidare-ume (Prunus mume f. pendula) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Shidare-ume (Prunus mume f. pendula) flowers: Kaizo-ji


In the midst of the fresh greenery that is reviving quietly from winter rest, the countless double flowers of the Shidare-ume (weeping apricot tree) are blooming to the fullest extent of their lives and are bathing in the soft sunlight as if to gently chant the praises of this season of renewal and growth.

In this height of spring, the view of the garden changes at a dizzying pace. Different kinds of colorful flowers hurriedly appear and vanish one after another. 

All sorts of small living things, that have been silently holding their breath during winter, have begun to show themselves rapidly so as to compete with one another for rebirth and regrowth.


Shidare-ume (Prunus mume f. pendula) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Shidare-ume (Prunus mume f. pendula) flowers: Kaizo-ji


In the gentle sunlight of mid-spring, by virtue of the subtle interconnectedness of all living things in nature, various colorful flowers bloom one after another, plants and trees begin to sprout new green buds, insects show themselves and fly around in search of nectar, and various birds begin to lively twitter again for breeding.

The monotonous and gloomy green of winter has already disappeared completely. The tender greenery and colorfulness of various tones and gradations are emerging swiftly altogether, which makes me feel deep admiration for the wonder of life on the earth.