Tag: garden

Gentle Soul

During a brief visit to Australia last year, after a separation of about 40 years I got to meet a schoolmate who I had greatly admired as a teen-ager, and he referred to me as someone “who always was a gentle soul.”

It was one of the, if not the, nicest things anyone has ever said about me, in my opinion.

Having something like that said about you would likely impress most, and I was deeply moved.

It touched me enough that I remember it now, months later, when I struggle to recall anything that has happened just hours earlier.

Unfortunately, even had I truly been a gentle soul as a youth, my track record in life provides little to suggest the assertion is a correct one.

In fact, given any authority or responsibility over anyone or anything, I have almost singularly been a cunt. I was a terrible bully as a manager, have struggled to make and maintain friendships, survived some relationships only because I was blessed to have encountered saints and was an abject failure as a father. I can’t even be gentle to myself (even though I thoroughly excel in self-indulgence!)

And I don’t see a great deal of gentleness in my mind even now, as an old man. In fact, more than gentle soul, there is a great deal more arsehole.

My mind races and I am full of fear, anxiety, bitterness and anger!

But….I have moments when I feel gentle. I got one this morning as I worked in my garden. I love my garden. My parents loved gardening. Dad did part-time gardening jobs for rich neighbors for all the part of his life that I knew him. I should have developed a natural affinity for horticulturalism.

But I hated gardening as a youngster and had no interest, apart from a brief attempt at growing flowers a couple of decades ago.

Moving to Kangaeroo Corner, Mrs. Kangaeroo chose our apartment because it had a garden, which she felt we needed as a place for me to maintain and repair our bicycles.

She later found the amazing Alex Endo, who creates Aussie native plant gardens in and around Tokyo, as I have written about on a few occasions.

And the transformation began….I am smitten by my garden. And being in it makes me feel serene. (Except when I think of how to keep the lawn green in its entirety, in which case I will wake in terror in the middle of the night.)

I don’t often feel that calm….maybe when going out somewhere with my wife (except shopping) and being with my pet dinosaur (when she is calm). And, of course, when I cycle.

Spring is approaching and I look forward to learning and enjoying more in the garden. It’s already starting to look pretty bloody good.

Maybe it will make me a truly gentle soul in my dealings with others?

The Fountain of Strewth!

The Fountain of Strewth

Has Kangaeroo mentioned that he’s got a garden?

And he loves it!

Just in case he hasn’t, let me remind you again that Kangaeroo Corner is a little Aussie plants garden in comfy outer suburb of Tokyo.

And playing a prominent role in that Aussie garden is the Fountain of Strewth.

At first glance, there seems to be nothing untoward about the fountain (which is actually a bird bath with a solar-power water sprayer, but still….).

Except, of course, that few Tokyo homes have a fountain.

But this is a little special, and that’s where the strewth factor comes into play.

Despite looking like a classical antique work, the bird bath is made of plastic and was as cheap as chips.

But it’s the actual fountain (well, water sprayer), where the real wonder is.

Kangaeroo has tried several of these solar-powered sprayers over the year or so since the garden first sprouted.

They were bought from Aliexpres.com, purveyor of puerile plastics, and most of them performed with the lack of reliability that could be expected.

Except for the current fountain, which went into operation in August last year and has not stopped pumping whenever sunlight has hit it since, even after being frozen over in the sub-zero temperatures last month.

And the birds love it! We get pretty much daily visits from the birdies, though the neighbors aren’t too keen on that development.

Without doubt, the Fountain of Strewth is one of the Seven Wonders of Kangaeroo Corner.

Let There Be Lights

Kangaeroo Corner has got one of the greatest gardens in Tokyo, at least according to Kangaeroo, and one of its features its the extensive lighting.

Alongside the mostly Aussie native plants adorning the garden are plenty of garden ornaments of Australian native animals and birds.

The kangaroos, koalas and various types of avian life such as a kookaburra, cockatoo and galah, are lit up using solar-powered garden lights.

Much to Mrs. Kangaeroo’s chagrin, Kangaeroo adores these garden lights.

And the growing length of sunshine each day as spring approaches affords each lighter with a greater charge of its battery, which keeps the garden well-lit, well past the onset of darkness.

And while Mrs. Kanageroo was off working over the weekend, Kanageroo took advantage of the fact.

It is is nearly always easier to apologize in Japan than to ask for permission.

As a result, Kangaeroo Coven now has a new set of lights, and they were put in place for all to adore well before any objection could be made.

And the lights are brighter and more powerful than ever before, literally focusing a spotlight on the garden’s centerpiece, life-sized kangaroo sculpture, highlighting the kookaburra sitting in the old wattle tree and shedding light on the garden overall.

