I love fuchsias, especially unusual ones


Also at the San Francisco Botanic Garden, I bought some unusual fuchsias. I love the tiny pink and white flowers above, and the deep red, extended petals below. They brighten up a shade garden.


Flower wall house, from street to roof, brightens a bare spot in Nakano

最初のフィルムに、一番好きな中野と新宿の庭の写真をとりました。飯島さんの花の壁はとても素敵です。Plant Journal という雑誌の記事に、インタビューをしました。訪ねたときに、飯島さんは、「今、何も咲いていません」と言っていました。フィルムなので、イメージが古く見えますね。

For my first roll of film, I took photos of my favorite gardens in Nakano and Shinjuku, plus my own balcony garden. In the foreground above is Iijima-san’s flower wall house. He has 500 hundred potted plants, mostly flowers, rising from the street to the roof. I interviewed Iijima-san for the Plant Journal article I wrote recently.

His first sentence in greeting us was, “There’s nothing blooming now.”

It’s funny how using a film camera makes the image itself look older. The texture and colors in this image seem so different than the bright and flat images I am now accustomed to seeing with digital images. In the next days, I’ll put up more images from this first roll.

Potted camellia brightens concrete patio dead space


I like how this very common and hardy camellia brings some life to a concrete patio in a Nakano back street. I wonder who placed it there and keeps it well pruned.

I can easily  imagine a jungle growing between these older commercial buildings, a living food alley with scent and maybe a small creek bed. As it is now, this space between buildings functions as a giant chute for capturing rainwater, which then travels many kilometers and must be processed, alongside sewage, before being released into Tokyo Bay.

At least someone working or living there is decorating and enjoying the space.

Passion flower vine brightens inner city

Vines are a perfect city plant: requiring relatively little soil and space, covering large vertical areas, providing seasonal foliage and color. This wispy white passion flower is lovely.

Update: Since Jason informed me that maybe it isn’t a passion flower vine, I have added a second image. Anyone else have an idea what it is? Do you think that gourds/melons/squash are being formed? The added image also shows how the vine both covers that wall between properties and also decorates the side gate.

Sakura Beauty: from nature to craft

Sakura season is perhaps my favorite time in Tokyo. After a long cold winter, the beauty of cherry blossoms is stunning. I have been out and about this past week, enjoying hanami, or cherry blossom viewings with friends. In addition to socializing in parks, cherry blossoms also brighten every corner of the city: from the entrances of school yards to a single tree in an otherwise unattractive neighborhood. Going about by foot or by train, it is impossible not to catch a glimpse of mature trees bursting with pink petals.

The sakura theme gets carried over into food items, from Kit Kats to Starbuck drinks. And as if nature is not enough, it is also brought indoors with real branches and even paper crafts, as in this JR station near our apartment.

I’ll be adding many more posts about this season in the next days. . .