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Summer is coming

We had our first mosquito in the house and I wasted no time in going online to find insect repellent. They have «anti-mosquito coils» here, or katorisenko. I also wanted the pig. You can use the coils with the holder that comes with it, but these pigs are very popular here (and cute!).

I had to cut back a lot of my plants (violets, roses, sanchu) due to these little bugs and some mold, and they are slowly coming back to life. I hope the bugs will stay away this time.

I also got some lavender from my mother-in-law, and I bought another one myself after a trip to the dentist. I must admit, I never realised that lavenders actually bloom! My image of lavender was just of the purple buds.

I also experimented putting a potato that had gotten a bit old in a pot and it is growing impressively! I might have to get a bigger pot for this, though I am not sure if this will even yield any new potatoes. I often go into things without any thought or research, it’s a weakness.

My little garden makes me happy, though I worry about the oncoming heat of summer, if my little plants will make it.

After deleting twitter and instagram off my phone, I have started a bit of a new morning routine. It consists of getting up as early as is possible (for me; 6am) and putting on the kettle. While waiting for the water to boil I out in a load of laundry (if the weather is nice) and then I go and clean off all the cat hair from my arm chair. After putting the hot water in the tea pot with the tea, I take out my dry mop and sweep over the apartment, and afterwards I use a brush on the carpet. Even with doing it every day it is amazing how much hair I get. Keeping a long-haired cat is no joke.

If it is a nice day I will also go out on the balcony and check over my little «garden» and water if necessary. Once the tea is done, I sit down in my newly cleaned armchair, put on something on youtube and knit. Or read, depending on the mood.

I have also started seeing hydrangeas around the neighborhood, signaling that the rainy season is close. Before coming to Japan I never paid much attention to the plants and seasons. It mostly was like, if the leaves were changing colour then it’s autumn, if it’s snowing then it is winter, if the snow is melting and dandelions are popping up it is spring, and if it is green and sunny and hot it is summer.

But here; hydrangeas (I wouldn’t even know the name of these flowers back home) mean it is rainy season, then comes summer with cicadas and sunflowers, maple leaves and cosmos and bright red spider lilies are autumn, violets and plum blossoms and camellia in winter, early spring with magnolia blossoms and full spring with its cherry blossoms followed by nemophila and wisteria.

Also wouldn’t be May without plums! Last year I made plum syrup which I enjoyed (more than when I made plum wine) so I got some plums and rock sugar to make again this year. I am thinking of doing it this weekend.

A farewell to spring flowers

Violets have long been my favourite flowers.

While the typical image of spring in Japan is that of the ever beautiful cherry blossoms, they only grace us with their presence for an instant. The flowers that greet you daily from every flowerbed winter throughout spring are the violets and pansies.

In front of every house, company, station; flowerbeds full of pansies and violets in every colour, a colourful blanket stretching across the city, prefecture, nation-wide.

My own balcony garden also consisted of these two. (And some orange daisies)

However, as spring was nearing its close, my little garden was devastaded by aphids. Too many to save my little flowers. I had to start over from scratch.

At the same time, the rain season rolled in, and with it hydrangeas took over. Everywhere you look there are pink, blue, and purple hudrangeas softening the blow of the gloomy weather.

The rain also seems to have taken away with it all the pansies and violets that used to cover the city. In their place, marigold and sunflowers are planted, yellow and orange to welcome in the summer and sun.

(There are a bunch of other flowers too but I do not know their names. I should invest in a flower dictionary.)

The season of violets have passed, at the home center where they had been so abundant earlier not a petal was left. The new season’s flowers are in and so my garden too must reflect this change. My marigold has yet to blossom for me, but the radiant yellow suns of the mini sunflowers have begun peeking out.

I wonder what changes autumn will bring?