Sunday, June 18, 2006

Local Ethnobotanical Notes

The tsutuji are long gone and the ajisai flower fadingly on as the take (bamboo) shoot up. I broke off a five foot high and four foot high bamboo in my garden yesterday, shoots that had appeared since Tuesday when I last checked for bamboo takeover attempts. The first ones appeared on May 31, a little early this year. They seem to grow about a foot or so a day; I'm not sure exactly, so I will try to document it more carefully this month. By the end of June they should be reaching the top of the second floor. They would completely take over my garden if I didn't patrol it mercilessly to save my trees and other plants. Bamboo are restricted to a narrow strip about 6 or 8 inches wide along my property line, where they enhance the fence effect.

Tsutsuji and ajisai are azalea and hydrangea, respectively, in English. Flowers and fish are two lexical domains in which my Japanese vocabulary is better than my English vocabulary. To enjoy a more professional visual documentation of Japanese flowers (and pottery, Buddhist sculpture and deities), visit
by Mark Schumacher in Kamakura.

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