rainy season

Finally drying out after long rainy season


Summer colors and umbrellas make a grey day more cheerful.

“Balloon vine” spreads out quickly, with white flowers and odd sacks





Another fast and cheap climbing vine is called “balloon vine” (fusenkazura) in Japanese. I love how it spreads out, attaches to the rope, and offers white flowers and odd sacks.

Perennial Okinawa flowers are brilliant against the grey sky



I love this Okinawa morning glory that I’ve been growing on my balcony for years. Even after a hard trim last fall, it’s back and blooming every morning. The flowers are brilliant against the grey sky.

Leaf by leaf, the balcony green curtain fills in



In a month of humidity and heat, this year’s green curtain is gradually filling in. There are now eight vines, and the banana tree providing a green wall between home and city.



Suddenly, sunflowers already blooming in Tokyo


As the rainy season officially ends, the temperature soars in Tokyo. Suddenly the sunflowers are already blooming. In Shinjuku 3 Chome.

Morning glory on green curtain blooms longer in the rain


For four years, this Okinawa morning glory returns each year. While the annual Edo morning glories are just starting to climb, the Okinawa morning glory is already blooming and extending its reach to all corners of the narrow balcony.


Which hydrangea do you like best? I love all types.



I love all types of hydrangea. They are always so oversized, and particularly well suited to Japan’s rainy season. I like the elegant ones that bloom more sparingly, and also the giant pom pom types that come in so many different shades. Recently we saw hydrangea planted on the border of small rice fields in Izu.


First baby bitter melon on Shibaura House’s green staircase

.@ShibauraHouse のグリーン階段で、最初のゴーヤができました。私のアイデアでは、この曲線状の階段をアサガオとゴーヤが埋めます。今年は梅雨が長くて、つる植物がまだ始まったばかりです。これから、早く育つと思います。

Checking up on the two gardens I helped plant at Shibaura House, it was delightful to see the first baby bitter melon, called goya in Japanese. I think the staff were concerned that it was growing slowly, so it was exciting to first see the yellow flowers, and then to find the first vegetable! I was also thrilled to see the vines just starting to be visible from the sidewalk outside Shibaura House.

Shibaura House’s second floor has a balcony with a curving staircase. My idea was to cover the staircase railing and protective wire fence with a combination of morning glory and goya for summer. There were also some passion flower seeds, but I guess they did not sprout.

Rainy season has been oddly long this summer. It’s usually over by the end of June, but this year shows no sign of ending yet. Given the intense summer heat in Tokyo, I am certain that this staircase will fill out nicely in the next weeks.

Amaryllis naturalizes and blooms in Tokyo’s early summer


Even in my small balcony garden, I have an area under a plant shelf where I store plants that are dormant or less interesting. Shu recently discovered tall flower stalks on the Cherry Nymph amaryllis from two winters ago. Our amaryllis produced two enormous flowers during rainy season.

I noticed in the neighborhood that others also had this amaryllis blooming now, including several pots right alongside Nakano Dori. Below my plant is a recycled nursery school chair from Shizuoka. It’s of course very small, which fits our balcony, but it’s also surprisingly strong.

Bright yellow bush is favorite in Tokyo rainy season


Biyou yanagi (ビョウヤナギ) is the perfect Tokyo rainy season bush. The flowers radiate with color when the sky is often overcast. Each flower produces dozens of delicate stamen that catch the smallest breeze, and the bush overall seems very hardy for urban life, with very attractive leaves. I think its Latin name is Hypericum monogynum. This one’s growing in the section of my apartment building garden that an elderly couple takes care of.

Does this bush grow in your city?