Clematis lost to unusual August typhoon

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先週の台風がグリーンカーテンのクレマチスを殺してしまいました。葉がきれいだったので、残念です。

Last weekend’s typhoon killed the clematis vine that had spread across the green curtain. It must have snapped close to the base.

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Some garden highlights, starting with one of the eight climbing vines

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今年の夏、八番目に買ったつる植物が江戸アサガオです。斑点のある葉がすてきでしょう?

The eighth, and most recent, climbing vine I bought was a 150 yen variegated Edo morning glory. The flowers are red, and the two colored leaves add variety to the green curtain. It’s not too late to get one started this summer.

 

It’s a small jungle in summer on my Tokyo balcony garden

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夏はベランダの植物がみんな大きくなります。緑の葉が多いので、ジャングルがみたいです。

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.

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Grove of trees shimmers in summer heat

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夏の港区の芝で、森林の葉が光っています。涼しいスポットです。

Definitely a cool spot between Shiba Koen and the office and commercial district leading to Hamamatsucho.

Native palm trees in Chichijima

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小笠原に自生するヤシの種類は二つあります。ビロウヤシはうちわ形の葉があって、辺りの植物より背が高いです。ノヤシは羽のような葉と木の幹に金の輪があります。

Ogasawara has two native palm trees. Both have very simple common names in Japanese: biroyashi, which means fan palm or Chinese fan palm,  and noyashi, a feather palm that uses the “no” of Nakano, which means field or rustic. The noyashi has beautiful, almost golden leaf bases on its trunk.  Below, in a nature sanctuary on the east side of Chichijima, the biroyashi rise above the low scrub on steep cliffs.

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Thinning radishes and turning roots and leaves into lunch salad

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ベランダで育ったラディッシュが美味しいです。種をたくさんまいたので、今、間引きする必要があって、小さいラディッシュを収穫しています。根も葉もランチのサラダにしています。

My balcony winter crop is radishes and snap peas, planted by seed. My Tokyo farmer friend Joan advised me to plant densely, and eat my way through the thinning process. The leaves are surprisingly tasty, as are the mini-red radishes.

The gate outside the small shrine near our apartment. I went to offer thanks today for visa renewal.

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新しいビザをもらったので、今日、地元の神社に参って、お礼をしました。鳥居とイチョウの葉がとても秋っぽいですね。

I stopped at the local shrine today to offer thanks for my visa renewal. The gate and the ginkgo leaves made me stop.

Using a bush to hide the balcony washing machine

カナメモチという植物を知っていますか。きれいな赤色と緑の葉の木で、ブラインドの代わりになります。東京でよく使われます。今、ベランダの洗濯機を隠したいです。

This red and green leafed bush, called kanamemochi (カナメモチ), is one of the most common hedges in Tokyo. I have a single plant, which used to be in front of the air conditioner. Now that we’re using the AC and blasting hot air into the balcony, I’ve had to move all the plants that used to be in front of it. I just potted it up, so hopefully it will become a thicker and better screen.

Morning glory in black and white

最近買った中古のフィルムカメラで、黒白フィルムを使いました。アサガオの濃い青色の花も緑の葉も強いですが、カラーのフィルムより詳しく形が見えます。蟻も見えます。

With my new film camera, a 10 year old model, I tried out a roll of black and white film. I like how the color is taken away from the deep blue flower and dark green leaves of this morning glory. Instead you can see the form more carefully. I like how you can even see some of the many ants that have inhabited the balcony garden and green curtain.

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?

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!

Making new year’s ornaments at Shiho

史火陶芸教室の生徒さんの一人、萩原さんがしめ飾りの作り方を教えました。材料はとても素敵だったと思います。様々なマツ、松ぼっくり、紙垂、稲穂、リボン、縄、ベリー、バラの実、乾燥した葉や花を使いました。お店で買ったしめ飾りよりずっと素敵です。萩原さんはこのブログをいつも読んでくれています。ありがとうございます。

Fellow Shiho ceramic studio student Hagiwara-san organized a new year ornament or shimekazari workshop. It was so fun to work with beautiful, fresh materials, including several types of pine needles, pine cones and woody seed husks, Shinto folded paper, rice, ribbons and ropes, berries and rose hips, even dried chocolate cosmos and other leaves.

In past years I’ve bought them from Muji or even the supermarket. It was fun how all of the hand-made shimekazaris turned out differently. Some had circular and oval bases made of twigs and bamboo, others were tied together in a bunch. I used wires to attach the mini pine cones and even a yuzu.

Hagiwara-san is also a loyal Tokyo Green Space reader. Thank you!