The quinces growing in bushy clumps on Murin-an’s lawn now have large fruits growing on them. Yet these fruits were born from the flowers that bloomed in early summer. While there aren’t as many as in early summer, this plant also blooms flowers in autumn. While taking a random glance at them, we noticed that one of them is blooming now. This flower is blooming close to the ground, so take a little closer look at your feet as you walking around the lawn’s garden path. The vermilion colored petals mark the scene.
“Feels like the temperature’s going to go way up this afternoon,” said our gardener one day in September, as he pruned a ring-cupped oak whose overgrown foliage was starting to stand out. More pruning was necessary than expected, resulting in a tremendous number of branches being cut. Our gardener carried away these branches as he looked carefully at the balance between the tree and its surroundings.
Blades of grass that were lush green in the summertime are now slowly starting to turn brown. We mowed Murin-an’s lawn so its blades were an even height and then used a blower and whisk broom to thoroughly remove any grass blades from the stepping stones and garden path. For hours after we opened, the fresh scent of the lawn on the wind could be smelt even from inside the main house.
On the afternoon of September 21 (Sat.), Ueyakato Landscape’s president Tomoki Kato gave a seminar lecture on the history of Japanese gardens. He reviewed points from his last lecture and used a screen presentation to explain the evolution of the garden through being a symbol of power to imperial court gardens and gardens featuring shoin-zukuri architecture.
Our next lecture, “The History of Japanese Gardens,” No.4, will cover the age of Kobori Enshu, and will focus on Konchi-in and the garden in front of the abbot’s quarters at Nanzen-ji Temple.
*Participation for this seminar is currently full. We ask those wishing to attend to understand that there is a waiting list for this event.
On the morning of September 21 (Sat.), we held a weekend guided tour of Murin-an’s garden. Immediately after the tour got started, it began to drizzle, bringing out ripple patterns on the water’s surface. When the rain stopped, our guests’ then turned their eyes toward the moss and enjoyed a relaxing time.
On September 19 (Thurs.), we lit up the garden for a seminar on Noh theater. To allow our participants to experience Noh more intimately, Noh performers Tatsushige and Norishige Udaka and Noh mask carver Udaka Keiko talked about how to appreciate Noh song and dance and how to look at Noh masks and dress.
On top of the leaves of the large maple tree on the north side of Murin-an’s 8-tatami mat space, we found a citrus swallowtail basking in the morning sun. It lay still there until the sun rays had warmed its body up, and then flapped around the maple tree. Later, it flew outside Murin-an in search of nectar from floral nectar. It was a special guest that came to Murin-an to spend the night.
In the garden visible from Murin-an’s reception window, there is a large Kurogane holly. Its foliage was starting to look overgrown so we pruned it. We covered shrubs to avoid damaging them and then removed unnecessary branches from the tree’s crown.
Looking at the tree from below, we could see the gradual increase in the amount of sunlight pouring through it and the brighter feeling that resulted.
On the afternoon of September 12 (Thurs.), we held a kimono wearing school on the second floor of the main house. Our second lesson for September focused on how to tie the kimono’s obi sash. Ms. Mai Ogihara taught us how to wear a kimono Sasashima-style. Come to Murin-an to experience the kimono and also learn about kimono basics!
Our next class will be held on October 2 (Wed.).
The steady rain of cicada chirps that during summer rang from Murin-an to the Higashiyama mountains has died down considerably now, going from a grand chorus to a quartet, and finally to a solo song.
Last week, looking at the garden as a performance hall, it felt as though we were enjoying natural music, with the cicadas’ chirps performing melodies to the continuous accompaniment of the stream’s cascades.
With the passing of just a little more time, we’ll be able to hear yet another concert. And next summer, a grand symphony will resonate from Murin-an’s stage.