Hints of Spring

I worked in the garden today and noticed signs of spring everywhere.

Taking a little break I wandered down the road a bit and saw buds and little blossoms beginning to cover branches. The ume trees are beginning to blossom. It is actually the ume tree that heralds the spring in Japan.

The old sakura across the street is sprouting little buds too. Soon the stores will be selling sakura “everything”.

I’m starting to think about our Hanami already.

How lovely it is to live in an area where we enjoy such a short “winter” if you can even call it that. Maybe I shouldn’t say anything-who knows we might have another “historic” snow storm like we did last year.

I took full advantage of the sunshine and mild temperatures to putter around the garden rearranging, potting and building.

I was thinking of not cutting down the dead tree. Perhaps I’ll just cut some of the branches off and leave the tree up for the birds. We are in the process of creating kind of a bird rest-stop.

I managed to photograph some of our recent customers.

These are mejiro メジロ, 目白- or Japanese white-eye. If you are fond of looking at Japanese art you will see this bird depicted often. My husband told me that when they were kids they used to go into the forest and put some sort of sticky substance on a branch with fruit as a bait-and then wait until an unsuspecting mejiro was attracted to the fruit and got stuck on the branch. They caught them and caged them as pets. These are common to have as pets. They have been exported to other parts of the world and sold as cage birds. I love to see them in the wild though.

I removed the bowl and replaced it with a homemade bird-feeder. We will build a few more and place them up around the yard.

Hopefully the vines will grow up into the old dead tree because we’d like to keep it as a bird stop.

The mint at the back of the garden is starting to fill out. Some of it is now sitting on my kitchen window in this little pot. It reminds me of my granddaughter who loved to go out early in the morning and pick a handful of leaves. We’d make it into tea for our tea-parties.

As I strolled down the road I noticed Mr.K had harvested his daikon. This year the daikon is just delicious. The other night we had daikon -chicken nimono–delicious!

This week February will be here. I had better purchase my seeds soon so I don’t forget. I can’t believe we are at the threshold of spring already-where has the winter gone? Gardening has shortened the winter season for me considerably. I start thinking about planting seeds at this time of the year and gathering my supplies. Makes the winter fly on by!

I wanted to share a video with you. It is actually part of a whole series that you can find on youtube. It is a regular program here in Japan. The woman in the video is named Venetia and she lives in Ohara, Kyoto. I love watching her videos! They are in Japanese but she does narrate in English-but even if they were all in Japanese you would still love them. You will be swept away to rural Kyoto watching these. Actually much of the scenery looks very similar to our area. I truly hope you enjoy them.

You can read about her here.



10 thoughts on “Hints of Spring

  1. I love the bird! I’m hoping to start some seeds indoors soon. I have a few ” volunteer” seeds coming up in pots inside. I think they are ” cleome” or spider flower. They are pink. I have lime trees inside beside a window that are in bloom, they smell so good. I’m not very techy, I’ll try to figure out how to send you a pic. Thank you for all your pics….I wonder what the Japanese vegetables taste like. It is cold here today, but sunny. We might get a little snow tomorrow night. I love snow, it’s so pretty. All Gods blessings, anita

    Sent from my iPad


  2. I would love to see the hanami! We have a few flowering trees here in spring…I can’t imagine so many in one place!

    Sent from my iPad


  3. We are having fun making feeders and watching our guests enjoy the free food! Thanks for the info about Venetia’s program! I like the Japanese version-helps me practice my Japanese but I know my readers will appreciate knowing about the English one! I collected as many of her episodes as I could find and put them on my Youtube channel so I can watch continuously while I crochet. :)

  4. That is a lovely bird, such a wonderful color. I used to watch Venetia on TV here a few years ago – that was up in the Los Angeles area. A fascinating woman and her half-hour videos were always so interesting.

  5. Watched Venetia’s Christmas video. She’s so calm and relaxing . Wish I could see her garden. BUT your bird feeders and garden are just as pretty.

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