shady

From every room in San Francisco apartment are views of outdoor palm trees from New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, Hawaii, and elsewhere

cllintonpark_palm_rhopalostylus_sidewalk_viewedfromlivingroom

サンフランシスコの家では、すべての部屋からヤシの木が見えます。東京に引っ越す前に、サンフランシスコのヤシの庭のサイトを作りました。

My San Francisco apartment is much more shady than the mid-rise Tokyo apartment that faces south with big views. With the expert advice of Flora Grubb‘s Jason Dewees, I planted cold-hardy palm trees that can be seen from every room. Almost everything came in small “5 gallon pots” (about 19 liters). There are palms in the sidewalk garden, in the light wells, and in the compact back yard. Before moving to Tokyo, I created a website showing off the plan and information about each palm species.

clintonpark_garden_viewfromkitchen

Kikyou flowers on summer balcony

偶然にホームセンターでキキョウを買いました。後で、サンフランシスコの庭にあったcampanulaという花と関係があると知りました。ネットで、キキョウの家紋を見つけました。写真の背景には、種から育てたニューヨーク・トマトの芽が見えます。もういろいろの友だちに苗木をあげました。

I picked up three short kikyou plants at the home center, without knowing much about them. Later I learned that kikyou, also known as bellflower, are one of Japan’s seven fall flowers (yet oddly active in summer). Kikyou is also related to campanula, which spread rapidly in my shady San Francisco garden with abundant purple flowers.

In the (film) photo background, you can see the sprouts of New York tomatoes that I grew from seeds. I’ve shared the seedlings with many friends already.

I also discovered these cool black and white Japanese crests (kamon) based on kikyou. (Source: Wikipedia).

5bai Midori plants arrive during typhoon

5bai Midori plants arrive during typhoon, Shiho pottery studio

Thursday 5bai Midori delivered the three “satoyama units” I ordered, two for my home and one for Shiho, the pottery studio I attend in Suginami. I was amazed that the delivery service was uninterrupted by Typhoon #18 (known as Melor outside Japan), the first typhoon to hit Japan’s mainland in two years.

5bai Midori in boxes at home

5bai Midori’s native plants were more than I expected. It takes 4 weeks from ordering to delivery, and they arrive in large cardboard boxes. When the teachers and students opened the box at Shiho, they found a lizard. I hope he adjusts to life in the big city.

5bai Midori box at Shiho

The “satoyama units” are amazing: a mix of small trees, bushes, grasses and vines. The Shiho unit is a 30 centimeter square. The home ones for the balcony are 20 cm square and a rectangle measuring 15 cm by 50 cm. Included is a detailed list of the plants, including name, family name, latin name, description and care instructions. There is even a description of the metal frame and the soil. Attached to many plants are small metal tags with the plant’s name.

5bai Midori plants arrive during typhoon

I will blog about the seasonal change and growth of these 5bai Midori satoyama units. The locations could not be more different: the home balcony is on a high floor balcony with full southern sun. The pottery studio faces north and is underneath an awning.

5bai Midori plants arrive during typhoon

The pottery teachers were somewhat concerned about police protests (apparently they previously complained about the air conditioning units that also sit on the small strip of pavement between studio and sidewalk), and the possibility of theft. Still, they are excited to have this live environment which will slow pedestrians down and introduce more people to their studio. If it works out, I’d like to add several more units.

Here are my previous posts about 5bai Midori:

Beautifying major streets (May 5)
Meeting Tase Michio (May 21)
5bai Midori, or 5 sided green (May 22)
3 Projects created by 5bai Midori (July 22)
Satoyama and biodiversity (August 26)

And here are the sketches they created when we first discussed the projects.

5bai midori sketch for Shiho garden 5bai midori sketch for balcony garden

The balcony plant list is: Reineckea carnea, Quercus acustissima, Quercus serrata, Camellia sasanqua, Quercus myrsinaefolia, Clematis terniflora, Carex siderosticta, Trachelospermum asiaticum, Trachelospermum jasminoides, Eurya japonica, Petasites japonicus, Ardisia japonica, Liriope muscari, Kerria japonica.