Tokyo’s Ueno Park

We really only saw one corner of Ueno Park, which is one of Japan’s first Western-style recreation areas. It’s a big place, over 100 acres, and it contains a zoo, shrines and temples, and several major museums.


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Judy’s Report on the Chicago Women’s March

Let’s take a break from our usual topics for some current events. Today Judy went to the Chicago Women’s March, which (with all the other marches that took place today) seems to have provided a much-needed morale boost for those of us not suffering from paranoid delusions or authoritarian personality disorder.


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Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens

The first garden we visited in Tokyo was Koishikawa Korakuen.


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Tokyo Tower

First thing we did when we got to Japan last August was visit the Tokyo Tower and, more importantly, meet my nephew and his family. The nephew has lived in Japan since college.

He was nice enough to meet us at our hotel and guide us through the Tokyo subways to the spot where we would meet his wife and son. The city’s subways are labyrinthine in the extreme, and Judy and I decided that we would never try to navigate them on our own.


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A Few More Non-Gardening Books

Some more books I’ve read recently:

Gettysburg: the Last Invasion, by Allen Guelzo

This retelling of the pivotal American Civil War battle is engrossing even for people with little interest in military history. What I found most absorbing was the political divisions within the Union’s Army of the Potomac.

Most of the Northern officers were supporters of George McClellan, who had been just recently dismissed as commander in the east by President Lincoln. Like McClellan, these officers abhorred Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and did not want to upset the social order of the South. McClellan went on to challenge (unsuccessfully) Lincoln in the 1864 Presidential election.

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And Now, Some Books Not About Gardening

Soon I will start writing about our trip to Japan in some detail. However, before we get to that I want to post about some books I’ve read lately that left an impression on me. Let’s start with The Moor’s Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie.

This is the story of the fall of the da Gamas, an old family of Portugese-Indian spice traders from Cochin (which, along with Goa, was once occupied by the Portugese).


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Los Angeles Miscellany

So we did less sightseeing and more hanging around during our last trip to LA. This was partly because Judy was under the weather for a couple of days, and partly because everybody was feeling lazier than usual. Shockingly, we didn’t visit a single garden.

In this post I’ve got a collection of photos from various things we did during our trip. It is by no means meant to be a “top things to do” sort of list.


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Don’t Miss This Year’s Garden Bloggers Fling in DC

Readers of this blog may know that for the past four years Judy and I have attended the annual Garden Bloggers Fling. We’re especially looking forward to this year’s Fling, which will be held June 23rd-25th in the DC region. If you write a garden blog, you should be there too!

The US Botanical Garden

Why? Well, here are three good reasons:

This “Victory Garden” is one of the Smithsonian gardens.

Reason 1: Join your tribe! At the Garden Bloggers Fling, you will never have to worry about boring people with obsessive garden talk. That’s because everyone will be engaging in obsessive garden talk. Between the gardens and my fellow bloggers, I always come back from the Fling with plenty of new ideas to try out in my own garden.

Attendees at the 2016 Garden Bloggers Fling

What’s more, you get to meet the people behind the blogs you’ve been reading for years. In our experience, you’ll feel that you have a connection even when you meet these people for the first time. Plus, they are a fun and friendly bunch!

Brookside Gardens in the DC suburbs. 


Reason 2: Visit Great Gardens! The Fling takes you to famous gardens – in DC we’ll spend time in the US Botanic Garden and the Smithsonian Gardens. But we’ll also visit lesser known gems in DC, suburban Maryland and Virginia – not to mention some wonderful private gardens.

A Franciscan monastery garden in suburban Maryland

Reason 3: Get Free Stuff! Where do you think Judy and I got 200 daffodil bulbs this fall? Swag from the Garden Bloggers Fling, that’s where. Plus you get to meet people from the plant nurseries, seed growers, and tool makers you’ve always loved (or you will love once you get to know them).

The Fling is not like those huge conferences where you feel lost in the crowd. As a result, attendance is limited. If you think you want to attend, it’s better to register soon while slots are available. To register for the Fling visit their website here. See you in DC!

About Those Palm Trees

So here’s something I learned during our recent trip to California: palm trees are not native to Los Angeles.


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The Canals of Venice (California)

Back around the turn of the 20th Century, a developer named Abbott Kinney and his partners bought the land which is now Venice, California. Their idea was to create a beach resort for day trippers from Los Angeles, a sort of Coney Island West. Just one problem: the land was mostly a swamp (they didn’t know the value of wetlands back then).


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