tulips

A bed of tulips viewed from outside in, on Tokyo balcony

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ベランダから見ると、チューリップばかりみたいです。冬に、このプランターにレタスと球根を植えました

These tulips are amazing, and I love how appear to fill the living room window from outside. I also love that I planted these and some winter lettuces in February, and I’ve gotten two different uses out of one flowerpot.

Double planting for winter and spring Tokyo balcony

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一つのプランターに冬と春用の植物を植えました。今は、ファーマーズマーケットからの赤色のレタス、水菜、そして春菊があって、その下でチューリップの球根が眠っています。冬でも、ベランダで野菜ができれば素晴らしいと思います。

This double planting features winter leaf vegetables and spring tulips. There’s red leaf lettuce, mizuna, and shungiku, an edible chrysanthemum. My mother-in-law reports that the balcony shungiku tastes “better than Rainbow Grocery vegetables in San Francisco.” I found the leaf vegetables at the Aoyama UN Farmers market stall that sells heirloom starter plants for 100 yen.

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Single yellow tulip in red tulip bed, Park Avenue, New York City

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たくさんの赤色のチューリップのあいだに、黄色のチューリップが一つ咲いています。ニューヨークのパークアベニューで。

Visiting New York City the last week of April, everything was in bloom, and tulips seem especially popular this year. I love how on Park Avenue the beds of red tulips have random yellow tulips breaking the conformity.

Extravagant tulips imported from Netherlands with two-tone flowers and leaves

オランダが輸入されたこのぜいたくなチューリップの花は二色あり、葉っぱも二色あります。春が待ち遠しいです。

Two tone flowers and variegated leaves make these tulips very extravagant. I also like how the seller reinforces the idea that they were flown or shipped from the Netherlands. I was amazed to find these “Top Lips” tulips at the local home center.

Some garden purists insist on growing from seed or bulb. I don’t mind mixing up seeds, starters, and buds. With the small space of a 4 square meter balcony, it’s nice to let the nurseries do some of the preparation so we can enjoy more variety and color.

Giant peonies

Giant peonies, Nakano

With the recent warm weather, these giant pink peonies went quickly from bud to giant pink balls. On one of the lanes I take from my apartment to the JR, I pass this humble apartment whose front garden spills in pots from the tiny patio onto the small street. 

I often see an older woman and sometimes her daughter working in the garden they have created from recycled styrofoam containers and assorted plastic pots. Cymbidium orchids, tulips, geraniums, peonies, and soon roses create a wonderful distraction for passers-by. The owner is at once extremely humble and pleased to get some attention.

To get a sense of the background of the flowers, here’s a photo from further away. You can see the patio flowers share space with the laundry machine and a simple structure for hanging the clothes to dry. The flowers provide a small buffer between street and front door, and soften the hard edges of concrete, asphalt and tile.

Giant peonies, Nakano