紫陽花と 薔薇を召ませ らんららん

At this time of year, when you go to the park, the spring roses that have not been pruned are still blooming with vigor. As you pass by them, you enter a hydrangea garden. Indeed, hydrangeas are the stars of this season. Roses have also undergone selective breeding, with varieties that bloom for a season, throughout the year, and even bi-seasonal roses, making them visible almost year-round except in winter. On the other hand, hydrangeas stubbornly adhere to blooming only during this rainy season. For those who come to see them, it’s a state of mind where they can enjoy both hydrangeas and roses, a true “let the flowers enchant you, lalala” feeling. “Let the flowers enchant you, lalala” – This is the opening line of “Hanauri Musume” by Misora Hibari, which became a number one hit on the charts in 1951 (Showa 26). It’s worth noting that television broadcasting started in 1953. Along with “Hanauri Musume,” I recall passionately cheering for Rikidozan on the street-side television.


食べごろに 熟した杏に 眠気さし

In the haiku by Saisei Muroo, there is a line that says, ‘Apricots are sweet and people are sleepy.’ It’s a line that makes you wonder what makes it a haiku, but you can still sense the feeling behind it. A ripe Anzu looks inherently sweet, and perhaps due to the thin covering of fuzz around it, it gives a soft and cozy impression, reminiscent of a futon. Anzu bloom slightly earlier than cherry blossoms and bear pale pink flowers similar to plums. They enter the harvesting season from June to July, and the Anzu fruits, resembling plums, ripen to a bright orange-yellow color, with the flesh taking on a reddish tint and easily separating from the pit. Anzu have a long history in Japan, as they are mentioned in the oldest Japanese pharmacological book called ‘Honzo Wamyo’ (918 AD). They were originally called ‘Karamomo’ at that time, and the name ‘Anzu’ came into use during the Edo period. Initially cultivated for medicinal purposes, their beautiful flowers led to their early use for ornamental purposes, and they became widely popular among the common people during the Edo period. Nowadays, they are not only consumed fresh but also widely cherished as jams. The main producing prefectures are Aomori and Nagano, which account for about 98% of the national production, with the top producer prefecture changing every year.

室生犀星の俳句に「杏あまさうな人は 睡むさうな」と言うのがあります。どこが俳句なのかなと思える句です。しかし感じは分かります。熟した杏は見るからに甘そうで、周りが薄毛で覆われているせいかほんわりとしていて布団を連想します。杏は桜よりもやや早く、梅によく似た淡紅色の花を咲かせます。6 〜7月には収穫期を迎え、ウメによく似た果実は橙黄色に熟し、果肉は赤みを帯びて核と離れやすくなります。日本に渡来したのはかなり古く、日本最古の本草書『本草和名』(918年)に「杏子」の記載があります。当時は「カラモモ」と読んだそうで、「アンズ」と呼ぶ様になったのは江戸時代からだと言われています。渡来当初は薬用として栽培されていましたが、花が綺麗なので、早くから鑑賞用としても用いられ、江戸時代には広く庶民にも行き渡った様です。今では生食用としてはもちろん、主にジャムとして愛用されています。生産県は青森県と長野県で、この二県で全国の約98%を生産し、毎年トップが入れ替わっています。

鬼百合が 天蓋よろしく 陽を隠し

The heat is intensifying day by day. It seems that there were several areas today that experienced scorching heat exceeding 35 degrees Celsius. Standing on a small elevated area surrounded by trees, Oni-yuri (devil lilies) are blooming, resembling a canopy placed upon them. Oni-yuri is also known as “Tengai-yuri (canopy lily),” precisely because they serve as a canopy that conceals the sun. A canopy refers to a parasol-shaped decorative object that is hung over Buddhist statues, teachers, coffins, and the like. The Oni-yuri’s resemblance to this canopy gave rise to the name “Tengai-yuri.” The Oniyuri is said to have been named based on its ability to bloom large flowers and its orange petals that evoke the image of a red demon. However, it’s a little cruel to call such a lovely flower a “Oni-yuri (devil lily).” Its English name is said to be “Tiger Lily,” but if it were up to me, I would call it “Betty Lily.” There used to be an animated character named Betty with freckles, and whenever I see the Oni-yuri, it always reminds me of that Betty-chan.

