Month: May 2012

Simple filler plant chosen for leaf color is on creepy edge of bio-tech and urban garden marketing

色がおしゃれなので、最近この濃い葉の植物を買いました。ラベルにはおかしなマーケティング戦術が見えます。前には、「テラス・ブロンズ」という名前しかありません。色はブロンズというより、もっと紫に近いです。さらに、グリーンカーテンにと書いてありますが、この植物は登らないで、しだれます。サントリー製品で、無断で商品として使えません。ヒルガオとアサガオに関係します。
I bought this dark leafed plant as filler and good contrast in leaf color.
When I brought it home from Shimachu, our home center, I realized that the front label doesn’t even mention a horticultural name. It’s simply called “terrace bronze,” and it’s marketed as a balcony plant in their “terrace series.” Oddly, they even suggest it as a “green curtain” plant, although it would make a better weeping wall cover than climber.
On the label’s flip side, the tag explains how Suntory reserves all rights to this species, including any future plants. Kind of scary, no?

Interviewing neighbors for Plant Journal article about flower pot gardens

バルセロナの「plant journal」という雑誌が東京の植木鉢の庭について記事を聞きました。浜田大輔さんはフィルム写真を撮りました。近所の庭師たちをインタビューをして、楽しかったです。

Barcelona-based Plant Journal invited me to write an article about Tokyo flower pot gardeners, and arranged for Daisuke HAMADA to take film photos of the gardens I selected in Nakano and Shinjuku. I interviewed two older gentlemen whose gardens I’ve long admired.

Hamada-san’s fantastic photos inspired me to buy a film camera, and in a few weeks I’ll start posting from my first roll. I think it’s been nearly twenty years since I had a film camera.

Professor Owl teaches a class of animals, near Nodai campus

農大の近くに、梟先生が動物のクラスを教えています。コンクリート・ブロックの壁の中に、小さな驚きです。

What a happy classroom taught by professor owl. Yuki spotted this cute diorama in the gap space in a resident’s cinderblock wall, between Nodai and the Kyodo station. What a tiny surprise.

Fantastic garden entrance for Suginami residence

この自宅の入口はすばらしいですね。庭は背が高くて濃いです。

It is amazing that this house and tall garden still exist in Tokyo. I love how thick the garden is, and how open the entrance is to the street.

Lost kids’ gloves placed in sidewalk garden for neighbor to find

この手袋はオーナを見つけたでしょうか。歩道のもう一つの使い方です。他の国では、落とし物こんな風に見せる習慣はあまり見られません。

It’s quite common to see that lost items are placed prominently at eye level, in case neighbors return to look for something that fell off a bike, stroller, or handbag. I’ve benefited myself from this system of retrieval and display. It’s a little late for gloves this year, but I hope they find their guardian.

Clematis flowering above manhole in Nakano

マンホールの上にある植木鉢のクレマチスは素敵です。マンホールがいい舞台になっていると思います。

This potted clematis looks lovely over the manhole. It’s a perfect stage.

Pine tree filling out between winter’s hard prune and summer’s heat

この杉の葉は大きくなっています。冬は極端に切りつめて、日差しを増やします。夏は影を作ります。古い監視カメラがあるので、人の作った庭だとわかります。けれども、だれも見ていないと思います。

I like how this pine tree is starting to fill out. It was hard pruned for winter, which allows more sunlight into the apartments. By summer it provided thick shade. Somehow this dubious security camera adds to the charm of this very orderly tree.

“We are people who scoop. Environmentally active students.” That’s the welcome message for prospective students.

.@ilynam とユキさんと一緒に農大に来て、強い雨に降られました。入口に、「すくう人。環境学生』のポスターを見て、うれしくなりました。鈴木先生のために、海外に作られた日本庭園のことについて学べるサイトを作ります。デザインと庭と画像と土を一緒にするので、このプロジェクットは楽しいです。

It was raining when @ilynam and Yuki joined me for the first meeting to create a website for the 500 garden database of Japanese gardens outside Japan, a project I am helping Suzuki sensei with this year.

At the entrance to the school, somehow this rainy scene was an apt start for this exciting project where we will mix design, gardens, pixels, and soil. Bringing this knowledge online will be very helpful for people around the world who are interested in knowing about and visiting hundreds of Japanese gardens in dozens of countries. And working with design stars Ian and Yuki, I am confident that we can combine simplicity and beauty in the interface.

