I don’t know if you can eat these mini-pomegranates but they are really stunning. This is just on the other side of the wall from the yellow sunflower image I posted yesterday. I love how this gardener maximizes space by extending out into the public realm. The road-side part of her garden also gets more sunshine.
On Nakano Dori, just above Sasazuka, I marveled at this ingenious wall garden. I love that this gardener has created three horizontal layers of pots: on the sidewalk, on the suspended shelves, and on top of the cinderblock wall. There are also several levels of trees popping up from the micro space between the home and the wall. Along with the notice board and the bike parking, the garden shows how to maximize a limited space.
On a walk with Chris Berthelsen of Fixes, one of my favorite Tokyo blogs, we noticed this balcony overflowing with bougainvillea and other plants. Although many Tokyo balconies lack plants, it’s great to see one that is bursting with flowers and life. This corner balcony must have 40 or even 100 plants. I wonder what it looks like from inside the apartment.
I notice how they are using a small space tactic to maximize plants: vertical shaped pots which provide more soil for growing while occupying less horizontal space. This year I have started using similar shaped pots on my very full balcony.
Edible walls are a new idea alongside green roofs and green walls: maximizing urban space for plants and food. A New York Times article discuss how a collaborations between garden designers and a metal fabricator to create relatively simple soil and drip water systems that support lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, spinach, leeks, and even baby watermelon. The article mentions an antecedent in espaliered fruit trees in European cities during the Middle Ages. Recently, edible walls are being used in a Los Angeles homeless shelter to feed the residents and generate a small income.
Recently a director and landscape designer from 5bai Midori took me on a tour of three projects in Meguro, two residences across from each other and an apartment building. The two houses in Kami Meguro are across from eachother, with one residence garden inspiring its neighbor. Above you can see how the plants have thrived after seven years, with vines reaching the third floor roof garden, and an interesting mix of small plants, shrubs and trees framing the entrance. With the plants reaching maturity, you hardly see the boxes that are the foundation of the garden system. Because the plants are all local natives, maintenance is just twice per year.
The “Moegi” apartment building in Kakinokizaka below was designed by an architect who wanted to maximize greenery with 5bai Midori. Plants are placed along the sidewalk, in the main entrance, private courtyard, and side bicycle storage area. Above the street level, there is a ledge running the entire width of the building that is completely covered in 5bai Midori boxes.
The first of the Kami Meguro houses has a wild exterior that contrasts with the typical cinder block wall of the neighboring property.
Its side entrance consists of gently sloping pebble steps also based on 5bai Midori’s box system. The feeling is organic, private and charming.
You can see my previous posts about 5bai Midori and its founder Tase Michio. Below the jump are some additional photos of these three projects.