hibiscus

Scenic combination of Showa window and Chinese parasol tree with pods

昭和時代の窓と大きいアオギリの木は素敵です。今、薄緑色の花がたくさんついています。東京にはもっと古い建物と熟成した木がいります。

Near our apartment is this older house with a deciduous tree that fills out in the summer. I love the bunches of light green pods it produces. Sadly there are not enough old houses or old trees in Tokyo. When you see this combination in Tokyo, it’s at once nostalgic and perhaps futuristic.

Ever resourceful Jason at Flora Grubb Gardens identified it by photo as a Firmiana simplex, Chinese parasol tree in English or aogiri (アオギリ) in Japanese. A quick visit to Wikipedia taught me that it’s an ornamental tree related to cacao. It’s within the same plant family as cotton, okra, hibiscus, and abutilon.

Mukuge blooms along the streets in August

8月はあまり花が咲きません。多分、暑すぎるからです。けれども、東京の歩道で、ムクゲは育ちやすいです。明るい色と江戸文化との関係に興味があります。

August has more foliage than flowers, and it seems that few can bear the unrelenting heat. That’s what’s so wonderful about “Mukuge” (ムクゲ) a Japanese hibiscus that grows easily on Tokyo city sidewalks. I like the wild colors that make the city more spectacular, and Mukuge forms part of the Aoi (アオイ)family of flowers associated with the Edo shogunate.

Photo of Omeikaido Dori sidewalk, across from Sanshinomori Park in Higashi Koenji 蚕糸の森 公園、東高円寺。A small sign says that it was planted in March, 2010 with support from KDDI.

New Year’s Day Fuji View

New Year’s Day in Tokyo, and there’s a bright blue sky and view of Mount Fuji from the balcony. The southern exposure and high floor make it feel balmy during mid-day. You can see in the full photo below that I have planted winter kale, lavender, hibiscus, geranium, and something that looks like salvia but isn’t.