日に日に暑さが募ります。今日も35度を超える猛暑日を迎えた地域が何箇所かあった様です。木々に囲まれた小高い所に立つ鬼百合が被さる様に花を咲かせています。鬼百合は別名「天蓋百合」とも言いますが、まさしく陽を隠してくれる天蓋です。天蓋とは仏像・導師・棺などにさしかけてつるす、笠状の装飾品のことです。鬼百合の花がこの天蓋に似ていることが「天蓋百合」の由来です。鬼百合は、大きな花を咲かせることや、オレンジ色の花びらが赤鬼をイメージさせることから名付けられたらしいですが、こんな可愛い花に「鬼百合」とはちょっと可哀想です。英名でも「Tiger I don’t Lily」と呼ぶそうですが、僕なら「Betty Lily」と呼びます。昔、そばかすのあるベティと言うアニメキャラクターがあって、鬼百合を見るといつもそのベティちゃんを思い出すからです。

道に咲く 初夏の花らに 励まされ

“An outstanding characteristic of the Japanese national temperament is the innate love for flowers even among the common people. If the love for flowers as a national characteristic is considered proof of the cultural level of a society, then it seems that the common people of Japan are far superior to those of our country”. These are the famous words of Robert Fortune, a plant hunter from the British East India Company who came to Japan in the late Edo period. The Japanese fondness for flowers was already known to plant hunters from around the world during the late Edo period, and many plant hunters and flower merchants visited Japan. They were surprised to find cacti and aloe, which were unknown in China, already being appreciated in Japan, as well as strawberries from England being sold. The passion for gardening among the people of Edo can also be seen through ukiyo-e prints. They depict people enjoying various flowers at home, as well as showcasing selective breeding, variations, and chrysanthemum shaping, which were renowned as spectacles. The depiction of people admiring plants during that time is not so different from us in the present day. This tradition has been passed down to the present, and many tourists from around the world flock to Japan to see the cherry blossoms and various other flowers throughout the four seasons.


紫陽花と 下田港は こぬか雨

Already in the Chuuka season (the season from June 6th to July 6th), the sunrays that shine through the gaps in the rainy season have been growing stronger day by day. However, the white clouds beyond the sky are not the clouds of midsummer. When entering the shade, it still feels chilly, almost as if a cool breeze is blowing. In the photo sent from Shimoda, Izu, vibrant hydrangeas are depicted in colors that cannot be seen here. I wonder if there’s even a drizzle of rain falling, and in the distance, Shimoda fishing port appears faintly veiled. It seems that Shimoda is currently having a hydrangea festival. As it’s a place I have visited several times since I was young, a sense of nostalgia wells up within me.
Today is the day for my injection, which comes once every three months. Upon entering the Red Cross Hospital in Osaka, Uehommachi, I noticed the names and words of encouragement of the staff members who have been dispatched for Ukraine support displayed. In hopes of their safety and an early ceasefire in Ukraine, I instinctively boarded the escalator and headed towards the reception.


もったいない 落ちた山桃 踏ん付けて

I always see two large Yama-nomo trees planted in the garden of the sports gym I go to. One of the trees is full of ripe Yama-nomo fruits. There are plenty of fallen fruits around its roots, but most of them have been stepped on and crushed. What’s a wast!. However, since it faces the street, you hesitate to pick the fruits from the tree. In the park too, there is also a place where Yama-nomo trees are planted. Several people gather there, pluck the fruits from the trees, put them in bags, or enjoy eating them. The only drawback is that the seeds are large, but the fruits are pleasantly tart and quite delicious. They used to sell them in stores in the past, but these days they are hard to find. Yama-nomo trees have both male and female trees, but even the female trees can bear fruits on their own. This is because the pollen from the male flowers floats in the air and can travel far away. It is even said that they bear fruits through pollen that flew all the way from China.


