Tag: Spring

Paws and Reflect

Possibly the most meaningful part of my Australian seeds experiment arose today when I transplanted my kangaroo paw seedlings.

The great experiment, which I expected would result in me proving to have a green thumb and presenting all my gardening mates with exotic plants has proven only that I am all thumbs.

I’ve killed nearly everything I planted, even the everlasting daises and golden everlastings that appeared to be growing so well.

I bumped them off by putting them in a hothouse on a boiling hot day, then giving too much fertilizer to the plants that survived.

A desert pea also looked promising, but I over-fertilized that, too.

I have a tray full of dwarf wattle ready for transplanting, a single honeysuckle banksia that can probably be nurtured under growth lights a little longer and a heath banksia that appears doom after being affected by mold.

Given the nature of my blog persona and the role of kangaroo decorations in the garden, though, it was the kangaroo paw that I most wanted to succeed.

It’s a pretty ominous role to be assigned, actually, because every plant in Kangaeroo Corner that I have most wanted to thrive–tree fern, jacaranda and mature versions of kangaroo paw planted when the garden was started–have all died or struggled.

Anyway, I started today by placing a layer of stones at the bottom of a pot, covering it with a layer or nutrient-rich potting mix bended with peat moss and then covering that with soil especially for Australian native plants.

I then gently removed the kangaroo paw seedlings from the growth pods where they had thrived over the past few weeks.

With customary clumsiness, I managed to kill off a couple of seedlings along the way, but eventually planted them all in the same pot.

I then gave the pot a good dose of water and left it in the sun with lots of prayers for success.

Last year, I killed the kangaroo paw in the garden through over-watering amid the summer humidity, only learning later that my treatment was almost the guaranteed method for ensuring the lovely flowers from Australia’s arid regions would wither and die. Oh, well. Live and learn and sorry to the adorable plants.

Potting the kangaroo paws topped off an absolutely outstanding day that would have been perfect had I been able to spend it with Mrs. Kangaeroo, but it still came bloody close to perfection anyway.

I woke early, cleaned and oiled my bike and headed off at a fierce pace, backed by a gentle tailwind.

I made it to Tokyo Tower where I met many old friends for the first time in years and had a wonderful surprise of having a packet of Iced VoVos waiting for me: a gift from a Melbourne friend who has since headed off to a separate part of the country.

Later, a group of us went off to the nearby ANA Intercontinental Hotel and had an enormous buffet breakky, where the interesting and enjoyable conversation continued.

We spent a couple of hours reminiscing, but then had to go our separate ways.

I wanted to get home quick as the dinosaur was in her cage and was probably itching to get out and about, and I was still a couple of hours away.

I rode back in the delightful spring sunshine.

Fortunately, there was almost no wind, which was a blessing as we have had strong winds daily for weeks now.

As I rode along Koshu Kaido, headed for home, I realized I was looking at a record unique for me.

My average speed for the ride was exceeding 30 km/h.

It’s not unheard of for me over short distances, but I was still over the 30 km/h mark with more than 50 km ridden.

I only had 20 km to go on terrain I knew well and felt confident I could maintain the speed.

I’ve never maintained such speed over such a distance, my most notable record of sustained pace being a 180 km-ride at about 28 km/h a few years ago.

But that was when my cycling was thriving.

The past couple of years, my cycling ability has declined thanks to injuries, illness, aging, priorities, weight gain and opportunities, to name a few factors.

So I felt chuffed to be presented with this chance.

And the glorious sunshine was making it even more appealing.

An amazing, unseasonably clear view of Mount Fuji threatened to thwart my attempt at this record, though.

As I hit the Tamagawa Cycling Road for what I regarded as the home stretch, I stopped to take a photo.

There will be other chances to create cycling records.

Seeing Mount Fuji with the opportunity to take a photo is a rare blessing that demands addressing.

So, I stopped and took some shots.

It was totally worth it.

And when I got back on the bike, I got to maintain the speed I’d been looking for.

It was a delightful reward when I got home.

But not as delightful as the pleasure-filled greeting the dinosaur gave me when I got back and let her loose.

We spent the next few hours playing together, vegging out and eating.

I’ve even managed to save a couple of Iced VoVos for Mrs. Kangaeroo (but probably only because I managed to pick up some Choco-Chip GariGarikun, which I hope might be the seasonal flavor for the early summer).

She should be home any minute now and I am looking forward to seeing her.

Golden Girl

La Cangura is the name of my bike, a beautiful gunmetal and gold-trimmed machine from Orbea, a manufacturer from Spain, hence the name (which means The Kangaroo in English).

She looks delightful in among the canola, the yellow hues of the bike and the flowers a wonderful match.

Just wish I was having as much luck with my flowers and other plants in the Kangaeroo Corner garden.

I’m relatively new to the gardening caper, only having really taken a great interest in it since Amazing Alex made the Aussie garden for us in March 2022.

While the garden is, for the most part, thriving, as I noted a while back, the plants I really wanted to flourish–kangaroo paw, tree fern and jacaranda– all died.

A grevillea we picked up from a local supermarket was our first-year miracle, blooming six times and looking absolutely wonderful before suddenly taking a turn for the worst about a month ago.

