Month: June 2012

Small and multifunctional space makes gardening fun

このベランダは小さいのに、多機能です。庭に加えて、洗濯機も物干用のロープもエアコンもあります。普通の東京ベランダです。

Our Tokyo balcony, like everyone’s, is a multi-purpose space: washing machine, clothes line, air conditioner. I like the constraint of gardening in a small space. There’s room for one tiny kid’s chair, and the blue bucket and ladle are what I use to water the garden.

Narrow garden path on balcony has many levels and lots of ceramics

庭の道は狭いのに、ベランダにはたくさんのレベルがあります。さらに、自作の陶芸の植木鉢もたくさんあります。

Amarylis bud provides focal point. In back are bare net and sea of buildings.

アマリリスのつぼみに焦点をあてました。背景にはまだ新しいグリーンカーテンのネットと波のような建物の列があります。去年2009年に、同じアマリリスの写真を出しました。

I also took photos of this bulb last year and in 2009.

Eggplant flowers break the dichotomy between edible and decorative

ベランダの植物に、食用と装飾との違いはありません。ナスの花がきれいです。この写真の中に、イチゴ、キュウリ、ブルーベリー、ロズーマリー、パセリが見えます。さらに、今年、オクラを育てています。花がきれいで、僕はオクラが嫌いですが、相方が大好きです。

There’s no contradiction between edible and decorative garden plants, especially on a small balcony. I love these purple and yellow eggplant flowers. Also in the frame are strawberries, cucumber, blueberries, rosemary, and parsley. This year I’m also growing okra, which I don’t like to eat. It’s a beautiful plant, and my husband will eat them.

Koenji street looks like narrow country lane, with stone walls and old gardens

自転車で高円寺から戻ってくるときに、この狭い路地を見つけました。数十年前の田舎の雰囲気 があります。

I found this lane when biking home from Koenji. I felt like I was in a small town, many decades ago.

Second floor, add-on garden on Koenji shopping street

二階に昭和時代の建物に作られた、このきれいな庭が大好きです。ルックという高円寺の商店街で。

I’ve long admired this second floor, add-on garden in the Look shopping street that connects Shin Koenji and Koenji stations. It’s such a simple and bold addition to an older building.

Palms are unexpected feature of Tokyo gardens

自然に生えているシュロというヤシが大好きです。東京の中で、ヤシはちょっと意外で、すてきだと思います。

I love the semi-wild shuro palm, and how it pops up unexpectedly in Tokyo gardens. This is at the “forest house” in Nakano, looking up towards the sky. Utility lines are also a common Tokyo landscape element.

Another view of Nakano forest house, with film

フィルムで、中野の森の家が、デジタルでとった写真とは、違って見えます。みどりが生い茂っています。

This film photograph of the mysterious Nakano forest house looks so much different than the digital one I posted recently. I love how green and over-grown this house has become.

Miniature four season garden extends into the street

駅に行く途中で、石井さんの庭をいつも見ます。小さな場所なのに、伝統的な四季の植物がたくさんあります。路地に植木鉢をおいて、車がゆっくりすぎるようにしているそうです。
This miniature four seasons garden I also included in the Plant Journal article. I pass it almost every day on my walk to the station, and I am enchanted that such a small space can accomodate almost all of the classic Japanese garden plants, including bushes and trees. Ishii-san also explained that he places the flower pots in the street to slow automobile traffic. A few weeks ago, I posted a photo of Daisuke Hamada taking a photo of Ishii-san.

Flower wall house, from street to roof, brightens a bare spot in Nakano

最初のフィルムに、一番好きな中野と新宿の庭の写真をとりました。飯島さんの花の壁はとても素敵です。Plant Journal という雑誌の記事に、インタビューをしました。訪ねたときに、飯島さんは、「今、何も咲いていません」と言っていました。フィルムなので、イメージが古く見えますね。

For my first roll of film, I took photos of my favorite gardens in Nakano and Shinjuku, plus my own balcony garden. In the foreground above is Iijima-san’s flower wall house. He has 500 hundred potted plants, mostly flowers, rising from the street to the roof. I interviewed Iijima-san for the Plant Journal article I wrote recently.

His first sentence in greeting us was, “There’s nothing blooming now.”

It’s funny how using a film camera makes the image itself look older. The texture and colors in this image seem so different than the bright and flat images I am now accustomed to seeing with digital images. In the next days, I’ll put up more images from this first roll.

Rediscovering film photography

この二年間、ブログの写真は全部、Canon S90の自動露出のデジタルカメラを使っていました。先月、中古のフィルムカメラを買いました。最後にフィルムを使ったときは、1990年代にリオデジャネイロに住んでいたときです。和田のホリユチのラボが現像しました。もうすぐブログに最初のフィルムの写真をのせます。

My tiny point and shoot Canon S90 has provided almost all the photos on Tokyo Green Space. Inspired by seeing the revival of film cameras, and assisted by B/B who gave me advice and a tour of Nakano’s famous Fujiya used camera shop, I’ve just started taking film photographs with a super cheap Canon EOS Kiss 5 camera body and a good 50 mm lens.

I’m excited about improving my photography skills, and seeing what film can do. It’s also fun to go to film labs. I took my first roll to Horiuchi’s main office in nearby Wada. The last time I used a professional lab I was a graduate student in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in the 1990s. What I like about the Wada location is that, although very close to where I live, I always get lost going there by bike.

Balcony green pepper. It’s miniature perfection.

きれいなピーマンがゆっくりと育っています。たぶん、そのまま、小さいのを食べたほうがいいかもしれません。

This green pepper is growing slowly. Maybe I should just eat it now as a miniature vegetable?

Illusion of long garden path in narrow high-rise balcony

ベランダは狭くて短いです。けれども、この角度からは、庭の道がちょっと長く見えます。

From this perspective, the balcony garden path looks longer than its four meters. I’m pleased with how much I have packed in.

English artist Simon Parish sent me his lovely drawings of Tokyo potted plant gardens

サイモン・パリッシュというイギリスのアーチストから、東京の植木鉢の庭の絵をいただきました。二十年前に東京に住んでいたそうですが、今でも東京の感じをよく覚えているんですね。

I was pleasantly surprised to hear from English artist Simon Parish, who shared with me (and my readers) his drawings of Tokyo potted plant gardens. I love his compositions, the contrast between the line drawings and the (hand-colored?) plants and pots, the mix of cultivated and semi-wild urban vegetation.

Simon explained that he lived in Tokyo about 20 years ago. I am super impressed with his current art work, and feels it evokes the types of Tokyo city gardens that this blog celebrates. Maybe, garden-wise, Tokyo does not change so much over the decades or even centuries.

Dahlia in ceramic pot from Shiho

エアコンの上に、オレンジ色のダリアが咲いています。史火陶芸教室で作った植木鉢です。

Resting on the air conditioner is this orange dahlia in a ceramic pot made at Shiho.