Land of the Rising Sun and Musical Interludes

Have you noticed that everything’s a journey these days especially on the tellybox, everybody’s at it from butchers, bakers and garden makers

Well my lovely reader, not being one to shy away from the trend I too have been on a journey, both a personal one and a professional one. However as this is not “The Only Way is Gardening” you’ll be pleased to know that there will be no extended periods of navel gazing just lots of pictures of plants and gardens. Mostly mine in this post, but then again this is my blog so I think its allowed. There will be a more balanced approach in further posts I promise.

As some of you may know I was one of five designers from England chosen to have a design in The International Residential Garden Show held in the grounds of Huisten Bosh Nagasaki home of The Gardening World Cup.

There were lots of times during this trip I wish I’d had my camera to hand, not least the journey from the airport to my hotel. Traveling through the streets of Nagasaki by bus gives you an excellent view into gardens, which for a nosey Garden Designer was a treat. Lots of allotment style gardens with black loamy soil growing some plants I recognised and others which although I have grown before such as Colocasia or Elephants Ears I had never though of as edible (further research has lead me to believe they are) and lots of cloud pruning.

Further out of Nagasaki the landscape changed to take in fewer houses and more fields. Now being from a farming county fields are a common sight in Herefordshire, these however were paddy fields of a most glorious acid green and not surrounded by hedges but swathes of crimson Lycoris radiata also known as the hurricane lily. The sides of the hills were terraced with more paddy fields cutting onto forests populated by huge bamboos… stunning.

So far, so verbose, so it must be time for some pictures.

Nothing prepares you for Huis Ten Bosh, the scale of the place is epic as is the legendary piped music. You walk past the train station and over the bridge and bam, goodbye Japan

Last glimpse of Japan for a few days
Last glimpse of Japan for a few days

and hello Holland. It’s not often my journey to work takes me past windmills and canals.

Toto we're definitely not in Kansas anymore
Toto we’re definitely not in Kansas anymore

And so to the grounds surrounding a replica dutch palace where my garden was starting to take shape….

Before
Before

…..and working with the ever cheerful Mr Ichinose and the ever resourceful Mr Masaki together we turned and empty plot into a little slice of England.

After
After

The irony of recreating a traditional British cottage garden in a replica Dutch town in Japan was not lost on me lovely reader.

We had everything you could need in this type of garden…..

Vegetables, salad and hidden treasures
Vegetables, salad and hidden treasures

……including naughty invisible chickens laying eggs in random places……

Herbs, aromatics and vegetables jostling for space
Herbs, aromatics vegetables and salad jostling for space

…..borders stuffed to the gunnels with a feast for the eyes, nose and stomach…….

Overflowing
Overflowing

…..so stuffed in fact the garden overflowed under the fence……

Intermingling perennials and annuals cottage stylie
Intermingling perennials and annuals cottage stylie

…..but in all the hustle and bustle of jostling plants my favourite spot…..

Quiet spot for reflection perfect for catching up on the latest Cottage Herbery tome
Quiet spot for reflection perfect for catching up on the latest Cottage Herbery tome

….somewhere quiet to take time out, and reflect on the garden and its visitors…..

Garden proving popular with the locals
Garden proving popular with the locals
Plant it and they will come
Plant it and they will come
Hide and Seek
Hide and Seek

Hide and seek seemed a popular game amongst the four and two legged visitors to the garden and I’ll leave you with perhaps my favourite picture, a little boy playing in the garden with his Mum.

Inspiring a new generation through play
Inspiring a new generation through play

A journey starts with a single step…..

A little bit of England
A little bit of England

…….well that’s what they say, I’m not sure who ‘they’ are but it seems quite sensible when you think about it. Im not sure that anybody has ever said ‘a journey stats with a single coffee and an almond croissant’ although quite sage advice it’s probably not often given. Yet that my lovely reader is exactly how this journey started.

‘So where are you off to?’ I hear you say. Well actually Japan (or as I write this blog post), not actually Japan. This particular pastry fuelled journey is to The World Cup of Gardening in Nagasaki.

Back in May over croissants and coffee, sheltering from the rain in the press tent at Malvern Show I was chatting with Jonathan of Ginger Horticulture as you do and the subject of The Japan Garden and Flower Show (also known as the Gardening World Cup) came up. In a moment of Almond fuelled madness I thought I might just go for that.

To cut a very long story short that’s exactly what I did. A few weeks later Design Proposals, Construction Drawings and Planting Plans were all flying through the ether via file sharing sites from our office to Japan. Ten days after that a PDF of the chosen designers was whinging its way back to Worcestershire and there was my name.

I’m surprised I didn’t sustain an air-punch RSI I was so excited. What makes it somewhat sweeter is after everything in the press about women designers not taking part in Garden Design Shows this one is. I may be the only one from England this year, but it’s a start.

Now it’s a lot easier and cheaper to send files to Japan than it is to send a Garden Designer. As a business we have to all those sexy things like corporation tax, vat and wages to pay which this year doesn’t leave much in the – sending designers abroad fund. I’ve looked at the options of a Top Gear style Road Trip but to be honest, although I love my Shogun I’m not sure it’ll make it. Next came the terrific notion of corporate sponsorship, well we though it was terrific, the sponsors less so.

So after much thought and everybody telling us we should look at Crowdfunding, guess what, that’s what we’re going to do.

If you think you can help by making a donation, that would be amazing, but getting my story out there to help me get to Japan would be pretty amazing too. The link is below if you feel like sharing……….. perhaps this particular part of the journey will actually start with a single click.

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/a-place-for-nature-and-nurture

Thank you