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.
There’s no contradiction between edible and decorative garden plants, especially on a small balcony. I love these purple and yellow eggplant flowers. Also in the frame are strawberries, cucumber, blueberries, rosemary, and parsley. This year I’m also growing okra, which I don’t like to eat. It’s a beautiful plant, and my husband will eat them.
This is the second okra plant I have spotted along the small street leading from my apartment to the JR station. I was impressed with how beautiful its flower is. In the background is a climbing bitter melon vine, and a dog house. The “yard” is paved, so all the plants are in pots.
I have been passing this pot of okra for a weeks as I walk to the station. It’s great that this small pot is at eye level. A few days after I took these photos, they were harvested. I wonder how the neighbor cooked them.