Due to a long winter and heavy snow falls in the Niseko area, the spring season really starts in mid-May and while there is still snow remaining on the surrounding mountains, if you take a walk alongside the road of Niseko Shuzou (Niseko Sake Brewery) in nearby Kutchan Town, you will see Moss Phlox blooms spread across the ground from late May to early June, adding great splashes of colour in shades of blue-purple, pink, red or white when its masses of bright, fragrant flowers open up for 3-4 weeks. It is a stunning sight to behold!
Kazuo Mishima san started his spectacular Moss Phlox garden hobby when he retired from his potato and radish farming business at age 66, for his love of the vibrant and various shades of colour and the strong will of the plant to live through the colder conditions. Even when snow is still around, the flowers spread everywhere like a magic carpet and new roots grow stronger and further afield every year.
Hard physical labour is required to make the moss phlox garden, in trimming back the bamboo groves, clearing the edge of the surfaces and removing any large rocks from the ground. In preparation for full bloom, the daily routine is to remove all the weeds and moss, making footpaths around the garden and transplanting the new roots. Kazuo san doesn’t see it as hard work however and instead gets great joy in doing it on his own, which is why the flowers bloom more and more beautifully. His garden became popular, first through word of mouth and many media programs who have come to share his story. Now visitors just keep coming.
As each year passes, the roots grow stronger and the Moss Phlox blooms become more beautiful. It’s important to remember to remove the weeds and moss frequently, so the flowers can draw maximum nutrition to bloom.
Kazuo san’s Moss Phlox survives very harsh winter conditions and continues to bloom each year. He gets great enjoyment from tending to his beautiful garden and hopes people from all over the world will take up the opportunity to visit.