The Sakurasou, the Mountain and Me.
                                                
Tomoshige Hirota  

I bought a few Sakurasou seedlings from a gardening shop in 1984, and have never looked back since.

I first heard about the beauty of the Sakurasou at Takagamo shrine from an acquaintance of my late mother, whom she met on Mt. Kongo-zan.   At that time, mother was well known for climbing the mountain 4-5 times a week.  In fact, it was said that she was like one of the characters from the book eSamurai of Mt. Kongo-zanf, and she knew everything that was happening on the mountain.

In 1985, after climbing Mt. Kongo-zan with my Mother one day, we went to see the Sakurasou at Takagamo Shrine.  I was impressed by the huge number on display, and I wanted 'to make such a flower bloom'.

After that, every Spring I would go with my mother to Takagamo Shrine and buy about 20 Sakurasou plants in pots.  The number of seedlings I had increased every year, but at that time I never thought that I would end up growing 1000 plants, representing 400 kinds of Sakurasou.

I decided to join the eNaniwa Sakurasou Societyf in 1986, and ended up receiving many Sakurasou plants from other members, which in turn helped to increase my portfolio of plants.

Mother loved Mt. Kongo-zan, and climbed it 1,500 times. She died of cancer in January, '89, and after her death I felt almost empty inside.  That year the Sakurasou were late too, and I was worried, but in the end they bloomed magnificently and this lifted my spirits hugely. 

The mountain climbing that I was doing at the time was of the energetic type, and I often ran up Mt. Kongo-zan.  My mother, on the other hand, was of the eslow and steadyf school of thought.  We both, however, shared a love for the mountain, in the same way that we both shared a love for Sakurasou.