typhoon

Clematis lost to unusual August typhoon

clematis_in_focus_balcony

先週の台風がグリーンカーテンのクレマチスを殺してしまいました。葉がきれいだったので、残念です。

Last weekend’s typhoon killed the clematis vine that had spread across the green curtain. It must have snapped close to the base.

clematis_background_focus_balcony

Thousand year old tree damaged in last week’s typhoon

先週の台風のせいで、この千年ケヤキが破損していました。この木は近所で一番古い木だから、とても悲しくなりました。木が生き残ることを願っています。

The oldest tree in my neighborhood, which a sign claims is a thousand year old zelkova, was damaged in last week’s typhoon. I often pass by it, and recently posted about the beautiful wood support recently installed. Unfortunately, the part that fell was the larger main branch that was also previously damaged and repaired. I hope the tree can pull through this major damage.

First fall maple leaves turning yellow and red

This weekend we’ve had two typhoons in Tokyo. My friend laughed about this, but it’s really handy to have rain pants if you plan to bike or even walk when the wind is high. A few days ago, we were in the mountains outside of Tokyo and saw our first fall maple leaves turning yellow and red.

I am looking forward to the television weather reports that will soon be tracking the progress of fall foliage from north eastern Japan down to south western Japan. I love the media fixation on fall foliage and spring cherry blossoms, marking the season and reminding the viewer of Japan’s geography. Altitude makes a big difference, too.

Baby bitter melon in September typhoon

Today’s mild typhoon is a welcome relief after more than six weeks of record-breaking heat and absolutely no rain in central Tokyo. I was getting worried about the street trees and all the “independent” plant life that survives in Tokyo without human care.

For some reason, the bitter melon I planted by seed in April only recently started climbing like crazy. Here’s an image of a baby bitter melon in the rain, with its flower still attached. Hope to eat some in a few weeks.

Did you know that Japanese typhoons are not given names like in the United States? Today’s typhoon is simply 10W.

Typhoon damage to balcony garden

Typhoon damage

Typhoon #18 last week knocked down our twine trellis. It’s a good thing that our friend warned us to prepare the garden for the gusty wind: bringing some plants inside, and placing others on the balcony floor closest to the building. We easily rehung the Okinawa morning glory, and I was amazed that this late-in-the-season bitter melon survived intact.

bitter melon

Removal of green curtain in Suginami

Removal of green curtain in Suginami

Last week, on October 7, I took a friend by the Suginami Ward office to see their giant green curtain. Unfortunately, the workers were in the final stages of removing it: sweeping up, saving the net for next year, cleaning the planter boxes (which last winter they filled with pansies), collecting the information signs.

Removal of green curtain in Suginami

It seemed a little early, until the next day when I realized what chaos Typhoon #18 would have caused. Our balcony garden suffered some damage to our green curtain, which is a mere 2 meters by 4 meters. I can only imagine how the wind would pull on Suginami Ward office’s seven story green curtain, and deposit leaves and vines in all directions. I wonder if a typhoon had come in September, if they would have dismantled it beforehand.

Removal of green curtain in Suginami

It’s sad to realize that fall has most definitely replaced summer. I wonder if the vines will be composted? Suginami is one of Tokyo’s few wards with residential composting, so I hope so!

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.