Kikyou flowers on summer balcony


I picked up three short kikyou plants at the home center, without knowing much about them. Later I learned that kikyou, also known as bellflower, are one of Japan’s seven fall flowers (yet oddly active in summer). Kikyou is also related to campanula, which spread rapidly in my shady San Francisco garden with abundant purple flowers.

In the (film) photo background, you can see the sprouts of New York tomatoes that I grew from seeds. I’ve shared the seedlings with many friends already.

I also discovered these cool black and white Japanese crests (kamon) based on kikyou. (Source: Wikipedia).

Japan’s Seven Fall Flowers

Did you know that Japan has a famous set of seven fall flowers? In Japanese it’s 秋の七草 (aki no nana kusa).

Here are the names in Japanese and English オミナエシ (valerian)、ススキ (miscanthus)、ナデシコ (dyanthus)、キキョウ (Chinese bellflower)、フジバカマ (boneset)、クズ (kuzu)、ハギ (bush clover).

The list goes back to the ninth century, and is related to haiku. The Japanese Wikipedia page shows the seven fall flowers at the Ise shrine. They are all hardy plants native to Japan.

I noticed this set because my neighborhood flower shop sold me kikyou recently. My balcony garden also has fujibakama (フジバカマ) and nadeshiko (ナデシコ). I should look for the other four to better connect my small garden with Japanese culture.

BTW, spring has a set of seven edible herbs, which are eaten on the seventh day of the new year.