blue

Two types of morning glory cover summer balcony

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空の状態によって、アサガオの色がいつも変わります。この二つは対象的な色ですね。それぞれの花は半日くらいしかもたないので、もっときれいに思えます。

The colors of these two morning glories depend on the sky and change during the day. They are always contrasting: pink and violet, red and blue. Flowering for less than a day, their impermanence adds to their charm.

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Okinawa morning glory became dominant element of summer balcony garden

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夏のベランダで、琉球のアサガオが一番目立つ存在になっています。マンションと都市の間に、きれいなブラインドになってくれています。

When it was blooming prolifically, the Okinawa morning glory became an exterior screen between the apartment and the city outside. The shades of violet, red and blue are stunning.

Lovely vine covers street-side window with red and yellow lanterns

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花がいっぱい咲いている蔓植物が路地の前の窓にちょっとしたプライバシーを提供しています。濃い青色の陶器タイルもきれいですね。

I love how this easy to grow vine sends its growth down. The owner has trained it over the street-side window so that it provides additional privacy. There’s also two types of bamboo shades, and three spider plants. I also like how the blue ceramic tile adds a decorative element to what is a very functional architecture typical of post-war Japan.

Adorable blue creature guards apartment from mosquitos

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このかわいい青色の生き物が部屋を守ってくれています。この「自宅警備」担当の生き物は、まつげもあります。蚊が入ってこないようにしてくれます。こんなものを見たことがありますか。

After a recent mosquito outbreak, we now have these adorable blue creatures providing a security barrier between us and outdoor pests. I find the creature’s alert expression particularly comforting. Those eyelashes are always wide open.

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Sky Tree at night, with willow tree in foreground

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浅草から、柳とスカイツリーが一緒に見えます。

Viewed from Asakusa, not only is Sky Tree bigger, but you can see more details of the lighting scheme.  From Nakano, you hardly notice the blue light, and the more subtle red trim. I also like how the willow references Tokyo’s Edo past, and Sky Tree, although newly built, appears to be a 1960s’ vision of the future.

Is this a fall offering at the shrine? I love the combination of potato and deep blue flower

神社で、ポテトとリンドウの花がとても秋らしいお供物だと思います。

This shrine offering seems the essence of fall. I’m probably off from the official symbolism, but the potato makes me think of warm soup and the tall blue rindou flower (scrabra in Latin) signals the start of fall.

This shrine, near Akebanabashi station, is wedged between a wide road and the Shuto elevated freeway.

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.

“Scabiosa blue balloon” sounds like a medical condition and hospital gift. Actually, it’s very fetching.

「スカビオサ・ブルー・バールン」という名前は疾患か病院からのプレゼントみたいです。ライラックの色はとても素敵です。今年、はじめて見ました。

This lovely lilac flower with an odd name, Scabiosa blue balloon, is one I don’t remember seeing before. It’s native to southeast England, and developed into a garden cultivar. I like to mix up nostalgic plants like daffodils with ones I’m not familiar with.

Blue salvia, wood house, and bicycle

青色のサルビアと自転車と木造の家がかっこいい景色を作っています。庭というよりも、カジュアルで、気取らない、たくましい都市自然です。

Casual, unplanned, resilient. The city has a life of its own: season, history, transportation, housing, color, and mood.

A walk through Harajuku backstreets on a hot summer day

原宿の路地を歩くと、いろいろな庭を見ることができます。おしゃれな建物のグリーンカーテンや戦前からある伝統的な日本庭園もあります。私が好きな庭はシンプルで、たくましくて、さりげないです。大きな青山団地でトマトとゴーヤを見つけました。

With @luismendo visiting from Amsterdam, my Tokyo DIY Gardening pal Chris and I took him on a tour of Harajuku backstreets looking at gardens, eating tonkatsu, and stopping for some excellent cold coffee.

Harajuku is fun because the residential area has houses and gardens from all or almost all the past eight decades. The Harajuku gardens that appeal to me are similar to ones elsewhere in Tokyo for their simplicity and easy adaptation to urban life. Some results are clearly unintentional.

My photos include a three story garden of ivy and bamboo that covers one house and provides a buffer with its neighbor, a sleek concrete building’s balcony green curtains that are just starting to fill out on two floors, a blue flowering vine that somehow became a giant bush, a tiny entrance garden outside a pre-war house that has been converted into the very elegant Omotesando Coffee.

We also explored the enormous Danchi that between 246 road and Harajuku. This sprawling bauhaus-like public housing project has a wonderfully chaotic and varied set of gardens created by generations of residents. In July, we spotted lots of tomatoes, vertical bitter melon, and these purple gloves on top of an ad hoc garden support.

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.

Let’s cover Tokyo in winter lavender

東京を冬のラベンダーでいっぱいにしよう。

It’s the second day of the new year. I am enjoying the blue sky and the realization that there is so much winter gardening that you can do on a Tokyo balcony. This lavender continues to bloom under the clothes rack. I can enjoy the beautiful color from my kitchen desk, and my clothes can brush up against the scented leaves as they dry.

Tokyo has a special feeling during the first days of the year, when many residents are still celebrating the holiday with their families outside the mega-city. In this quiet time, I wonder about covering a Tokyo building with lavender plants, or creating small lavender city farms on a scale large enough to allow Tokyoites and international visitors to bring lavender gifts home to their families.