The Wonders Of Japanese Cherry Blossom

The Wonders Of Japanese Cherry Blossom

Japanese cherry blossom pervades Japanese art and literature. It forms an annual celebration that dates back to Nara and Heian Periods from between 710 and 1185 AD. It has now become a popular practice for people to picnic under the cherry blossom in springtime in a festival called Hanami, a festival which started in the royal courts and then spread first to the samurai clans and then to the general public afterward.

Cherry blossoms are very short-lived in nature. Trees of the popular sakura variety only blossom for one week, but during the time the blossom covers the entire tree to produce a cloud effect.

The cherry blossom represents the rebirth of life, hope, and also mortality. The idea of living fast and dying young is symbolized by some in cherry blossom because of its very short-lived nature – it is this that attracted the samurai philosophy and continued to exist in the Japanese military during the Second World War when kamikaze pilots would often paint cherry blossoms on their plans and carry small branches with them on flights. In fact, the very first kamikaze squadron was called Yamazakura, Japanese for wild cherry blossom.

Much of Japanese culture and literature speaks of the search for the perfect cherry blossom. It has come to represent not only the changing of the seasons from winter into spring, but it holds a mystical and magical power.
Cherry Blossom in the Arts.

The Wonders Of Japanese Cherry Blossom

Possibly one of the finest portrayals of cherry blossom in cinematic history is that from The Last Samurai, the movie which featured Tom Cruise and Ken Watanabe. Ken Watanabe played a Samurai leader, Katsumoto, who was forever in search of the perfect cherry blossom.

“The perfect blossom is a rare thing. You could spend your life looking for one, and it would not be a wasted life.”

But cherry blossom extends beyond the world of Japanese fiction. In H.M. Brown’s science fiction novel, The Impossible Man, a story of a store owner in New Jersey who is fascinated with Japanese pop culture. In the book he says;

“Such a special feeling these petals give to the human heart. Where one story ends, another begins. Such is the way of the Sakura tree. A tale spoke with each bloom.”

Kazuo Ishiguro, now the most famous of Japanese authors who is was educated in England, often brings to the imagination wonderful images of cherry blossom in his works, such as in A Pale View of Hills and An Artist of the Floating World.

If you find yourself reading a novel or watching a movie set in Japan and there are scenes of cherry blossoms, you now know its significance. The Japanese cherry blossom symbolizes life, energy, passion, and death.

It is something to celebrate and rejoice in and for this reason, it has become an important feature of Japanese art and literature.

Katsumoto finally saw his perfect cherry blossom while laying fatally wounded on the battlefield, his final words were “Perfect. They are all perfect”.

Jake Roberts has studied Martial Arts for many years. It was here he discovered his passion for Japanese gardening after a former instructor advised him on the positive effect it can have on your chi. Justin currently works for Black Eagle Martial Arts Shop.

You Can Do Your Own Landscape Design – It Is Easy!

You Can Do Your Own Landscape Design – It Is Easy!

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Top 5 Mobile Apps related to Landscaping

Top 5 Mobile Apps related to Landscaping

When you’re outside working in your yard, it’s kind of a pain to go back inside to consult lawn care websites or gardening books. With a smartphone in your pocket and the right mobile app installed, you can get information with the press of a button, and even layout a complex landscaping plan.

Mobile App Landscape

iScape Free (iOS, free): Take a picture of your property and insert stock images of trees, shrubs, patio furniture, and other yard decorations. You can resize objects and recolor areas with the pen tool. Although the end result wouldn’t fool anyone into thinking it’s a real photo, it’s a useful tool for visualizing how changes to your landscape would look. Save and share the pictures you make by e-mail, Facebook or print right from the app.

Upgrade to the full version of iScape for $4.99 for a much larger selection of trees, flowers, shrubs, vines, walls, furniture, arbors, fences, cacti, and pools.

Landscaping Ideas! (Android, free): It’s basic and more of an e-book than a proper app, but hey, it’s free, and it’s enthusiastic. It includes chapters on planning, materials, plant placement, terracing, and other landscaping topics.  There are even links to landscaping videos and podcasts by “Garden Guys.” If you like this app, the same company makes Lawn Care! and Vegetable Gardening!, also free. 

Lawn Envy (iOS, $1.99): To get your lawn looking its best, Lawn Envy advises you on weather, grass seeding, and even threats like weeds, insects, rodents, and diseases. It includes a calendar, how-to guides, tips, and a photo guide to common problems. You can even ask an expert if you’re still stumped on an issue. (Full disclosure: although developed by my company, Lawn Envy is independently distributed.)

