My tulips are in full bloom on the balcony garden. I planted them underneath my winter pansies. Below is a common bulb called Ipheion that I planted in one of my small flower pots.
Tokyo winter gardening
My first winter garden has been a surprise for me. Japanese love to talk about their wonderful four seasons. I expected that winter would mean no flowers and scarce greenery. That’s why I left the East Coast of the United States over twenty years ago.
Yet winter in Tokyo offers many opportunities for flowers– particularly annuals like pansies, decorative kale, geraniums. Even plants I expected to die back are sprouting new growth in mid-winter, like two small roses on my balcony. Most specatcular is the tsubaki (つばき), a winter camelia I bought around new year’s. Another variety is called sazanka (さざんか). There’s even an early plum tree blooming on the path we take to the JR station.
Across from the same plum tree, we saw a tiny, surprisingly round, green bird that is active in winter, the mejiro (目白). It’s adorable.
And, finally, I am surprised to see so many plants common in Northern California growing in the Tokyo winter, including brugsmania (called Angel’s Trumpet in Japan) and “purple princess.” Very unexpected.
Balcony garden re-made
Our south-facing balcony continues to be warm and full of sun. I’ve renovated the garden to include a small plant stand by the living room window and several boxes hanging on the railing. The eleven flower pots that weren’t sold are the stars of the garden.
Some of my new plants include winter pansies and kale, grown on top of spring tulip bulbs. Also, a rose from our friend K. And a cool moss-ball, bonsai pine tree from I.