My smallest fruit tree



On my Tokyo balcony, I am growing fig, olive, banana, and this persimmon bonsai. It’s my smallest. I took photos of it last year at the same time.

Air plants in small containers sit on widow box



Easy to move around, the tiny scale of air plants are a perfect fit for a Tokyo apartment. I made the bonsai pots on the right at Kuge Crafts. The cat drawing on the left is by Shu.


Persimmon bonsai in two stages: new leaf, and early summer


This persimmon bonsai has been very easy to care for, and this year I’ve pulled two branches down to the base of the trunk, creating a circular shape. Above is how it looks now at the verge of summer. Below, new leaves pushing out in March.


Have you seen this cactus bonsai shop in Tokyo?



My friends at AQ, a Tokyo user experience agency, are big fans of Qusamura’s cactus bonsai. Lovely design.

Mini red pepper grown on balcony and set in bonsai pot


I was a little sad that this red pepper never grew past mini-size. But its the perfect size for this bonsai pot that I also use for air plants.

Still dormant persimmon bonsai on Tokyo balcony. Enjoying plants involves waiting.


My balcony garden is starting to perk up for spring, but this persimmon bonsai is still dormant. I remember the day I brought it back two years ago. My neighbor asked me what I have, and then gave me a sad look. “You know it takes eight years for persimmons to fruit, don’t you?” she asked me. I am more patient than I look.

Owner’s bonsai decorates Omotesando Koffee rustic cafe

この素敵な盆栽はOmotesando Koffeeのオーナが作った作品です。コケが特に元気そうです。表参道に来た時はいつもこの美味しいコーヒーを飲んで、昭和モダンふうのインテリアと庭を楽しみながら、バリスタと話して行きます。

This beautiful bonsai was decorating the very chic Omotesando Koffee shop. The cafe is a modern cube inside a Showa house with a cozy front garden. The very cheerful barista explained that the owner made this bonsai himself. I like how the bonsai looks next to the cappuccino and the aged wood of the house and cupboard. The moss is especially lush and lovely.

Plum bonsai in tiny but abundant home garden


This plum bonsai is part of a tiny but incredibly abundant garden also on the way to Nakano station. This gardener clearly knows about plants and seasons. Because almost all his plants are in pots, they can be moved around for maximum enjoyment.

Another bonsai transformed in winter


More indoor plant portrait photography.

I made this strange bonsai last summer with a small bi-colored grass, tall leafy tree, and gravel. It’s fun to watch the leaves turn deep red and fall. When it’s not inside, this plant is close to the kitchen window.

Bonsai shedding leaves



The winter sunlight is particularly good for indoor plant portrait photography.

Bonsais are the ultimate in portable and creating an entire, changing world with few elements. Part of gardening involves the overall effect of dozens or hundreds of plants. But part is also the specific plant and season.

As a balcony gardener using containers, I have many small plants that are especially portable. A single indoor plant can welcome a guest or create a mood.

Ceramic flowerpots at Shiho student show


These photos are from the Shiho ceramic show last month. I exhibited bonsai pots, regular pots, and wall vases. I like white glaze on black and red clay because it seems earthy and neutral. Next year I want to make more bonsai pots, and use them with air plants.

Air plants in bonsai pots

エアプラントと盆栽の陶芸の組み合わせ はどうでしょう? 史火陶芸教室の展示会のために、いろいろ盆栽用の陶芸を準備しました。不思議な組み合わせですけど、エアプラントの形と遠い起源を考えると楽しいです。さらに取り出しやすいので、鉢をよく見ることができます。

Preparing for the Shiho student show last month, I wondered how to show off the bonsai pots I made this year. I tried one with only gravel, and another with a tiny succulent. My favorite is perhaps the oddest combination: air plants. I like their shapes and their distant origins in a different climate. And I like how you can easily take them out and examine the pot. What do you think about this combination?

Pomegranate also grows well in Tokyo


Native to Persia (what is now Iran), pomegranates remind me of the Mediterranean. I was surprised to see a neighbor’s pomegranate tree full of fruit. I guess the neighbor is not eating them, since they are bursting open. The birds are probably happy to eat the delicious seeds, and then distribute them as they travel.

Last year I also took photos of neighborhood fruit trees, including a miniature pomegranate. There are special varieties used in bonsai making.

Potting plants for Shiho student ceramic show


Today I am potting up plants and getting my flowerpots ready for the Shiho student ceramic show. Above are the last two larger flower pots. When I go to the studio today, I’ll see how they look after being glazed and baked.

The one with the holes can be used with a candle, or you can place a plant inside that you’ve bought at the nursery in its original plastic pot. I like that it’s lighter weight, transparent, and easy to swap plants in and out.

I am also showing small pots and smaller bonsai pots. I have an idea for untraditional bonsai plantings, including air plants that can be removed so you can see the whole ceramic pot. For the larger pots, I’ll try to mix seasonal flowers, purple leafed cabbage, and some of the plants Matthew left in the back garden.

The show starts this Saturday and runs for five days. I’ll be at the gallery on Saturday from  3ish to 7, on Sunday from 5 to 7, and sometime next week depending on my work schedule.