On our Tokyo balcony, late summer clouds, Edo-style morning glory, New Zealand flax, and a banana tree are a mix of Pacific Ocean geographies.
空っぽになったベランダを見て、びっくりしました。ベランダの二百種類くらいの植物が東京の家族の小さな庭に移転されました。パートナーがこの写真を取って、Say Hi というサイトに載せました。ビルメンテナンスのために、二ヶ月以上、家に庭がありません。
It’s a shock for me, too, to see this photo of my empty balcony. The 200 or so plants on my Tokyo mid-rise balcony have been relocated to my in-laws’ small garden.
Our building is undergoing a two and a half month exterior renovation to patch cracks, replace drainage pipes, and otherwise maintain this 40 year old building. My spouse Shu Kuge took this photo and posted it to Say Hi.
In the garden’s absence, I’ll be focusing more on photos and stories about my neighborhood and Tokyo. Next up is a blog series documenting the demolition of two neighboring homes near my apartment.
In summer, lush foliage dominates my balcony garden. The morning glory curtain continues to bloom facing the sun, but inside there’s a cacophony of leaf shape and color tone, including olive, fig, and camellia. With so much new growth, you can hardly see the narrow wood path.
The top two photos face west and east. The lowest photo also faces east, and shows the layering of shoulder high and knee high plants. The grass plant in the white ceramic has some red leaves, which make a dynamic accent to the many shades of green.
A large crowd meets the ferry in Chichijima. Small hotels meet their guests, locals welcome their returning family and friends. There was even a steel drum band. Once on solid ground, in an island with a full-time population of about 2,000, you feel that you are in the most remote part of Japan. Well, certainly, it’s the most remote part of Tokyo.
What makes Ogaswara islands a world heritage site is that these volcanic islands have never been attached to a continent. Many of the plants and animals are unique to the islands. There’s been a lot of effort recently on Chichijima to control feral populations of goats, cats, and rats that are disturbing the local habitat.
Local nature guides showed us around the island by day and by night. We learned about some unusual plants and even saw giant bats with “tanuki” faces. There are many beautiful coves with clear water, and steep hillside walks. Below is the takonoki tree, or octopus tree, named because of the shape of its aerial roots and branches. It also creates giant, nubby fruit.
I’ve posted photos and written about this flower wall garden for The Plant, a visually stunning semi-annual magazine about urban nature. Even in winter, the garden is so colorful. Really, it is one of Nakano’s most incredible personal gardens, with hundreds of flowers covering the three story facade.
This year the plantings on the balcony seem extra thick. The twin towers in the distance are the offices of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
I transport by bike almost all the garden supplies for my balcony garden, including plants and soil. The big box, home center is about 2 kilometers away.
Cucumbers grow quickly, and they are easy to attach to the green curtain.