Landscape & Garden Calculators (Android, $7.99): Yes, that name is plural, because there’s a total of 35 calculators and estimators included in this app. They include generic area, volume, and angle calculators as well as landscaping-specific tools for estimating mulch or rock aggregate, lawn fertilizer, grass seed, sod, plant spacing, drainage, ponds, and other features. Most calculators give results in the area, volume, and weight when applicable, and numbers can be copied and e-mailed easily.

mpengo LawnCare (iOS, $9.99): If you’re dealing with lots of lawns as a business, mpengo LawnCare wants to be the app you use to manage your customers. Its logs and reports include fields for lawn/turf maintenance, fertilizer, trimming, irrigation, seasonal items, and your own custom comments. You can also record weather conditions and photos and share lists of properties and clients with other iPhones and iPads in your company. There’s a complementary mpengo Snow app, also $9.99, if you do winter snow removal.

Whether you’re already an expert or just starting to maintain the lawn at your first home, there’s an app made just for you.

Low Maintenance Landscape Design Ideas

Low Maintenance Landscape Design Ideas

With so many great things in this world, who has the time to maintain a yard or driveway? When you’re out having fun with friends, partying the night away, or having a romantic picnic, the last thing on your mind is taking care of the weeds in your backyard.

With low-maintenance landscape design, you won’t have to worry as much about pruning, mowing, planting, or cleaning, giving you more time to enjoy yourself. San Diego landscape design experts can personally help you with all your landscaping needs.

Low Maintenance Landscape Design Ideas

Rethinking Focal Points

In San Diego, outdoor kitchens are pretty common. They are a means of taking advantage of the great weather all year round. After all, there aren’t many people who dislike a good barbecue. However, barbecues and outdoor kitchens act as a focal point, giving you and visitors something to focus on aside from the grass, trees, and other elements of the yard.

There are numerous ways to develop focal points, including:

  • Pathways: Pathways are functionally a means of getting into a space, but visually, they lead eyes into, through, and around the landscape. Pathways act as a good transition between the street and your home. They can be the first impression a visitor has of a homeowner’s personality.
  • Outdoor water fountains: Water fountains and bird baths create a naturally welcoming ambiance, making an elegant statement about a person’s home. Many times, water fountains add to the architecture of a home. Outdoor water fountains often mask the hum of traffic and lawnmowers with the gentle sounds of trickling water.
  • Lighting: Like any film or photo, lighting in a landscape is very important. Landscape lighting gives you complete control of your yard, allowing you to highlight your trees and garden while leaving other, less-attractive elements in the dark. Lighting is an inexpensive way to add value to your property while also providing practical safety and security.

When It Comes to Plants

In landscape design, plants tend to take up the most maintenance time. While you can’t usually do away with plants completely, you can make decisions on the types of plants you want in your backyard.

When choosing foliage, go with drought-resistant plants like succulents, which require less water to thrive. Avoid plants that need frequent pruning and are susceptible to diseases and insect problems. Instead of mulching, consider using gravel, which cuts down on weeds and helps to retain soil.

Sam is an avid follower of San Diego landscape design and writes about low-maintenance landscape design regularly. He’s been working on his and his friends’ houses and designs for the past 25 years and loves sharing information with people who are looking to improve their homes.design plantslandscape design ideaslandscape lighting , lawnmowerslow maintenancemaintenance landscapeoutdoor water fountainsphoto lighting

Getting you Started with Helpful Landscape Design Tips

Getting you Started with Helpful Landscape Design Tips

Creating a new look for your garden can be overwhelming especially when you consider yourself to be a newcomer in this field.  There are a lot of generous individuals who are willing to share their expertise in this field.  You can just go online and search for landscape design tips to help get you started.

As with all endeavors, everything starts out with a plan.  Before bringing out that shovel and turning some dirt, start first by gathering your ideas.  Stroll around public gardens, browse magazines and check out pictures of gardens on the Internet so that you will have an idea of what look would you want for your garden.  You can ask the people taking care of these gardens for landscape design tips that can help you out with your plan.  When you have formulated a plan, you can now move on to the next phase and see what kind of greenery you will place in your garden.

Trees are a great addition to your garden.  Aside from providing shade, it will give your garden structure and is there for a long-term basis.  Flowering plants make the great ground cover and add a splash of color to an otherwise monotone sea of green. Make sure that when you are designing your garden, it must match your lifestyle.  Some people can go overboard with the gardens that they create that they forgot that this part of the house needs a lot of tender loving care to maintain its look.  If you are the busy type and can only attend to it during the weekends, then go for plants that require less attention so that your efforts in planting them will not go to waste.

Most of the landscape design tips shared by people are simple and easy to understand.  So creating your dream garden can be achieved because of these practical tips.

Tips to People Looking to have a Beautiful Walid Garden

Tips to People Looking to have a Beautiful Walid Garden

Having a small garden in your backyard is a great way to relax, read your favorite books, or spend some quality time with your family. You can use it for gardening, planting flowers or vegetables, or just as a place to reflect and be at peace. Putting a wall around your garden area has many advantages, such as protection from animals, privacy, and preventing erosion in storms. No matter what reasons you have to erect a wall, there are some things you need to keep in mind.

