Formal gardens in Tokyo

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We made our first visit to Tokyo in the winter, our next visit will be in warmer weather and I’ll be visiting botanical gardens then. But for now here are a few photos from formal gardens about the city.

We were surprised to see so little bamboo. It is usually in patches about 20’x20′ and along the highway but rarely a part of the garden.

Every plant in the garden is bonsai’d. Here we tell people not to mushroom their shrubs or amputate their crapes, yet every plant in every Tokyo garden we saw was heavily pruned.

Along pathways tree branches are forced to grow across and down and supported with ropes and boards.

No plant is left untouched.

Tokyo pocket gardens

It was winter on our first visit to Tokyo, so we’re saving the botanical garden visits until our summer visit.

In the older residential areas of Tokyo the homes are 1-3 stories tall and the sidewalks in front of the homes have pocket gardens in front of the homes, often less than a foot deep. Clusters of potted plants are common as are tiny vegetable plots.

Mercer Botanical Gardens

Mercer is a place I often go visit, sometimes for classes, sometimes for plant sales, and sometimes just to wander about and take photos.

In the late 1940s, Thelma and Charles Mercer purchased a beautiful 14.5 acre tract of natural land along Cypress Creek. Thelma was an avid horticulturist, and she and Charles did much of the initial selective clearing to make space for some of her favorite native trees that included dogwoods, rusty black-haw viburnum, several species of hawthorns, plus many others. Thelma also planted large camellias that are still seen throughout the central gardens. She also introduced many other plant species, such as camphor, Ginkgo, Bauhinia, Philadelphus and tung oil that naturalized and are still growing beautifully.
When it came time for the Mercers to retire, they could not bear the thought of a developer bulldozing their paradise. So, in 1974, they convinced Harris County to purchase their original 14.5 acre tract with the stipulation that it would grow and be maintained as an educational and horticultural facility for the public.s enjoyment.

Carnivorous Plant Photos from BigThicket

I’m a big fan of carnivorous plants. One of the places you can find them in the wild is at Big Thicket National Preserve

There are two carnivorous plant trails I visited, one full of pitcher plants, one full of sundews. I highly recommend a trip in late March, early April so you can see the plants in flower.

Lady Bird Johnson gardens in Austin

While in Austin we visited the Lady Bird Johnson Gardens.

Lady Bird Johnson, our former first lady, and actress Helen Hayes founded an organization in 1982 to protect and preserve North America’s native plants and natural landscapes. First as the National Wildflower Research Center and later as the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, this special place exists to introduce people to the beauty and diversity of wildflowers and other native plants. Every day, the Wildflower Center brings life to Mrs. Johnson’s vision in its public gardens, its woodlands and sweeping meadows as well as in internationally influential research. In 2006, the Center became an Organized Research Unit of the University of Texas at Austin.
In April the garden holds a large sale of native plants.