Thursday, 28 February 2008


My very favourite Kokedama, Asparagus.

I love its silent presence. Its leaves have a very gentle and subtle atmosphere swaying in the wind. When I see that, a refreshing cool breeze blows in my mind. The gentle breeze blows off the stress from my everyday life and I find peaceful tranquillity within me.

This Asparagus is "Asparagus Plumosus," also commonly called "Asparagus Fern" and "Lace Fern," although it is not fern. It is Liliaceae and related to Asparagus that we eat. The young stems look like a skinny version of the vegetable asparagus. I have bitten the stem and it tasted like a plant with a hint of asparagus. (Eating lots of them may be harmful, so BE CAREFUL.)

Asparagus Plumosus is evergreen and a hardy perennial plant, so it is very suitable for Kokedama Bonsai. Also it will be your eye entertainer throughout a year.

*The leaves that I called leaves actually are not leaves. They are Phyllode, winged leafstalks which function as leaves (by Oxford Dictionary). How interesting and wonderful the world of plants is! Learning about plants never bores me:)

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Kokedama-Devil's Ivy & Spider Plant

Devil’s Ivy & Spider Plant -------What a wicked combination!

Part of the appeal of working with plants is learning their names, isn't it?

When I learned it is called Devil’s Ivy in English, I was a bit shocked because it’s “Devil!” Yes, it is a tough plant and tenaciously survives, but “Devil” sounds too much, I think. Well, it’s only because I like that plant very much, probably.

“Spider Plant.” Joking! Mmm…I must consider that there are a lot of people who find spiders beautiful, but spiders are basically scary, aren’t they? (and bite.)

“Spider Plant” is called “Orizuru-ran” in Japanese. “Orizuru” is a crane folded with paper and “ran” is orchid. The person who named the plant must have seen its offspring as a crane. “Origami Crane Plant,” fancy isn’t it? “Spider Plant” describes the plant with greater accuracy, though. (* Spider Plant is not a plant of orchid family. It is Liliaceae).

“Devil’s Ivy” is commonly called “Potosu” in Japanese, by the way, borrowing English pronunciation “Pothos”.

Friday, 8 February 2008


Checkerberry, or "Himekoji" in Japanese.

"Hime" is "a princess" in Japanese and it is sometimes added to a name of something small. (eg. Himeringo = Malus ×. cerasifera "ringo" = "an apple") "Koji" is "citrus" in Japanese. It is named so because its leaves are similar to citrus leaves.

This lovely plant is a winter entertainer. Checkerberry bears fruits until spring. I do like looking at plants with something red on, especially in winter and, especially in British winter!

I always fancy eating Checkerberry's berries, by the way. They look like cherries. They do look edible. But better not, it contains methylsalicylic acid and you can smell it (it smells similar to a product here in Britain called Deep Heat). Hmmm...well, I've realized I can bite, though, can't I? I'll bite one now, a good chance for me.

Aha! It tastes like an apple with a hint of medicine! Not too bad!

(I have just checked, they are edible. )

Monday, 4 February 2008

What is Nearai?

This is a fantastic example of Nearai. I took this picture from my book on Mini-Bonsai and Kokedama. ("Mini-Bonsai to Kokedama" by Nipponhoso syuppan kyokai)

I hope I will be good enough to cultivate marvelous Bonsai like this one day!

Nearai is one of the methods to appreciate Bonsai. Remove plants with an earth ball from a container and place on a flat dish or a shallow tray leaving the roots visible. That is Nearai display. The soil will not fall away because the well-grown roots hold the soil firmly. Gradually old roots will go rotten and be mixed with the soil, then moss will grow to cover the roots and soil.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Kokedama-Creeping Fig

Do you know Kokedama?

It would be called "Moss Ball Bonsai" in English. ("Koke" is "moss" and "dama" is "ball" in English.) Here I put one of my Kokedama examples and this is my favorite one.

I love Kokedama. Its cute round shape and tranquility formed by moss creates a somewhat comical but quiet, wonderful but humble atmosphere. Everytime I look at Kokedama I feel a sense of wonder. I love it.

I remember when and where I saw Kokedama for the first time in my life. It was in a local shopping mall in Japan about 10 years ago. As soon as I spotted it, I got so fascinated with it that I bought one straight away. Since then I have liked Kokedama very much and now I make it here in Britain.

It is said that the history of Kokedama is unknown but there is a widely-accepted theory. Kokedama is derived from "Nearai" of Bonsai. (I will explain about Nearai in the next post.) Bonsai is said to have started in Heian period (794-1185) in Japan, so I can say that Kokedama is a new way to appreciate and enjoy the beauty of nature.

There are a lot of Bonsai fans in Britain but I have not heard of a shop selling Kokedama nor of anybody making it. (More people might know about Kokedama in other parts of Europe, though.) So I hope everyone who visits my blog will enjoy the world of Kokedama and I will be very very glad if you get interested in it.

Thank you!

PS: I had believed this plant ivy for some reason and have just found it is not. So I revised my post. 04/03/2008