Skip to main content

Landscape of My Heart

It's difficult for me to resist the clear, crisp beauty of winter, and despite the possibility of sounding like a broken record I say I love it. It also sounds a wee bit overly dramatic when I say it's the landscape of my heart, but it is true. While I love hiking the mountains of Hokkaido and the foothills of Tokyo with their tea fields and citrus orchards, these trees and hills, grasses and blooms are in my soul. There's no other way to say it, and when I'm home and walking among them I'm happiest. And when it's warm enough to pull out the camera I do so. Here are a few more pictures of a few favorites spotted on one of my long walks.

Goldenrod is another favorite of mine both for it's cheerful yellow fall flowers and it's fuzzy winter seed heads. Providing a much needed snack for birds and mice that linger through these chilly months it (along with the bergamont seed heads pictured with this post) it gives a bit of structure and texture to the winter landscape.

Asters are another fall favorite that leaves behind some adorable fuzzies for the winter months. While I don't get to see the white, purple, or lavender blooms in person, these are a lovely alternative.

Sumac is another graceful beauty that I have come to love. It's bright red pods are rumored to make a mean lemonade, and the color they afford the winter landscape is refreshing.

Me on one of my walks! There's none of my usual fuzzy-headedness as everything is bundled under hats and scarves.


Kateri said…
Having grown up in the rolling foothills of the appalchian mountains, I would have never dreamed that one day landscape like the one in your first picture would be where my heat feels at home. Lovely, very homey post.
Nanc Twop said…
It's bright red pods are rumored to make a mean lemonade,

Yes, they do - had it once as a child. And now you inspired me to find the recipe again. Going to try it? (I probably will if I can find some sumac...)
Thanks for the good words, Kateri. We're back in Tokyo again, and while I am happy here it's not quite the same feeling as I always find at home and especially in winter.

Nanc, keep me posted! I've never had it, but would love to someday. Depending on where you are, sumac should be just about everywhere. I don't know if there's a better time of year than others to harvest it, though.

Popular posts from this blog

Finding Heirloom Seeds in Japan

Drying pods of heirloom Hutterite Soup Beans. Since moving to Japan eight years ago, one of my greatest challenges as a farmer-gardener has been to find heirloom or open-pollinated seeds. The majority of seeds available are not GMO (genetically modified organisms) as Japan, at this point, doesn't accept this material. Most seeds, though, are nearly all F1 varieties. Heirloom and F1 Varieties In plant breeding, F1 is the name given to the first generation of a cross between two true breeding parents. For example, if I decide to cross an Amish Paste Tomato with another heirloom variety tomato such as Emmy, in hopes of getting a gold paste tomato, the resulting generation of fruit is F1. In order to get that tomato of my culinary dreams, I'll need to choose members of that first generation that are headed in a direction I like - early ripening, medium-sized fruit, good taste - and save their seeds. I'll plant them and repeat the process again and again over time unti

Satoimo: One of Japan's Favorite Slimy Things

Satoimo in all their hairy glory. This post first appeared in slightly different form on Garden to Table as part of the 2012  Blogathon . The website has since moved on to the ether, but the post is still a good one. After all, people here are still eating satoimo on a daily basis, and many others are just seeing these little potato-like objects for the first time. Enjoy! Satoimo is one of Japan's odder vegetables. Under it's rough, slightly furry skin is white flesh that is a little bit slimy even raw, and with a gentle nutty flavor.* Baked, grilled, steamed with dashi, or deep-fried satoimo stands well on its own or paired up with other vegetables and meats in a wide variety of soups and stews . (The leaves are also edible.) Satoimo stores well, and like any root crop worth the effort, stocks are just running low on this household favorite as the farmers in my area of Tokyo get ready to put a new crop in the ground in May. I cannot say I was a fan of this l

Goma Ai Shingiku - Sesame and Chrysanthemum Greens

Last week I had the pleasure of helping some friends work in their parents garden not too far away. Tucked behind the house, the garden sits on a former house lot. When it came up for sale about five years ago, my friend's father jumped at the chance. Open land in Tokyo can be hard to find and expensive, but for a retired professional looking for a little spot to till in the city it was an opportunity to good to pass up. Now, it is a garden to envy. As we came through the gate rose, lily, and peony blooms greeted us with great shouts of color while rows of vegetables stood tidily at attention on the sunny center stage. Small fruit trees along with one of the biggest sansho trees I've seen yet stood quietly here and there. Near waist-high sweet corn, bushy young potato plants, cherry tomatoes, eggplants, and beans were preparing their summer fruits, while a handful of still quite luscious looking winter vegetables like komatsuna, mizuna, and kabu held one last ro