I had a great time visiting the monthly San Francisco Botanic Garden’s plant sale, run by volunteers for fundraising. There are always very unique plants and lots of expert advice. Compared to commercial sellers, the plants have all been tested and cultivated locally, and the prices are very good. I filled a cardboard box with 12 small plants that cost $65, and hauled it home on the MUNI train.
Below is a luculia bush, which was flowering exuberantly when purchased. It’s my third. They grow easily, and the scent is lovely.
This year’s green curtain is filling in. Already leafing out are the perennial Okinawa morning glory, jasmine, and a pink rose. The kanamemochi (photina) bush is about 1.5 meters tall, and brings the garden right up to the sliding glass kitchen doors.
In the park next to Higashi Koenji.
This summer I up-sized the pot for this wonderful kanamemochi bush, so common in Tokyo. In spring the new leaves are red, and it’s very easy to prune the bush into a hedge or any shape you want. I want to use it as a screen for the washing machine or air conditioner.
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.
This winter seems to never end. So I biked over to the local home center recently, and loaded up on bright flowers including daffodils, tulips, stock, and this amazing lupinus. I am familiar with it as a very handsome deep blue flowering perennial, native to North America, that becomes a bush. I’d never seen it in candy colors and bred for maximum floral display. It’s at once familiar, odd, and just the right antidote for more cold days.
The flower looks almost like a gardenia, but the neighbor’s bush is over 2 meters tall. It seems very hardy. It blooms in June.
Biyou yanagi (ビョウヤナギ) is the perfect Tokyo rainy season bush. The flowers radiate with color when the sky is often overcast. Each flower produces dozens of delicate stamen that catch the smallest breeze, and the bush overall seems very hardy for urban life, with very attractive leaves. I think its Latin name is Hypericum monogynum. This one’s growing in the section of my apartment building garden that an elderly couple takes care of.
Does this bush grow in your city?
At the beginning of the rainy season, flowers bloom between raindrops and an abandoned wood house.
Between my apartment and the main road, there’s an abandoned wood house. I wrote about how the supermarket loading area guard trimmed this tree which once originated in a pot. I think it’s a pittosporum.
Note: For the next days, I’ll post some garden pictures I took in the weeks before the earthquake. These are images from the end of winter.
Spiraea cantoniensis (コデマリ or kodemari in Japanese) makes lovely snow blossoms in winter. I like how it looks equally good as a rambling, woody bush, or as a small balcony plant.
Although this species is most diverse in East Asia, according to Wikipedia, Native Americans have used it as an aspirin-like medicine.
Everywhere I walk in Tokyo, I notice the incredible scent of Winter Daphne (daphne odora, or ジンチョウゲ). Beginning in late February, between plum and cherry blossom seasons, this compact bush with glossy leaves produces hundreds and thousands of red flower buds that open pink and release a mesmerizing scent. It must be easy to grow since I’ve seen it planted in front of offices and houses. The photo above is from the new Nakano Marui department store, which has created a very lovely garden and mid-block pathway that I will write about soon.
The Saipan lemon tree I planted on my balcony last year is full of blowers: what a great scent, and hope for future lemons. I have been doing a lot of gardening now that the weather has gotten warmer: planting seedlings, buying vegetable starters, trying out a new coconut husk soil, purchasing a few large flowers and shrubs, and generally filling up the balcony with plants, flowers, and dreams. I’ll be posting more photos soon.