Types of Materials to Use

There are several different materials that you can use to build a perfect wall. The first thing to consider is of course the material. Many people build walls for protection, privacy, or just decorations. Those who are just after privacy or protection use concrete walls. You can also use hedges but you will have to keep them pruned and under control so that they are kept at the desired height. Other types of materials that you can use are tiles, brick walls, or beautiful landscaping rocks.

Beautifully Walled Garden

Using the Tiles

Tiles can be a great option for those who are looking to build walls while keeping aesthetics in mind; tiles will look really good around your flower beds and plant areas. The best part is that they are fairly inexpensive. If you or some of your friends or family members have recently used tiles in their homes for some purpose, you can use the left-over tiles to create a beautiful boundary without spending much. You might also want to try the broken pieces of tile to create a mosaic look, or you can create almost anything you want by gluing the pieces together in a unique pattern. Using tiles in your garden area will bring lots of color to your gardens.

There are many different types of tiles that you can choose from. The most common ones are ceramic, stone, and porcelain tiles. All of these can be used for walling your garden but the most popular is ceramic tile, mainly because they are strong, durable, water-resistant, and offer stability to your walkways.

Things to Remember

First, you need to do some homework. Sit down and draw out a design of your area and what you want to add in. You can include plants or flowers and how do you want to set it up. This drill will help you have the picture in your mind and you will know exactly what you are looking for so that you don’t waste your money on unnecessary stuff.

Look around your home first and see if you can find some building material (e.g. the tiles or rocks). This will help keep you within your budget.

Finally, prepare your area before starting to work. Choose the spot in your yard where you want your garden (if you don’t already have one) and clear it out before putting down your walls. If you are doing garden edging with tiles, make sure your flower beds are raised.

What to Avoid

Do not rush when working on the design of your garden. Remember you will be using it for a long time to come so you need to think about what really makes you happy and choose accordingly.
Also, do not use brick walls without being sure about the permits and all. Some cities do require permits before building walls of any kind in your yards.

How To Make Your Phalaenopsis Orchids Flower Again And Again

How To Make Your Phalaenopsis Orchids Flower Again And Again

Phalaenopsis orchids are among the easiest of all orchids to care for and it is not hard to make them flower again and again. Despite this, there is a lot of people who think they are unable to get the orchids to flower again and therefore throw them away once they are done flowering. This is a mistake, not only because the orchid can be flowering again in a few months but also because the orchids will grow more and more flowers as they get older. A well-cared-for Phalaenopsis orchid will flower almost nonstop and can have tens of flowers at the same time.  An orchid-like this is worth the effort it takes to get one and is a lot more stunning than those you can buy in the store. If you are one of all those who throw their Phalaenopsis orchids away you should stop doing that at once and keep reading below. You will be glad that you did in 6 months. If you already keep your Phalaenopsis orchids you might also want to read on below. Who knows, you might still be able to pick up a tip or two.

Phalaenopsis orchids are easy to care for. They want to be placed in a window with a lot of light without direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can damage leaves.  An East or West window is usually ideal. They can temporarily be moved to a darker spot such as on a table while flowering if you want to be able to enjoy the flowers better.  It should however never be placed where it is too dark and should always be given a brighter spot to recuperate once the flowering is over. If you want your plant to flower year around you will need to leave them in a bright spot year-round.

How To Make Your Phalaenopsis Orchids Flower Again And Again

Light is one of the two most important factors to consider when trying to get a Phalaenopsis orchid to flower indoors. The second important factor is water.  Phalaenopsis do not like to get too wet and does not like to have water standing on its leaves. Standing water can easily cause the leaves to root.  This is due to the clinging to tree branches in the wild. It is in other words not natural for the orchid to have the leaf rosette facing upwards like they do when we keep them as potted plants. For this reason, they should always be watered from beneath. Put a little water on the tray and let the planting medium soak it up.  It is good if the medium is moist but not wet. If they get too dry you will easily see it on the leaves as they will start to get wrinkles if kept to dry.

Phalaenopsis orchids do well in normal indoor temperatures so you do not give any special attention to the temperature.  The orchids only need to be replanted about every 3 years so you do not have to worry about that for a long time yet.  The orchid you bought should do well in the pot it came in for at least another two years and by then you should feel a lot more comfortable in caring for this hardy gem.

These orchids will do well without any extra nutrients but will grow faster and flower more if they are given orchid fertilizer or well diluted regular flower fertilizer about once a month during the growth period. Dilute regular flower fertilizer about 5 times more than the package says if you want to give it to these orchids.

A final tip to get your Phalaenopsis orchids to re-flower is to not remove the entire flower stalk once they have finished flowering. Instead cut the stalk or spike as it called on orchids just above the highest node. Nodes are the little bulbs, bumps on the stalk. It is not uncommon that a new batch of flowers grows out from the stalk or if you are lucky you might end up with a Keiki, a new baby orchid that you will be able to plant in a separate post once it has grown a little bit.

Once you have discovered that Phalaenopsis orchids are easy to care for there are plenty of other easy orchids for you to try such as Mokara and Paphiopedilum orchids.