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Echinacea, native to eastern and central North America, does fine in a flowerpot on sunny Tokyo balcony

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国連大学の前のファーマーズマーケットで、お店を出しているShokubutsu Freakの片山陽介さんから買ったエキナセアという植物は、北米からきました。東京の晴れたベランダにもきれい。この狭いベランダには、日本のアサガオや熱帯のバナナの木やオーリブの木があります。何でも試してみます。

I bought this flower from my friend Katayama Yosuke of Shokubutsu Freak at the UNU weekend farmers market. Its North American provenance mixes nicely with Japanese morning glory, tropical bananas, and an olive tree.

 

 

Tokyo street gardeners are rule breakers

東京の路地に小さな庭のスペースを作る方は、一般のルールに従わないところが素敵です。このブログの写真を使って、友達のショウさんがBell Street Filmsと一緒に30秒のビデオを作ってくれました。去年、ショウさんはベランダの庭にデザイン人類学校と東京グリーンスペースについてビデオを作りました。

This 30 second clip features my photographs of flowerpot gardens and stories about their makers, who explain to me how they break the law in order to create safer streets. Last year, my friend Sho’s Bell Street Films made a short video about Tokyo Green Space and design anthropology, shot mostly in my balcony garden.

My favorite San Francisco sidewalk flowerpot garden

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サンフランシスコで一番好きな歩道の庭が家の近くにあります。この庭のオーナーはランドスケープのプロです。壊れた植木鉢を使っているのがとても良いアイデアだと思います。

Just down the street from me in San Francisco lives a Swiss landscape designer. His sidewalk garden, and especially this broken pot planted with succulents, is my favorite.

A closer view of decorative grass on Tokyo balcony

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小さな植木鉢の草がもっと詳しく見えます。色と動きがあって、大好きです。

The color and movement of this grass growing in a small flowerpot are very enjoyable.

Red edged grass adds compact color and movement in wind

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小さな植木鉢の草の先は赤くて、風で動きます。今年の夏、大好きな植物の一つです。

In a narrow ceramic flowerpot, this red edged grass provides color and movement with the wind. It’s one of my favorite plants this summer.

Best present ever, from Hiyoko in the Netherlands

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ベルギーの友達が買った種を分けてくれました。わざわざ郵便で送ってくれました。特別なキュウリやヒマワリやエンドウ。どれも植木鉢で育てやすいです。サイズが小さいものばかりです。キツネのイラストと手紙と説明書のついた小さな封筒が素敵です。ヒヨコさん、ありがとうございます!

The best present I have received in a long time. This gorgeous letter, with an illustrated, fox character, and five types of seeds selected, in Belgium, to do well in flowerpots. They include mini sunflowers, mini cucumber, micro pea, rice beans, and micro basil.

Recently, a young friend was perplexed by the very concept of a stationery store. “What? Don’t you just send by phone and e-stickers?,” he asked. Some things must be analog.

Thank you, Hiyoko! The seeds are already srpouting.

Marigolds provide spots of color in hand-made ceramics

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スーパで100円で買ったマリーゴールドはきれいな色です。5年前に、手仕事屋久家で、このしっかりとした陶芸の植木鉢を作りました。

These were some of the first ceramic flowerpots I made at my in-laws studio, Kuge Crafts. Here I’ve added some bright yellow and orange marigolds that I picked up at the nearby supermarket for 100 yen each. The ceramic are thick and heavy, which makes them ideal for a sometimes windy location. And the white glaze makes them easy to match with different flowers and herbs.

Strawberries are taking shape. Looks like 6 plants will make a big harvest.

「東京イチゴ」には、小さなフルーツがいっぱい出来ています。最初にイチゴを食べられるのは鳥か自分か分かりません。

There are so many small fruits taking shape on my six “Tokyo strawberry” plants. I hope we get them before the birds do.

Spring has sprung on my Tokyo balcony

東京のベランダで春の到来を感じるのが大好きです。今年の最初のアゲハを見ましたし、鳥がたくさん来ましたし、ブルーベリの花が咲いているし、イチゴのフルーツが大きなっています。

I love sensing spring’s arrival on my Tokyo balcony. First butterfly of this year, more birds, blueberry bush flowering, strawberries taking shape.

White pansies have bloomed all winter in kintsugi ceramic

史火で友人のマシューが作った金継ぎの植木鉢の中でこの白色のパンジーは冬からずっと咲いています。金継ぎという芸術は壊れた陶器を直すことです。

I love this white pansy and the beautiful kintsugi pot that my friend Matthew made at Shiho ceramic studio. Kintsugi is a technique for repairing broken pottery, and involves painting the cracked lines in gold or silver. They’re have been many continuous flowers for months, even though I never added soil or any nutrients to the store-bought filler plant. Very satisfying and cheerful.

Fire-colored African daisies on Tokyo balcony

ベランダに、火のような色のアフリカ・デイジーが咲いています。史火陶芸教室で作った植木鉢で一番大きいです。

African daisies on Tokyo balcony. This is the largest of the handmade ceramic pots I have made at Shiho studio.

True horticulturalists like rare plants, or specialize in specific species. And garden snobs often like a constrained palette. For my own garden, I like a lot of color and don’t mind the most ordinary plants if they are colorful and hardy.

“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.

Daffodils are very cheerful. Changing out the ceramic flowerpots.

ラッパスイセンはとても明るいです。陶芸の植木鉢の花を変えました。

It was nice to re-pot my favorite hand-made ceramics with fresh flowers. I love daffodils for being so cheerful, with a high contrast between fresh green leaves and yellow buds.

Ceramic flowerpots at Shiho student show

この写真は史火陶芸教室の展示会です。盆栽植木鉢と普通の植木鉢と壁用の花瓶を発表しました。黒粘土と赤粘土の上にかけた白い釉薬が好きです。自然で中間色だからです。来年、もっとエアプラントを入れた小さな植木鉢を作りたいです。

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.

Late summer balcony garden has some wildness

最近は季節が変わってきたと感じます。空気は乾燥してきたし、空はもっと青色ですし、ふわふわな雲が劇的に動きます。晩夏、うちの狭いベランダ庭では、野生の気分が出てきました。小さいな保育園の席やブルーベリーや陶芸の植木鉢があります。

The season is turning. The air is suddenly much drier, the sky bluer, and the clouds puffy and dramatic. These late summer photos show the wildness I was able to achieve in my narrow balcony garden this year.

Above is the view from the kitchen door. There’s a tiny nursery school chair, an already fading sunflower, a last burst of blueberries, and murasaki shikibu, a fall flower that I just bought.

Below you can see the shelf full of my amateur ceramic flowerpots, which can also be seen from the living room. One pot has basil. I like how the garden path seems longer and more over-grown than it is.