trained

Lovely vine covers street-side window with red and yellow lanterns

lantern_flower_koenji_window

花がいっぱい咲いている蔓植物が路地の前の窓にちょっとしたプライバシーを提供しています。濃い青色の陶器タイルもきれいですね。

I love how this easy to grow vine sends its growth down. The owner has trained it over the street-side window so that it provides additional privacy. There’s also two types of bamboo shades, and three spider plants. I also like how the blue ceramic tile adds a decorative element to what is a very functional architecture typical of post-war Japan.

Ivy trained into an X-shape topiary

I love how this ivy has been trained into a perfect X-shape topiary. Clearly following the form of the steel support for the apartment building’s facade, the tidy and even pruning also demonstrates the gardener’s on-going care. This local person must enjoy plants and the opportunity to make something artful in a small space.

Bitter melon green curtain

Bitter melon green curtain

On my way to the Kyodo train station from Nodai, my Research Fellow colleague noticed a two-story bitter melon green curtain. We were impressed by how full it is, how tidy and well trained. There were a number of large bitter melons on the vines. Bitter melon is certainly hardy, and the whole large vegetable garden is growing out of two medium sized plastic tubs, and taking up minimal space in the car park area of someone’s home.

Bitter melon green curtain

Pruning and care

Pine at Koishikawa Korakuen

Care for cultivated plants ranges from professional pruning to amateur attention. This pine tree is from the entrance to Koishikawa Korakuen, one of Japan’s five most treasured historical  gardens. 

From formal gardens to native plants, different urban plants and settings require different levels of care. The pruning of a formal garden sets the highest standard. However, I am also impressed how Tokyo municipal trees are pruned by groups of trained arborists. This is in contrast to the US, where it seems that municipal governments offer the briefest training and chain saws to low-salaried workers.

The standards set by highly refined garden pruning, plus professional public tree pruning, have an impact on ordinary gardens. Perhaps it is a combination of expert technique, aesthetic style, and also on-going care for plant life, form and beauty.