朝顔

Perfect morning glory green curtain covers the entire balcony

この朝顔のグリーンカーテンはベランダをずっと覆っています。ちょっとうらやましいです。古い建物だけど、生き生きとしています。

This morning glory green curtain covers the entire balcony in a 1970s apartment building. I am envious of how vigorous and full this vertical garden became. It seems that all the apartments have nets, perhaps to deter birds, yet few are so well used.

Edo morning glory has white border and stripes

江戸朝顔のほうが小さくて、色がたくさんあります。沖縄朝顔とは違って、江戸朝顔は白い縁どりと白い縞があります。歴史と花の大きさを考えると、東京にぴたっりです。

I am a big fan of Okinawa morning glory and Edo morning glory. The Edo ones typically have a white border and stripes, and come in many colors. They’re very showy, a good size for domestic spaces, and they evoke Tokyo history. The Okinawa morning glory is a deep blue perennial, and quickly spreads and covers much more space. Both share a distinctive leaf shape.

Okinawa morning glory on balcony green curtain

毎朝たくさん沖縄アサガオが咲いていて、グリーン・カーテンはいっぱいになってきました。江戸アサガオとちがって、沖縄アサガオは多年生植物です。この夏は三年目です。正午
までに、花は全部しぼんでいます。

節電のために、今年まだエアコンを使っていません。エアコンを使わないと、楽しめる場所がもっとできます。

Every morning, lots of Okinawa morning glories are blooming on our balcony, and the green curtain is filling out. Unlike Edo morning glory plants, Okinawa morning glories are perennial. This year is the third summer we’ve had this deep blue flower. By noon, the flowers are already wilting.

Because of energy conservation, we haven’t used the air conditioning yet this year. Also, by not using the air conditioning, there’s more space for me to enjoy the balcony garden.

Edo morning glory

Even though I planted the seeds back in May, it’s only recently that the Edo morning glory vines have climbed up to the top of the balcony and begun blooming. As their name implies, the flowers are most spectacular in the morning. By afternoon, they wilt and are finished. Each day there are about a dozen new flowers.

Last year, I visited the famous Iriya morning glory festival and bought five different colors. Last year I harvested seeds from all the plants (and also bitter melon, chamomile and some that I forgot). It’s interesting that all of my plants, and those I gave to friends, are this red and white variegated variety.

Here you can see that I stored the seeds in sake cups bought from a student at Shiho ceramic studio.

Elementary school teaches kids to grow morning glory

Last week’s election provided me the perfect pretext to check out the elementary school I always pass on the way to the train station. There was some minor confusion about why the foreigner was getting close to the polling station, but I was there just to observe.

Growing morning glories is a common elementary school project. I like how this semi-circle of trained vines is so organized and decorative. The flowers vary in color, and each plant is marked with the classroom that is providing care. I heard that the students track the progress in notebooks. Looks like fun.

Morning glory festival in Iriya

Morning glory festival in Iriya

This week I attended the Morning Glory festival in Iriya. Fifty vendors spread outside and inside the Iriya Kishimojin temple set up hundreds of thousands of plants for sale on July 6, 7 and 8. It is a symbol of the start of summer.

Many vendors wear traditional clothes, including hapi and momoshiki, plus towels worn as headbands to beat the summer heat. All the Japanese delivery services had representatives, who can deliver your morning glory throughout Japan for 800 yen (about $8.50).

Inside the temple I saw monks blessing plastic morning glory flowers with chanting and metal sparks. There was plumes of incense, small kids in colorful outfits, and television cameras.

Iriya Kishimojin monks blessing morning glories

I spoke with some European and Latin Americans working in the stall of their bonsai master Kobayashi Kunio. They confirmed that all the vendors were selling very similar plants. Most were four plants of different colored morning glory (pink, blue, purple, red, white, and striated flowers, and many with striated leaves) twined around a circular support. They also told me that the stalls were open from 6 am until 2 am, which makes for incredibly long days and little sleep. I picked up “ocean blue” for 2,500 yen and a four color mix for 2,000 yen.

Covered flower stalls occupied one side of the wide road, including one lane of traffic, and typical festival food the opposite side.

Police at Iriya morning glory festival ayu fish at morning glory festival in Iriya