My friend Jean sent me this email this afternoon which she kindly said I could share. Thank you Jean for sharing and for this FANTASTIC information. I am thrilled to finally learn the Japanese names of all these plants.
Daphne is my favorite too. Unfortunately mine died when we moved last year (didn't survive the transplanting).
How about bulbs?
How's your garden going? You mentioned before that you just had annuals planted last year and so they need to be replaced. Here are my thoughts:
- are these plants something you want to enjoy while sitting outside? What months do you sit outside? (I made the mistake of planting a lot of hydrangeas once behind our house which I love but they bloom in the rainy season so I'm never sitting outside to enjoy them then, and if it's not raining then the mosquitoes are buzzing around in full force at that time.)
- are they something that you enjoy from inside your house? In that case the weather isn't so critical.
- how much sun do you get in that area? (Many flowers require a lot of sun; easy flowering shade plants are impatiens (annuals) or hostas (perennial) or aoki (no flowers but pretty multi-colored leaves).
- what flowers and plants do you like that you see blooming in parks or other people's gardens?
- what colors do you like? what about scents?
- do you want to have a fruit tree?
- do you want things that will keep their leaves year-round? (ex. azaleas, rhododendrons, daphne, camellias). Or that will be bare in winter (ex. hydrangeas, yukiyanagi, yamabuki). Or that will disappear in winter and come out from the ground again in spring (tulips, daffodils, shiran).
In general I've found that flowering bushes are better suited to Japan than English-style wildflower gardens. The wildflowers don't seem to survive the heat, even though they may be perennials. Where we live it's very easy to grow all the plants I mentioned in the previous paragraph.
I've been thinking about what to plant in a spot down behind our house. I rarely sit out there between June and September, so I'm looking for plants or shrubs that will bloom sometime between October and May. We have a lot of daffodils but no tulips, so I'm thinking of planting some tulip bulbs (probably November is the best time to do that) near the front with some violets in front of them. And I'll put in nadeshiko (pinks) which are annuals but they bloom for a long time. And in the back probably an azalea bush (tsutsuji), a rhododendron (shakunage), and maybe a camellia tree (tsubaki). My favorite flowering bush is daphne (jinchoge) but it has to be planted in summer.
Another flowering perennial that grows really easily at our place and that blooms for a long time is lantana (rantana in katakana). It has really pretty multi-colored flowers. I don't know if they have it in the shops now but I wouldn't mind planting that as well.
If it's just annuals you're looking for, most of the things they have out there for sale are easy to grow and will bloom for quite a while. They can provide a great boost of color to your garden.
*Blooming in Nihon says - isn't this great? It's so informative. I can't wait to get back in the garden now! Thanks again Jean.