The Kyoto Botanical Garden in Japan

I love botanical gardens, partly because I’m always curious as to the name of the plant I’m taking a photo of. In the early days of film I took copious notes and even did sketches, like when we went to the Kyoto Botanical Garden in late October of 2003.

Compared to the obsessively controlled gardens at the Japanese temples, where not a speck of foreign material was allowed to exist, the Kyoto Botanical Garden was the second messiest botanical garden I have ever been to.

Kyoto Botanical Garden TicketsThe trees were not overly interesting and the ground patchy, with bare earth in some spots and masses of weeds. Still, there was an artist painting them, something I hadn’t seen amongst the temples. Perhaps the temple gardens were considered an art form that existed perfectly as they were, with no need to do an artistic interpretation. An artist painting trees in a park in Osaka, JapanIn one section there were loofahs and other gourds hanging from trellises made from metal pipes. This was when I learned that loofahs were a type of gourd or squash! Loofa gourd growing from a trellis in the Kyoto Botanical Garden in JapanYellow squash blossoms. Loofah squash plant growing in the Kyoto Botanical Garden in JapanSomeone had scribed graffiti all over the large white squash. large white squash plant growing in the Kyoto Botanical Garden in JapanMy sketch of the hanging squash with notes.Journal from Japan 009

This is my ageing population shot – three 80-year plus guys birdwatching from a pagoda at the edge of a pond.  All three had top-of-the-line digital cameras (2003!) and were zooming in on a bright turquoise kingfisher which showed up as a flash of azure! Then they would eagerly gather around and look to see who had captured the best shot, and we joined in the flowing admiration. This shot is a bit blurred because these old guys were in constant motion.
2003: eighty-year-old Japanese men with the latest digital technology, trying to get a shot of a brilliant turquoise kingfisher in the Kyoto Botanical Garden in JapanThere were several ponds. We tried very hard to find perfect specimens, especially among the waterlilies. Yellow waterlily in a pond in the Kyoto Botanical Garden in JapanWaterlily pond in the Kyoto Botanical Garden in JapanPink waterlilies in bloom in the Kyoto Botanical Garden in JapanLarge curled waterlily pad in the Kyoto Botanical Garden in JapanBut the lotus pond was a tangle of brown and decaying leaves, certainly way less than perfect, and again, someone was painting it.Painting messy lotus pads in the Kyoto Botanical Garden in JapanThis is one of my favourite photos of reflections of Lotus pads in the pond.
Lotus leaves reflecting in a pond at the Kyoto Botanical Garden in JapanMy quick sketch of lotuses in the pond.Journal from Japan showing my sketch of the lotus pondBecause of the time of year the flowers were a tad messy as well, although the autumn leaves were still in their full glory. However, the bright maple trees seemed to be exclusive to the temples, and this botanical garden focused on ‘regular’ trees. I’d love to go back to this garden, probably in cherry blossom season to get a completely different view of the gardens.

More of the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Gardens.

13 responses to “The Kyoto Botanical Garden in Japan

  1. Interesting how you make notes with your drawings – shows how visual you are & so different from scribblers like me 🙂 I liked your lotus pictures but I really liked the one with of the three men.

    • What’s fun is how every traveller is so very different and picks up such different things from every experience. The three old guys were such fun to hang out with, even without a common language. I remember thinking how great it would be to be that old and still that excited.

  2. Interesting – and I too loved the men and the blurred image. The last one of lotus too – Good for you sketching – wish I could!

    • It is interesting to look back – the notes remind me of the many small things I had forgotten about and the sketches bring back the items that fascinated me at the time and so are worth expanding on…

  3. Pingback: Reflections on Water from Around the World | Albatz Travel Adventures·

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