June 03, 13 | Takako Chiba
"Sayuki Ueno" - A unique Hokkaido Garden you can't find anywhere else!
Today I'd like to introduce you to Ueno Farm's own Sayuki Ueno. Born on a farm in Asahikawa, she traveled to the UK to study English gardening, and now she's back in Hokkaido tending a garden you can't find anywhere else!
We've already introduced Ueno Farm on Hokkaido Likers.
You can read that article here→http://post.hokkaidolikers.com/en/detail/381
▲The English Garden featured on the TV show "風のガーデン" (Garden of Wind) was created by Ms. Ueno.
”After I graduated from college in Sapporo I began working a regular job. One day I spotted an English Garden training program advertisement in the subway and, in the year 2000, I headed off to the UK! That was the beginning of everything." explained Ms. Ueno.
She told me she was completely shocked the first time she saw a real English Garden.
"At that time I didn't even know the names of the flowers I was seeing, all I knew was that I had to bring the beauty and style of the garden back to Hokkaido!"
After returning to Japan she began working on her garden in earnest. From word of mouth alone she has achieved a staggering 50,000 visitors per year!
I asked how she developed the garden, was it planned out from the start or if she used a trial and error method.
"When I began, the plan was to create an English style garden, but after about five or six years I realized that, just because I had experienced the real thing, no matter how much I tried it would never actually be a true English garden. The climates are similar but the history, culture, and natural features of the UK and Hokkaido are completely different. So, after thinking about it for awhile, I realized that I should talk to my visitors and see what kind of garden they wanted."
▲Ueno Farm in May.
Outside of Hokkaido flowers bloom in a specific order. For example, first comes plum, then cherry, and finally tulip blossoms. But here in Hokkaido they all bloom at once due to the large amount of water produced by melting snow. Also, the method of cultivating the flowers is completely different due to Hokkaido's cool climate.
"My whole thought process changed with the lupine flower. I was told that those in Hokkaido, compare to lupines in Tokyo, have much larger blossoms which last longer. That was when I realized that the image I held of a regular garden wasn't going to work here. I couldn't just mimic gardens from other climates, because the result would be completely different. So I decided that rather than pursue an English style garden, I would focus on perfecting a garden that reflected the Hokkaido climate. A garden you couldn't find anywhere but Hokkaido."
▲The long stalks of the lupine flower.
Seeing roses and hydrangeas blooming together may be a common sight for those of us living in Hokkaido, but elsewhere it would be quite unusual. In addition, the variation in temperature here causes the colors of the blossoms to be much more vivid than in other climates.
This temperature difference isn't always a good thing, though. Take for example the delphinium, with a low heat tolerance the plant actually melts in the hot Hokkaido sun, making reproducing an English Garden quite difficult.
At the end of our interview Ms. Ueno let me know her future plans for the garden.
"Thanks to the many helpful tips I received I've been able to create a garden which can only be found right here in Hokkaido. From this point on I'm focusing on spreading the word about this wonderful "Hokkaido Garden" as far as I can. We're also planning on connecting with local farmers and selling their products in the garden, holding musical concerts at our garden stage, and many other events! We want to bring as many people together as possible to create a unique Hokkaido experience for all our visitors!"
"One thing I've learned throughout this experience is that flowers never behave like you'd expect them to. My relationship with these plants has been frustrating at times and I've had some moments when I've felt like giving up, but knowing that people would be coming to view the garden always pushes me on.
The climates across Japan vary drastically, this leads to different styles of cultivation and different blooming periods. But I think that gives the plants in each region its own unique and special personality."
No matter what time of year you visit, this wonderful garden is always in bloom. So if you visit Hokkaido, be sure to stop by Ueno Farm and experience the beauty of this uniquely "Hokkaido Garden."
■上野ファーム (Ueno Farm)
■Ueno Farm on facebook
(186 16-Chome, Nagayama-cho, Asahikawa)
●The garden is open from late April to early October.
※Cafe open all year.
●Garden hours: 10:00 to 5:00
●Closed on Mondays.(The garden remains open every day during the season.)
●Garden admission: Adult-500 Yen, Elementary School age or younger-Free.
※For more information visit the home page.
(Hokkaido Likers Writer - Takako Chiba)
Photographs provided by 諏訪写真事務所 and Ueno Farm.