Planning a small garden at a new house in Nakano


I was so happy to see that the new neighbors are putting in a small garden. They built their house on a lot that used to have weeds and summer-time bats, after holding a Shinto ceremony. I am excited to see what they plant.

Snap pea seedlings grow in biodegradable paper starter pots



When the seedlings get a little bigger, I’ll plant them everywhere on the balcony garden.

Small potted plants on bamboo bench in Golden Gai

It was fun to visit Golden Gai during the morning, with all the micro-bars closed and few people around. I love the well-kept potted plants on this bamboo bench.

Can you spot the tiny cucumber taking shape?


Cucumbers grow quickly, and they are easy to attach to the green curtain.

Pop-up plant and flower shop in Shibaura


I like how this flower and plant shop occupies this empty lot on a Shibaura side street. It’s also nice to see that others use their bikes for plant shopping.

Winter decorative cabbage in flower ceramic


Still more indoor plant portrait photography.

Another plant that usually lives outside in the balcony garden, decorative cabbage is great for winter color. I also like how the purple leaves and mini trunk combine with the flower design of the ceramic. In San Francisco, raccoons ate our decorative cabbage the first night we brought them home. The next day two raccoons knocked on the backdoor with a hungry look on their faces.

Another gerber hybrid



Another gerber hybrid. More indoor plant portrait photography.

I’d never before seen a gerber with shredded petals. Another lovely winter flower in Tokyo.

Mini gerber makes loud cheer


More indoor plant portrait photography.

I love how this short stemmed pink-and-white gerber is so loud. It seems super-charged with fertilizers, which seems likely since I bought it at Shimachu, a “DIY” home center in Nakano. I like the prices and the proximity, although I consider many of their plants more on the human side of the nature continuum.

In winter, it seems like some of the filler and seasonal color I bought there is lasting a long time. And I think there’s a perverse balance in combining factory-produced plants with hand-made ceramic.

Another bonsai transformed in winter


More indoor plant portrait photography.

I made this strange bonsai last summer with a small bi-colored grass, tall leafy tree, and gravel. It’s fun to watch the leaves turn deep red and fall. When it’s not inside, this plant is close to the kitchen window.

Bromeliads add easy indoor color in winter


More indoor plant portrait photography.

I like bromeliads, which brings color indoors easily. This one still looks good after I bought it in November. They are especially lovely in winter. The white ceramic I made at Shiho ceramic studio.

Bonsai shedding leaves



The winter sunlight is particularly good for indoor plant portrait photography.

Bonsais are the ultimate in portable and creating an entire, changing world with few elements. Part of gardening involves the overall effect of dozens or hundreds of plants. But part is also the specific plant and season.

As a balcony gardener using containers, I have many small plants that are especially portable. A single indoor plant can welcome a guest or create a mood.

Making coleus starter plants using coconut soil


I have this red coleus plant that got leggy, so I cut it back and rooted the extra pieces. Now I am hoping to make a half dozen starter plants using the coconut soil that comes wrapped in string nets. I recycled two containers to hold the starter plants.

Valued by US preppies, hosta seems ignored in Tokyo


Although hosta is an Asian plant, it’s more popular in America. For Americans, hostal is a very elegant import and expensive feeling. I associate it with upper class neighborhoods in New York City and elsewhere in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. You hardly see it in Tokyo. It’s easy to grow and very attractive I think.

Lovely sidewalk garden at Kichijoji plant store


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.

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