variety

Mint flowering in the late afternoon sun

突然、ベランダのミントに紫色の花がたくさん咲きました。午後遅くの日光に、葉は金と赤い色になります。秋の瞬間です。

My mint is suddenly full of purple flowers. And in the late afternoon sunlight, the leaves turn gold and red. It’s a fall moment.

I love having herbs on my city balcony: for cooking, for scent, and for variety. Mint is ridiculously easy to grow, and I hope the seeds travel and plant themselves somewhere nearby.

Lush second floor garden on Shin Koenji shopping street

高円寺ルックという商店街の、フランス風の家庭用品の店は二階に庭を作っています。植木鉢は長くて深いので、植物の種類は多いです。このきれいな庭は、すでにあるものをさらに良く見せています。この商店街は古いものと新しいものを組み合わせることに成功しています。

On my favorite Koenji shopping street called “Look,” a shop selling feminine French homewares just built a lush second floor garden. By attaching two long and deep planters, they have transformed this older building with new life. I love the variety of plants, and the way the garden adds onto what is already there.

The shop is called Malto and they are online, too.

Lovely sidewalk garden at Kichijoji plant store

花屋さんが世話をした歩道の庭は日本的で、同時に国際的です。最近、ブドウが熟して、オーナーと一緒にブドウを2つ食べたところです。日本的なところは、たとえば、カンノンチクという椰子と松があります。お店は、もうすぐ吉祥寺のちがう場所へ引っ越します。次の歩道の庭が楽しみです。

My favorite Kichijoji plant store is moving soon. I have long admired the owner’s meticulous sidewalk garden, full of surprises. Here are perfect grapes, two of which we have just eaten. The garden is a long narrow strip with some more plants in a light well and the stairway to the lower level entrance.

I like the mix of exotics like grapes, with traditional Japanese plants like pine and raphis palm, plus ferns, cactuses, and so many more plant types. The incredible variety of plants and the impeccable maintenance show off the gardener’s skills and wide interests.

More photos after the jump.

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A walk through Harajuku backstreets on a hot summer day

原宿の路地を歩くと、いろいろな庭を見ることができます。おしゃれな建物のグリーンカーテンや戦前からある伝統的な日本庭園もあります。私が好きな庭はシンプルで、たくましくて、さりげないです。大きな青山団地でトマトとゴーヤを見つけました。

With @luismendo visiting from Amsterdam, my Tokyo DIY Gardening pal Chris and I took him on a tour of Harajuku backstreets looking at gardens, eating tonkatsu, and stopping for some excellent cold coffee.

Harajuku is fun because the residential area has houses and gardens from all or almost all the past eight decades. The Harajuku gardens that appeal to me are similar to ones elsewhere in Tokyo for their simplicity and easy adaptation to urban life. Some results are clearly unintentional.

My photos include a three story garden of ivy and bamboo that covers one house and provides a buffer with its neighbor, a sleek concrete building’s balcony green curtains that are just starting to fill out on two floors, a blue flowering vine that somehow became a giant bush, a tiny entrance garden outside a pre-war house that has been converted into the very elegant Omotesando Coffee.

We also explored the enormous Danchi that between 246 road and Harajuku. This sprawling bauhaus-like public housing project has a wonderfully chaotic and varied set of gardens created by generations of residents. In July, we spotted lots of tomatoes, vertical bitter melon, and these purple gloves on top of an ad hoc garden support.

Giant hedge frames modern house in Nakano

I love this giant hedge framing a modern house in Nakano. It’s even more beautiful at night, which is when we discovered it on a walk through the neighborhood.

The house is mostly concrete with wood on the second floor balconies and some bamboo as a screen for the ground floor. I love how the hedge opens up to provide an entrance to the house (and a permeable parking space). The outer hedge is then echoed by a shorter inner hedge close to the ground floor windows. On the right side, there’s a small gap and room to park a few bicycles. It’s a great combination of privacy and opening, concrete structure and plant life.

I like how the gardener has used bamboo poles to train the hedge into an arch over the entrance. It’s a simple and elegant support.

Viewed from the side, the house disappears behind the thick greenery. Usually I am a fan of much greater plant variety, but this residential garden shows how much can be achieved with a single species.