Toji Temple and Flea Market

When we emerged from our Kyoto hotel in the morning we would look across the street and see this large wooden pagoda. Upon inquiring, we were told that it’s part of the Toji Temple complex.


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Garden Book Giveaway Day: The Garden Photography Workshop, by Andrea Jones

As I wrote last week, every Wednesday is Garden Book Giveaway Day until I’ve given away all the extra copies of garden books that I’ve accumulated. So, let me start by announcing the winner of last week’s giveaway: Cortney, of the blog Box and Bay. Congratulations, Cortney! Please write to me with your delivery address at

photo workshop

This week’s giveaway book is The Garden Photography Workshop by veteran garden photographer Andrea Jones. According to a review in English Garden magazine, this is a book that “will help anyone from the casual iPhone-using garden snapper to the enthusiastic hobby gardener learn how to take better garden photos”.

To win, please post an answer of 100 words or less to the following question: Was there someone early in your life who inspired you with a love of gardening?

Please post your comment by Saturday, March 3rd.

The winning answer will be selected by Jared Kushner and Hope Hicks (now that she’s free), plus a panel of Chicago aldermen who are not currently persons of interest in any ongoing investigation. (Though allowance was made for some who have already paid their debt to society.)

The Lurie Garden in February (2018)

The snow has melted, and Judy has been anxious to take pictures of the Lurie Garden before all the plants are mowed down. Last Saturday we both had reason to be in the loop, so while I was working Judy took some time to wander Lurie Garden with her camera.

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A Visit to the Garfield Park Conservatory

We had contractors working in the house last Saturday, and so Judy and I decided to have an outing to the Garfield Park Conservatory. We hadn’t visited since five years ago, which is a shame because this is one of Chicago’s great garden features.

Photo Feb 18, 12 01 07 PM

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Kyoto’s Nijo Castle

Around 1600, the Tokugawa family became the dominant power in feudal Japan. The Emperor was essentially a figurehead. The Tokugawas moved the administrative capital from Kyoto to Edo (Tokyo), while the Imperial Court remained in Kyoto. Nijo Castle, completed in 1628, was built as the Kyoto residence for the head of the Tokugawa family – the Shogun.

Judy and I visited on an overcast day last September.


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Garden Book Giveaway Day!

Somehow I have accumulated extra copies of a number of fine garden books. I have therefore decided to declare, until further notice, that every Wednesday will be Garden Book Giveaway Day.

Each Wednesday I will give away one book (free shipping included) to the person who provides the best answer to a garden-related question. Winners will be selected by a panel made up of Chicago aldermen not currently under indictment, plus Jared Kushner.

Contestants must be from the USA or Canada, because I’m not made of money, people.

This week’s giveaway is a hardcover copy of Garden Revolution, by Larry Weaner and Thomas Christopher.

garden rev

According to Rick Darke, this book is “An essential reference for conservation-minded home gardeners and stewards of larger landscapes.”

And here is this week’s question:

How many times have you tried to grow a plant that kept dying on you? Name the plant, and explain if the effort was worth it.

Please keep it under 100 words. Answers must be posted by midnight on Saturday, February 24th. The winner will be revealed the following Wednesday.

Snowfall At Dusk

We had another snowfall last Saturday night, just a couple of inches. Judy ran out with her camera to capture the scene before the light faded.


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Kyoto’s Shoren-in Temple

Shoren-in is one of the smaller Buddhist Temples in Kyoto, and it doesn’t draw nearly as many visitors as some of the larger, more famous temples. Its garden, though, is equal to that of any of the other Kyoto temples we visited.


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Snow Day

This past weekend was all about snow.


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5 Native Plants For Shade

The catalogs made me do it. My intention was to add only a few new plants this spring. But then the catalogs came. Before I go to sleep, I like to leaf through the garden catalogs. I find it soothing, and I told myself I was only looking. There’s no harm in looking.

Marsh Phlox. Photo from Prairie Wildflowers of Illinois.

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