This is the third of my personal reports of the International Clematis Society Conference and Visit to Japan this year, and features some aspects of Japanese culture as well as clematis related matters. (Click here for report 1 and report 2.)
We visited a number of nurseries during the visit, with many interesting Japanese grown hybrids and cultivars. But one feature which I have not seen before was how Durandii are grown and trained for harvesting as cut flowers. A grid of thin nylon line is tied above a table of pots of Durandii, about 30 cm above the soil level. A second grid is constructed in a similar manner but at twice that height. The Durandii are grown up through these grids, which support them as they get taller. Then when at a suitable height they are cut off with a pair of shears. So simple yet so effective.
Think of Japan and most people think of Bonsai (some of us also think of sushi and sake, but that is another story!). As we walked from our coach to one of the nurseries, a neighbour had placed his collection of Bonsai out on show for our pleasure. This miniature tree in blossom, perfectly formed in every detail, is a tribute to the love, care and attention such a dedicated grower gives his or her collection.
We were honoured to be invited to visit the private garden of Mr and Mrs Sudo. It is a beautiful example of everything you might dream a Japanese garden should be. The time and patience someone has spent designing it down to the last detail. Stop at any place in the garden and there is something of interest and beauty, be it a flower framed by a tree, the "gravel" stream meandering amongst the rocks, a real pond with wonderfully graceful Koi (certainly not your average goldfish, these must be all of 50 - 75 cm long and swim so gracefully), or as in the photo on the left, a clematis in front of a classical lantern. On the right you'll see Mr Sudo in animated conversation with Meelis and Kulvi Kaus, two of our Estonian members.
However Japanese culture includes many forms of garden and another is the Rock Garden. We saw a classic example of this when we visited Ryoanji Temple. There is a strange tranquillity and stillness about the garden. A great place to sit and contemplate..... anything!
I will finish with a few photos of people, courtesy of Werner Stastny. The finale of our Conference in Sagamihara was a formal banquet hosted by the Mayor of Sagamihara City, Isao San (I hope I have this title correct!). After a welcoming speach from the Mayor and reply by our President, Malcolm Oviatt-Ham, we were wined and dined in style as well as entertained with classical Japanese music from one of the leading virtuosos. The picture shows the Mayor having just been presented by Malcolm Oviatt-Ham with a commemorative silk tie hand decorated with Clematis, and visibly very pleased with this gift.
Since Werner has been good enough to provide some photos, I thought it only fair to feature him in one. To the right we have Werner Stastny, Ulf Svensson and Helga Lundstrom, outside a lunchtime restaurant. What I don't know is who's holding the camera!
And finally, to prove it's not all clematis on these trips, here we have Maurice Horn and Pamela Takeshige admiring one of the many species of bamboo at Kanagawa Prefectures Ofuna Botanical Garden.
Click here for report 1 and report 2.
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