The banner offering campus tours for new students says, “We are people who scoop. Environmentally active students.” The word sukuu means “scoop” and also “save.”

Seed bomb recipe for kids workshop at Shibaura House

.@ShibauraHouse の子供たちのワークショップのために、この種爆弾のレシピを書きました。五種類の種を使いました。人と動物の食べられる植物を選んで、背の高い花は見えやすいので選びました。子供が粘土と土と種を混ぜて、汚れるときが楽しかったようです。

This is the handout I made for the Shibaura House seed bomb workshop for kids. The recipe is 5 parts powdered clay, 2 parts soil, 1 part seed, and 1 part water. Thinking about the season, late spring, just before rainy season, I chose clover, soba, sunflower, hollyhocks, and watermelon.

The seed selection also responded to the theme of “eating and seeing green.” I wanted to provide food for animals as well as people, as well as flowers that are tall and easy to see. The soba and clover seeds are the least expensive and served as the seed “base.”

Corrected: Below are photos from the event, taken by Naomi Muto and written up by Shirakuma Ikuko in Japanese. It’s funny that my instructions were to make balls (dango), but the kids enjoyed making shapes like stars, bows, donuts, Jupiter, and even a black hole.

In the afternoon, the adults who attended the kick-off talk event also participated in vegetable planting on the 4th floor. Shibaura House is tweeting the growth of their new garden!

Ceramic vase with balcony’s first rose this year, plus rosemary

史火陶芸教室で作った花瓶に、ベランダの植物を入れました。このピンクバラはいい香りがします。形と香りのために、ローズマリーも一緒に入れてみました。

Using balcony plants, I created this small arrangement in a ceramic vase I made at Shiho. This pink rose has a good scent, and i added rosemary for additional scent and its mix of hard needles and curvy stems.

Interview in the Japan Times about Tokyo Green Space

Japan Timesという日本で一番大きい英語新聞に、Tokyo Green Space のインタビューが出ました。丸井の屋上の庭でインタビューが行われて、ちょうどその時、店員さんが芝生に掃除機をかけていました。都市生活と自然が完璧にミックスしてました。

The Japan Times, Japan’s largest English language newspaper, published an interview about Tokyo Green Space online and in print. The interview took place on Marui’s roof garden, and when we met there, a staff member was vacuuming the lawn. A perfect mix of city life and gardening. I hope you find the interview interesting.

Here’s the print version of the newspaper, where the blogroll interview is positioned on the “Techno Times” page. You can click to make it larger.

“Masters Garden” phrase makes odd sales pitch

不動産の広告で、「Masters Garden」という英語が使われていました。イメージはオフィスみたいだけれど、贅沢なマンションです。英語で「master」は奴隷所有者かs/mの感じです。この和製英語は変です。

In this real estate ad, the building looks more like a corporate office than a place anyone wants to live. But the phrase “Masters Garden” in English seems particularly inappropriate, as if they are advertising to former slaves the opportunity to move into the Big House. Or maybe it’s meant to appeal to the S/M buyers of luxury apartments.

Kiwi leaves spreading out on last year’s vine

キウイの葉はきれいな形です。春に、若葉がとても新鮮に見えます。キウイのフルーツのように、男性と女性の木がいるでしょうか。うちのベランダには一つだけしかないですが、たぶんどこか隣に違う性のキウイがあればいいです。

I love the shape of this kiwi vine’s leaves. They look so fresh and new. I am not sure if you need a male and female kiwi to produce fruit. I hope one of our neighbors has the right sexed kiwi to activate ours!

Roses spill out of control between house and sidewalk

二階から路地まで、ピンクのバラがあふれています。手に負えない様子が素敵です。

I love this outpouring of pink roses extending from the second floor of the house out into the small street.

Mature dogwood beautifies old Showa-era building in Tamchi

雨の日の田町、ハナミズキが昭和の建物をもっときれいに見せています。隣の建物が今はコインパーキングになってしまいました。@Shibaura House の岩中さんと散歩して、来月のフィールドワークのワークショップの準備をしました。

On a wet day in Tamachi, this mature dogwood beautifies a Showa era building. The building next door has been replaced with coin parking. I took a long walk with Iwanaka-san of Shibaura House to prepare for next month’s “field work” workshop on green mapping.