現世(うつしよ)の 初夏を飾った バラの花

The roses bloomed earlier than usual and have almost finished blooming, and now it’s the season of hydrangeas. Hydrangea gardens everywhere are in full bloom. Lately, there’s no time to leisurely reflect on the changing seasons, although Kenko Hosshi said, ‘It is precisely in the changing of the seasons that things are transient and flavor.’ Since the New Year, not only plants but also the natural changes have been occurring one to ten days earlier. Before you know it, flowers bloom, and before you know it, they scatter, making way for the flowers of the next season. The roses, sensitive to climate fluctuations, bloom earlier than usual, while the tranquil roses bloom as usual. Thanks to this, it feels like the period when roses are blooming this year was longer than usual. The world has completely changed compared to 40 or 50 years ago, and even the natural environment has undergone a complete transformation. I worry about the future, whether this change will bring good fortune or misfortune for the next generation.


ルピナスは 怪盗ルパンも 植えた花

Once again this year, the Lupine flowers are blooming beautifully. In Japanese, they are called ‘Noborifuji’ (climbing wisteria) or ‘Tachifuji” (standing wisteria), which refers to their resemblance to wisteria flowers blooming from bottom to top. Indeed, if you turn the photo upside down, they look just like wisteria flowers. However, unlike wisteria, Lupine flowers come in a wide variety of colors, such as red, pink, purple, and yellow. Originally native to North and South America, they are said to be distributed in over 200 species worldwide. I remember there was a restaurant called ‘Rupan’ somewhere, and I thought that it was named after the famous fictional thief Arsène Lupin from the globally renowned detective novel ‘Arsène Lupin, but instead of that, I once heard from the owner that Lupine is called “Rupan” in French. Speaking of which, in the novel, Phantom Thief Lupine is depicted planting Lupine flowers in his garden during his later years. Nowadays, if you mention Lupin, most young people would probably think of the anime character Lupin III. By the way, the English name is ‘Lupin,’ spelled the same as in French.


デュランタも 初夏を思わす 涼し花

From the hedge along the well-traveled road, Duranta is once again gracefully hanging its flowers this year. Among the numerous purple blooms, only Duranta has flowers with white edges. The refreshing appearance of these flowers brings to mind wisteria, but they are smaller and exude an elegant and dignified charm. It is said that there are approximately 30 species of Duranta, primarily found in Central and South America. The variety I am currently seeing is called Duranta Takarazuka. In Japan, three types are popular: Takarazuka, the white-flowered Duranta, and Duranta Lime, which does not produce flowers. Duranta Lime, despite not flowering, is favored for its beautiful leaves that are a shade between green and yellow, resembling the color of citrus fruit lime. All of them are tropical plants and rarely bear fruit in Japan, but it seems they bear fruit abundantly in tropical regions.


ラズベリー 季節を刻んで また一つ

The fruits of loquat, plum, and raspberry all enter their harvest season during the rainy season. I often find myself bewildered by the rapid transition of seasons. While raspberries are not a very popular ingredient, they have become increasingly common in gardens recently. Raspberries were introduced to Japan in 1873 (Meiji 6) by the Hokkaido Development Commission, which imported 14 raspberry varieties and 5 blackberry varieties from America. However, due to differences in culinary culture at the time and the lack of established cultivation techniques, raspberries were not widely grown in Japan. In recent years, with changes in dietary habits, fresh raspberries are being used in recipes, and raspberry jam, in particular, remains popular. In Japan, they are also known as “kiichigo.” The season when raspberry flowers bloom is April to May, and the season when the fruits ripen is June to July. There are also biennial varieties of raspberries that bear fruit twice a year, and they can be harvested again in September to October.