With the onset of spring, I expected the existing plants in the garden and the new seedlings I have been growing since around Christmas last year to all thrive and create a lusciously colorful slice of paradise.

Yeah, good luck with that one.

Anyway, we got back in touch with Alex and received some advice on fertilizer that we hope will give the trees a bit of a lift.

Fertilizers designed for Australian native plants are also on the way and should arrive today.

My seedlings are looking sickly, so I took the feeblest of the lot back inside and reinstalled them in the humidity pods under the growth lights.

The great seed experiment has not really paid off well at all, but it is still far from over.

Patience, never something I have been overly endowed with, is now being required.

The weather is not being a great friend, either. This week has been alarmingly windy and I am sure it is not making things easy for the plants, either.

A few delightful success stories from the spring so far have been the blossoming wattle, the cherry blossom plant and the wisteria, which is now verging on full bloom if the wind doesn’t blow away all her petals.

None of these plants bloomed last year, so they are clearly enjoying the conditions at Kangaeroo Corner.

Let’s hope other plants will end up doing the same.

Blowin’ In The Wind

Tokyo spring tends to be windy, and it is blowing up a gale in the suburbs of the Japanese capital right now.

This morning I got to fly for a few kilometers, backed by a tremendous tailwind.

Of course, barring a meteorological miracle, where there’s a tailwind, there’s almost always a headwind that needs to be addressed.

So, while the first stage of the ride literally flew by in no time, the home straight was a much greater grind.

Still, it did allow me the time to stop and take a look at the late-blooming cherry blossoms, with a stretch of the Asa River adorned with yaezakura and kizakura.

Getting strung out by my garden, too. Some of the seedlings are struggling, and so are a number of my Aussie trees.

We received recommended fertilizer today, but it wasn’t the type designed for Australian native plants that I had expected, which needs to be lower in phosphorus than regular fertilizers.

I have ordered some Aussie native plant fertilizers, but hadn’t received notice on when it would be delivered, so I contacted the seller. Hopefully, it will work the wonders I’m expecting.

In the meantime, I’ve moved some of the struggling seedlings back inside and under the growth lights. I’m praying that will give them something of a pick-me-up.

Marching Onward

March draws to a close today, ending the first quarter of the calendar year for 2023 in what seems a stunningly speedy period.

Time is, of course, relative.

Each year, the relative amount of time each period occupies in our whole lives is shorter.

So. it’s only natural that time seems to pass quicker.

At least, that’s how I think it works.

Spring is beautiful in Tokyo, especially when it’s not raining.

After a disjointed week for all sorts of reasons, I got to ride this morning as usual.

With the spate of repairs that I carried out and diminishing functionality, I’ve lost a lot of my nerve.

But on long, straight stretches, I can ride to my heart’s content, and loved doing so this morning.

I was rewarded in lots of ways, such as getting to suck the wheel of a young feller who rushed up behind me, overtook and then gained the pleasure of shielding me from the wind for the rest of our journey together.

In addition, I go to see some wonderful cherry blossoms on one of my favorite sections of the morning ride. And there was added mist for effect, too.

More than anything, it’s Friday. A busy day ahead (grueling and demanding might be a more accurate description)

Putting the ‘Ning’ Into Gardening

Despite parents who were avid gardeners – Dad even worked as a part-time gardener – and growing up surrounded by greenery, I never got into horticultural pursuits until I got a plot of my own and became enthralled, even though I’m a bloody ning-nong in the yard.

I don’t really know what I am doing and have a garden of Aussie plants that probably need a little bit of special care because of the climatic conditions they may not be suited for.

It’s a case of live and learn, but I love it. I wish my ignorance was less harmful to the plants that suffer under my care, or lack thereof, but I hope to get better at this caper. In the meantime, I am thoroughly besotted by the springtime transformation, particularly on a day like today when rain prevented me from riding and I got to savor Kangaeroo Corner from a bird’s eye view.

Cherry Bomb!

Most of Japan is now awash in a glorious blanket of pink thanks to the blooming of the cherry trees.

The cherry blossom is Japan’s national flower and when they bloom, it’s not hard to see why.

The fragile flowers create a spectacular floral display that flourishes for about a week, gives another dazzling display as the petals fall and then disappears until it’s time to do it all again the following spring.

My opinion is that cherry blossom season turns Japan into the most beautiful place on earth and there are truly delightful sights to be seen just about everywhere. Of course, holding a special place in my heart are the cherry blossoms at Kangaeroo Corner, seen here just in front of the incredibly lush lawn!

Hello Cocky!

Spring is drawing closer by the day, if not actually here already in Tokyo, but that doesn’t mean the warmth has arrived yet, though the cockatoo in Kangaeroo Corner couldn’t care less.

Every morning is getting lighter and the flowers are blooming.

Kangaeroo Corner’s wattle is resplendent!

We were originally going to have a wattle-viewing party in the early spring, but it looks like reality has intervened.

Speaking of reality, it’s bloody chilly again today.

Apparently, this is only a one-off.

It’s a little apt, as the icy relationship with my boss is becoming positively chilling after we were dumped with yet more work following the departure of yet another member of staff.