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Ken’s field and nature reserve in Sugadaira, Japan

In early April 2016, on my study tour to Japan, I was invited to the mountain home of Ken Takewaki (and Masama) for a short visit. I wrote about Ken’s home and the shock of waking to new snow after 20C the day before in the lowlands back in April (see! Despite the snow, Ken took us on a trip around the local area (Sugadaira in Nagano) and we had a walk around a local wetland nature reserve, before Ken took us on a long walk up through the forest where he had recently taken over a piece of land in a clearing to grow vegetables.  All the signs were in Japanese, so I don’t know the names of many of the plants we saw, but here’s the pictures:


My very first garden in Edinburgh!

My very first garden in Balerno, on the outskirts of Edinburgh, probably 1978-1979! I was renting a flat and living in with the landlady. She didn’t use the garden, so I asked whether I could :) Organic of course! I had become a member of HDRA, the foremost organic gardening organisation in the UK and their leader/president Lawrence Hills was a great inspiration. I remember, on his encouragement, asking the council if I could gather leaves in the park to make compost!


Lorna and Kia

My two garden helpers left today. Lorna is from Belfast and was recommended to me by the Head Gardener of Mount Stewart in Northern Ireland, Neil Porteous, who I met at the Croome Walled Gardeners seminar last autumn. She’s been with me for 3 weeks and has left a lasting impression on the garden!!
Kia has been a student at Fosen Folkehøgskole this last year and has been here for a few days after the end of school. I predict both are going places! We had great fun and I’m now feeling more in control of the garden again! Thanks both for all your hard work and welcome back!

Lorna had joked to folk that “that guy has no sugar in the house” and “he bought some tomatoes to compensate” ;) Last impressions are best, so a parting gift of some organic chocolate!
P1600198 The girls made this wonderful sugar free rhubarb pie for our last meal!!! Not as sour as I’d imagined!