Tag Archives: Plants & Gardens

Suizenji – Kumamoto

Still on the west island (Kyushu), on the west coast is  Kumamoto city. Their garden is Suizenji.

Suizenji is a miniature version of the Tokaido route. The old eastern sea route between Kyoto and Edo – today Tokyo.

Their is a Tokaido line on the Shinkansen railway still today. Gives you a good view on Mount Fuji.

Their you can see Fuji in the garden, snow cap included. The garden is on scale. Only the trees on Fuji they couldn’t quick get small enough. There is only so much you can do with bonsai.

Fuji again, from a different vantage point. Wish I could get a photo with a lawn mower. Do you think they are also miniature?

Suizenji, as you may have guessed from the name, is a temple garden. You have temple gardens and walking gardens.

The old Shinto beliefs are alive and well in Japan. Alongside the Zen Buddism. Shinto is old Japan, Buddism is from the continent.

To wash your hands and rinse your mouth before entering the temple. Often they have dracons, but not this one.

The water is clear and fresh though. The garden was made near a spring. Possible for the sea of the sea route.

The obligatory water and koi with the semi-obligatory camelia japonica.

I wonder how old this pine is. Sometimes you see people on ladders cutting some of the needles out on the growth points.

It’s not easy to get everything in, there Fuji is again, just to the right of the bridge.

More Toulouse

I miss Toulouse after the six weeks I spent there over April and May. When I look back at the photos it rained a lot, but I only remember who great it feels to be there and how much there is to see and to do.

Here is another photo from the park. It was near my house so I could walk down and spend time there in the early evening.


The Duessel river delta empties into the Rhine here and gives the city both its name and its atmosphere.


Currently the capital of the area, they are in competition with the nearby Cologne, on the same river, holders of the cathedral and previously more important than they.

Also good shopping on the Konigsallee. There is a flea market on the river side of the street as well. With art and books and of course beer and sausages 🙂


They also have this wonderful park.


A local lady stopped to tell me that during the war all the statues were removed and only restored much later.

A Japanese garden on the Rhine.


This was in a window.


Botanical Garden – Leuven

The botanical garden in Leuven, Flemish Brabant, Belgium. The city also has the oldest catholic university still in existence.


Part of the heritage of convents are their gardens, medicinal herbs falling in the cadre of the monks.

as did drinks..


for the absinth


and hobs for the beer. Stella Artois is from Leuven and the second large export product together with the university.



Taxus is not only used for hedges, but a product for chemotherapy is also made from it.

At the TU Delft (Technical University) the garden has to earn its keep (being in the Netherlands 😉 ) One of the brains there realized one day that during a thunder storm you can smell fir trees. He then thought to use electricity to milk the Taxus in stead of having to cut them down to get the substance. You need tonnes of wood to get only milliliters.

And it worked. You put a gardening fork in the ground to earth the wire and put stream on the tree. A fine spray comes out of the leaves which contains the substance you’re after.

The tree is unharmed and can be milked again after a time.


Madam seems satisfied 🙂

Shelter for exotic plants.

And some trees dressed in autumn colours.

Perhaps the best, and certainly one of the most charming of the botanical gardens I have seen.



Few things as good as a fresh artichoke.

These are fresh cut and boiled in water with vinegar. Dipped in olive oile with fresh thyme and lemon juice, whipped with a fork.

Did you know thyme kills all bacteria in sight in micro seconds?Apparently the thymol in thyme. It is the main active ingredient in Listerine mouth wash and also active against fungi. You can treat toenail fungus with thyme oil.

In Dalmatia they make a traditional artichoke stew. My friendly hostess brought me some on a cold and rainy Saturday. This is her family recipe.

Bang the artichoke face down so that they lose some of the leaves. Stuff them with garlic, parsley, breadcrumbs and olive oil.

Put some fresh butterbeans (favo), peas and the stuffed artichokes (together with the leaves that came off) in a pot with water and salt. Cook over low heat for an hour .

Delicious with fresh bread.

Favo beans have been eaten in the mediteranean since 5000 BC.