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.
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.
I found this lane when biking home from Koenji. I felt like I was in a small town, many decades ago.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This green pepper is growing slowly. Maybe I should just eat it now as a miniature vegetable?
From this perspective, the balcony garden path looks longer than its four meters. I’m pleased with how much I have packed in.
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.