Grass is Greener….Here, And Not On the Other Side!

Kangaeroo Corner’s garden is about to enter is second spring, and is currently going through its first winter. And its grass is greener than could ever be imagined…literally!

Although Kangaeroo comes from a family of avid gardeners, he had never really had a chance to do much gardening.

Only an unfortunate attempt at a balcony garden during penthouse living at the turn of the century had afforded itself, with less than promising results that were later to dwindle away to nothing.

Until Kangaeroo Corner came into being, and with it a garden.

It was an ounce of luck, actually, as the garden had been sought to provide a place to service the Kangaeroo cycling fleet.

But large-scale maintenance repairs that shut off most of the garden and the chance discovery of a gardener nearby who specializes in Aussie plants, and next thing you know, Kangaeroo has got an Aussie garden.

The first year has been a largely learning experience. Summer humidity and over-watering cost a few plants, most agonizingly the kangaroo paw that looked so beautiful and had taken a place in Kangaeroo’s heart.

Moving into winter has driven many plants dormant, but in general, the garden is thriving. And the lawn is doing exceptionally well.

Japanese grasses tend to go dormant and brown from the late autumn. Kangaeroo is also using a Japanese lawn, but has also blended it with a bluegrass that stays fairly green all year-round.

The lawn was brown and patchy until a few weeks ago, when Kangaeroo came across the suggestion to rake lawns to make them healthier, exposing them to greater air and light.

Giving it a burl, Kangaeroo was delighted to discover the lawn becoming verdant.

Next job is to start propagating seeds, then plant and give away.

What fun! Not much room to fix the treadlies as initially planned, but the beautiful garden is a priceless gift that will only get better.

F.R.O. 2022

As 2022 draws to a close, Kangaeroo will be glad to see the back of it.

There was plenty to be grateful for: a happy marriage, closer relationships with children, excellent friends, a life filled with love, family reunions, delightful garden, a full year of employment, generally good health.

For all of these, I am deeply thankful.

There was much about the year that was extremely satisfying, and I am filled with thanks for that, too.

But overall, 2022 was a year of loss. It is been, and remains, an excruciatingly painful time, despite all of the above.

One loss that didn’t occur in 2022 was hope. Although Kangaeroo is angry, bitter and resentful, mainly due to fear, there is hope that better things lie on the horizon.

May 2023 bring a new outlook on dealing with loss and fear that amplifies those losses so they seem more important than they are.

And may all those associated with Kangaeroo in any way at all be able to see the joys that took place in 2022 and thrive in the coming year. Love and best wishes to all!

(But 2022 can fuck right off!)

Winter Welcomes Bountiful Birds to Tokyo’s Tama

Winter hit Tokyo for real.

Just less than a week away from Christmas, the mild weather has ended.

At least for today.

It’s cold and bleak.

And dark.

December in Japan is dark.

In Tokyo, it doesn’t get light until about 6:30 in the morning.

And by 4 p.m., it’s dark.

Only a few days to the winter solstice.

The days will slowly start to get longer.

But the new year also ushers in the cold.

Still, there is some brightness on the horizon.

Kangaeroo’s garden has attracted some lovely visitors.

Among them, Japanese tits and brown-eared bulbuls.

The birdbath was a great idea.

And the shoddy Chinese fountain is working wonderfully!

Nurturing the Soul

British Poet Laureate Alfred Austin once wrote, “To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the bodybut the soul.” Kangaeroo is getting to find that out.

Gardening never really meant much to Kangaeroo, other than getting dragged out of bed as a youth on Saturday mornings to mow the bloody lawn with an antiquated, run-down Victa lawnmower.

Never the most energetic or enthusiastic of people at the best of times, the onerous task colored Kangaeroo’s views on gardening for decades, despite all family members showing a penchant and delight for gardening.

Having spent the vast majority of those aforementioned decades in Japan, where apartment life had been the norm and having a garden, even on a balcony, was rarely an issue, gardening was something that barely entered Kangaeroo’s consciousness.

However, having been blessed by circumstance and the amazing Alex Endo, gardening has become a daily delight.

Who could have dreamed that search and destroy missions for weeds could be so much fun?

And it’s a delight to enjoy the neighbors’ gardens, too, as well as to share information with them on the delights of getting out in the garden.

Fortunately, if a less-than-successful year so far, if nothing else the warmer months of 2022 in Tokyo have had finer than usual weather, which has also made the garden even more enjoyable.

The Aussie animals filling Kangaeroo’s garden are sure enjoying it, and so are the neighborhood cats and birds who are donating their unprocessed fertilizers!