Suigo Sawada Aquatic Botanical Garden
I love the beautiful delicate petals of irises. I used to have some yellow ones and some lavender ones growing in my garden and I really enjoyed the color and beauty that they added to the outside of my house. And people who passed by could enjoy them too. I always notice flowers and plants around the neighborhood when I’m walking home. Our neighbors take really good care of their gardens and many have lovely flowers in pots beside their gates. That takes a lot of time and I can appreciate their work.
Where I live now, I don’t have the freedom to plant new flowers very much, except in pots. That’s one reason I enjoy going to botanical gardens that specialize in showing off the beauty that God gave us in the variety of plants and flowers. Last year we went to Suigo Sawada Aquatic Botanical Garden in May and we expected to see the iris garden. Our timing was off and we saw a few irises, but mostly we enjoyed the intoxicating fragrance of wisteria. And we rode in the flat boat that was poled around the pond by a little woman dressed in traditional costume. It was nice, relaxing, but not particularly impressive.
Well, this year we hit the timing much better and were rewarded with an abundance of irises and it was very impressive. There were bus-loads of elderly being treated to an outing by the care-givers. I know they appreciated both the opportunity to go out, and the lovely setting they visited. I enjoyed watching them pose for a group photo, a national hobby in Japan. Of course, we usually do the same thing.
Last year at the iris garden, we rode the little flat boat poled around the pond by the lady in traditional garb, and we had to remove our shoes and leave them on the prow.
It was a nice, quiet, relaxing ride.
But, this year we decided to go for something a little less tame. Outside the garden there are several boat ride vendors hawking. We picked one at the end of the line, and he stowed us away on his boat and took off across the big lake. Well, we weren’t sure if it was a lake, a bay, or a river, but it was large enough for several motor-driven boats to carry sightseers. And, yes, we had to take off our shoes.
Off we zoomed with the wind blowing through the boat and keeping us cool. After about 15 minutes, we entered a smaller canal and the boatman slowed down so we could enjoy the pink hydrangea bushes on the banks.
We were surprised by the boatman when he cut the motor and hopped off the boat. Then he picked up his long pole and put it in the water. For at least 20 minutes, he poled us down a long canal between houses and buildings, meeting other boats coming from the opposite direction. It was a tight squeeze at one corner and we were delighted with the skill of our boatman. We didn’t even touch the other boat, although it must have been only a few centimeters between us. At one of the shops along the canal, a shopkeeper knelt down to show us her wares and take orders for sweet rice dumpling sticks.
It was all very Edo period reminiscent. Judy said it reminded her of Venice. Well, maybe without the sweet rice dumplings.