This is the second year that I am growing this beautiful daisy-like cream flower with very soft leaves, Actinotus helianthi, known in Japan as “fairy white” (フェアリー・ワイト). I think it’s odd that a plant that is iconic of Sydney, Australia, where it is called Flannel plant, does so well in Tokyo. My San Francisco gardener friend Hank was amazed to see it in Tokyo. The Wikipedia page suggests it likes well drained soil, so perhaps it was destined to be a potted plant!
Reading about this weekend’s winter snowstorm in the US mid-Atlantic, I realize how mild and wonderful Tokyo winters are. December is the season for camellias, and the balcony garden also has pansies, fairy white daisies, cyclamen, geranium, decorative cabbage, one last morning glory flower, and a maple bonsai just turning red now.
Below you can see the 5bai Midori satoyama box that has a mix of countryside plants, including deciduous and evergreen small shrubs, grasses, vines, and weeds.
On our balcony, this Okinawa morning glory is just now flowering. All but one of the four Japanese morning glories have died back. The Okinawa morning glory is a vivid “crystal blue,” whereas the Japanese ones are variegated. The Okinawa flowers and leaves are larger, growth vigorous, and best of all the tag claims it is a perennial.
Last Wednesday was the first official day of fall, so the wind charm has been packed away. New fall flowers include fujibakama, cosmos and a “fairy white” daisy.
Here’s what the Okinawa morning glory looks like when the bud is one day from opening. The flower lasts just one day, but each bud is in a cluster of three to six, and there are many forming this month.