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Fall Colours at Shadowlands and Rhododendron walk


Dear All,

It’s been a while since my last entry. Work has kept me tied up, but I did get to Shadowlands today. Our Maples are doing us proud at the moment. Every time I investigate another area of the garden I realise we have another specimen Maple.

I’ve been working on the Rhododnedron walk today. A few weeks ago I lugged a few tree trunks around to form a woodland path. Today sack loads of Hinoki chips (a fragrant type of false cypres) arrived. Hinoki is apparently good against insects and mites, and the fragrance is lovely. In the end I could have done with two more bags, but my guestimate was pretty good. The path, as you can see, leads nowhere at the moment. Or rather, it leads into the woods at the back. During some breathers, I took a stick and wandered around the woods at the back. It is amazing, with the deciduous trees having dropped their leaves, I was able to see that there had once been a boundary fence of posts with lateral bamboo, along which a line of conifers had been planted: presumably by the previous owners of our house, because we back on to forest (though it is owned by someone, obviously). That has of course now gone down on my to-do list: mending the boundary fence.

The reduced foliage has mixed blessings: on the one hand it is a good opportunity to see the wood for the trees (if you pardon the pun). Clearly, if I am to make a walk through the woodland, some of the trees need to be trimmed, moved, or cut down. The best options the first, then the second, then the third. However, the down side is that without their leaves, what little hope I had of identifying them has gone until spring. So far I reckon on at least 30 different tree species and well over 300 hundred trees in total. There are clearly some pines, some Buna (Japanese Beech); one very great specimen which looks like a Laurel/Camelia or something of that sort for it is clearly evergreen, but about 8 metres high, and with the trunk exceeding my thighs; a few Prunus of some sort; a weeping Cherry; Kaki; several small Gingko; a weird tree with pointy, warty bark (apparently the leaves are used for eating with eel – unagi -); and then about 20 trees I have no idea about. Thrown in are the climbers, lots of wild mountain wisteria (yama wisteria); some sort of honeysuckle; the purple seed pod vine; about 10 different ones I’ve spotted; wild moutain roses; the monster azalea I mentioned in a previous blog; and so on. Not to mention several species of bamboo.

The leaves of course have been falling in vast quantities. So far I have hand swept 10 80l bags, and that is a fraction of them. I’m bagging and mulching the bed areas where and when I can. The Maple leaves are as pretty on the ground as on the tree (see the Rhodo walk for an example).

The photos below of the Rhodo walk developing (though I need to plant about 10 more Rhodos). Also, the nice colours from the main house looking at the studio, and up the road towards our house (note the leaves to be raked!)

Please check out the other recent pictures in my photos.

Best wishes,


More blog posts by ptarotuos

Previous post: Battening down the hatches - Typhoon due to hit Shadowlands

Next post: Winter has arrived at Shadowlands



You've certainly got a huge variety of trees there, Ptarotuos! I like that you've used cedar chips for your path; I can imagine it must smell very pleasant as you walk along and stir the chips.

You don't mention too much damage from the threatened typhoon so it would seem you pretty much escaped any serious damage....whew!

Repairing your boundary it a long fence to renew? From the way you describe the property I imagine it to be quite extensive?

It's nice to have your update and to read about all your plant and tree discoveries. Best of luck with all your plans.

22 Nov, 2010


how absolutely fantastic ~ wish i was there
you are going to have so many lovely surprises in the spring discovering new plants every day
i like the sound of those chips ~ i wonder if slugs like them or not!!
gingko trees are stunning its the colour and the leaf shape that i love
do you laurel/camelias have any buds on? my camelias have the buds on them now ~ maybe you could identify them that way?
cant wait to see more photos

22 Nov, 2010


I really enjoyed your blog and wish I had something as lovely. thanks.

22 Nov, 2010


I hope you can identify your treees next year. It's interesting to have so many on your property. I really like your last photo.

23 Nov, 2010


Thanks for your comments Whistonlass, Stickitoffee, Drc 726 & Hywel et al,

To answer a couple of the questions: apparently Hinoki chips are very good against slugs, as well as beetles and mites. It is the same sort of wood that we hope to make the onsen bath out of (see an entry of mine a while ago). Because the wooland path has a camber and gradient in places, I was a bit hesitant about putting down chips. I decided not to flatten the path out because I didn't want to ruin the natural look, or interfer with the Sawara cypres roots you see. Having cut down some, for reasons given in a previous blog, I'm anxious that the remaining ones have a long and happy life!

The boundary fence will indeed be long. It all depends on whether the posts currently insitu are rotten or not. I tested a few and they seemed to be firm, but that was just a few. I guess in length the total boundary fence will be 100 + metres (just for the back). If the original posts are ok then I can order 6-8 ft bamboo canes (surprisingly expensive, here in the land of bamboo), and use traditional Japanese knot techniques. Oh, and no, a few branches came off with the typhoon, but they were generally rotten and so saved me the job of hacking them off.

Camelia/Laurel: no buds that I can see, bud I'll have to get up the ladder to check that one. It's a fine tree, whatever it is, and nice to have a non pine/conifer evergreen of that stature.

Thanks for your interest everyone, and sorry for the typos I'm 'supervising' the kids today, so snatching a few minutes whilst one is sleeping and the other is engrossed in TV.


23 Nov, 2010


Hi Stickitoffee: Gingko nuts are also very nice to eat. They are usually served with some dressing as appertisers here in Japan. The smell of the crushed nuts is, however, pungent and unpleasant. Where I work there is a whole avenue of 100 + year-old trees which are spectacular around this time. Apparently the Gingko is something of a pre-historic survivor, and unique.

23 Nov, 2010


thanks for that ptarotuos, i had no idea there were nuts on the gingko tree ~ that makes it even more special! shame they smell nasty though
hope you have a good day looking after the children!

23 Nov, 2010


Really interesting to see and hear about your garden Ptarotuos, you do live in a beautiful part of our world so very different from what I see, therefore makes it really enjoyable to see your photo`s and follow your blogs. Thankyou.......

23 Nov, 2010


Thanks again for your comment everyone. The Hinoki chips do of course look a little 'new' at the moment, but they will soon settle down. I came across a cache of timber, with all joints already cut, that was clearly designed to either refurbish the studio or make the underhang into a room. Without the plans of course I have no idea what the previous owner envisaged. Either we will try to use the timber for this purpose, or if not, then for some kind of summer house or pagoda etc. No idea what this kind of timber would normally cost, but I rather father it is worth hanging on to! See the new photo in my photos. ptarotuos

24 Nov, 2010


i agree with lincslass, i think we should all take a trip out to see your garden ptarotuos when its done, i think its going to be fabulous, it already looks a very lovely place. how do you pronounce your name ~ can you write it phonetically so i can work it out? please.

24 Nov, 2010


Stickitoffee: ptarotuos is a complicated accronym. P stands for the first letter of my given name, Peter. The 'taro' part in Japanese is a very traditional man's name (like John). It can also be applied to an initial as an admonishment. Just as -san is added to the surname of people to replace Mr. in Japanese, so -kun is usually added to the end of boys' names: for example Ma-kun. When -taro is applied to the first letter of a name it is an admonishment. The final part of the pseudonym is made up of the initials of the University I attended for my first degree. best wishes, ptarotuos

27 Nov, 2010


I am fascinated with how you have your name, Ptarotuos. It is well thought out :)

29 Nov, 2010

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