grape

Grape vine climbs three stories from sidewalk to roof deck

歩道の小さいスペースから、ブドウが三階を登っています。つる植物とこの家は同じ年齢でしょうか。

I wonder if this grape vine is as old as the house. It appears to be growing out of the tiniest opening between the house and the street.

Lovely sidewalk garden at Kichijoji plant store

花屋さんが世話をした歩道の庭は日本的で、同時に国際的です。最近、ブドウが熟して、オーナーと一緒にブドウを2つ食べたところです。日本的なところは、たとえば、カンノンチクという椰子と松があります。お店は、もうすぐ吉祥寺のちがう場所へ引っ越します。次の歩道の庭が楽しみです。

My favorite Kichijoji plant store is moving soon. I have long admired the owner’s meticulous sidewalk garden, full of surprises. Here are perfect grapes, two of which we have just eaten. The garden is a long narrow strip with some more plants in a light well and the stairway to the lower level entrance.

I like the mix of exotics like grapes, with traditional Japanese plants like pine and raphis palm, plus ferns, cactuses, and so many more plant types. The incredible variety of plants and the impeccable maintenance show off the gardener’s skills and wide interests.

More photos after the jump.

Continue reading

Grapes growing on a busy sidewalk

歩道と道路の間で、ぶどうが育っています。持ち主 はガードレールを高くして、使っています。

These grapes are growing in the narrow space between the sidewalk and a wide road in Oimachi. I like how this local gardener has adapted the city’s railing, and added additional height and support.

Summer fruit outside small apartment

Grapes nakano

Framing a second floor apartment entrance, this mature grape vine’s fruit are turning purple in mid August. I blogged earlier about the elderly woman who takes care of this garden. I have not seen her since she told me, “I like flowers, but I also like flower lovers.” She also mentioned how much she enjoyed my garden, too, although she has never been to our upper floor balcony.

Figs nakano

Her entire garden, which includes the amazing grape vine, a fig tree and some tall roses are growing out of five or six plastic buckets on the edge of the narrow street and a few hanging plants with blue flowers outside her  entrance. The plants intrude a little on the street, but mostly the garden is vertical.

garden overview figs grapes nakano

Frugality, Anticipation, Memory

On the way to the JR station, I passed a neighbor who was descending from her second story apartment and greeted her. Seemingly about 80 years old, she was carrying the bowl from her rice cooker. She showed surprised that this “foreigner” could speak (some) Japanese, and then proceeded to empty the water that had rinsed the rice onto her potted rose.

She was very proud of this blue-purple rose, which she told me her mother had given her. She also pointed out the potted loquat tree which would soon fruit and also an old grape vine tied up against the building. I admired her frugality in re-using water, her energy in traveling up and down the stairs, and her friendliness to this foreign neighbor.

This story  highlights how gardening is enmeshed with frugality, anticipation and memory. Frugality includes the water-reuse and also on-going maintenance of the plants over many years. Anticipation for what is emergent and what will soon be. And memory sparked by plants about who gifted them and what life was like back when they were planted.