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Sunny blooms: Discovering Japan’s summertime flowers

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By ELIZABETH SOK

Summer in Japan begins with tsuyu, or the rainy season, which brings cool winds and downpours. It also harkens the arrival of related botanicals that thrive in damp weather. Since I first visited Japan during tsuyu, I have a particular nostalgic affinity for this time of year here, with its dark, glistening, green color palette punctuated by flowery pastels. 

High summer in Japan, on the other hand, is known for its sweltering humidity and heat waves that may make for great beach time, but melt everyone unlucky enough to be stuck in a concrete jungle. Luckily, there are plants that thrive in this environment, as well, so your garden will look lush whether you’re tending to it in June, July or August. 

Read on to discover five blooms that we recommend are in your garden when the rain and summer sun hit.

1. Hydrangea

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Photo: iStock: ooyoo

The unofficial mascot of the rainy season, look for ajisai (hydrangea) in Japan in June. Whether adorning cards in stationery shops, decorating store windows or starring in the nearest shrine’s matsuri (festival), hydrangeas are an ever-popular blossom in early summer. While many are pastel-colored, with white, light pink, periwinkle blue and lilac purple as the mainstays, hydrangea can also come in electric pinks and deep purples. Gardeners can even change the color of the petals depending on the pH of the soil they are planted in.

Hydrangeas have a reputation as easy-to-care-for plants that are hearty and pest resistant. In order for your hydrangeas to thrive, just remember to water them thoroughly—especially during Japan’s hot summers—and provide them some shade against the strong afternoon sunshine. Also, give them a fertilizer boost about once or twice a year to help enhance their overall appearance and increase their blooming potential. 

2. Sunflower

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© Savvy Tokyo

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

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