You must head over to Ping Magazine and take a look at this photo-essay on Guerilla Greening in Tokyo. With only 4% of the city allocated for green space and no yards to speak of, residents have found unique ways to garden and green public spaces. What an inspiration!
I found the part about three-tiered bleacher-like stands notable as just the other day I walked past and contemplated bringing home the very same that someone had put out on the curb for garbage day. It struck me as perfect for my roof garden but was made of dense wood, far too heavy for me to carry the long walk home with bags of stuff slung over my shoulders. I’ve got it in my head now to make one this spring.
Beyond the creative ways people are beautifying public space, I was also very taken by this quote about the lack of vandalism in Tokyo and peoples’ attitude towards public gardens as something to be respected.
“One possible reason might be what ethnographies describe as the respect Japanese have for public and private space. To generalize a bit: Everyone plays a part in keeping spaces nice, tidy and orderly for everyone else in Ã¢â‚¬Ëœthe group.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ This possibly also explains all those times we see strangers picking up other peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s rubbish in the streets. As such, (hopefully every) Japanese person would not think of littering or destroying a tiny flowerpot garden since, as a part of a shared common space, it is to be respected.”
Oh how I long for a public attitude of respect and mutual responsibility in my own neighbourhood. I was fascinated by the idea of seeing and experiencing the massive metropolis that is Tokyo in my early 20′s but have lost interest over the years. However, the sight of so much creative greening amidst an intense urban environment is very intriguing.
Thanks to Leela for the link.
Photographed in the countryside outside Santiago de Cuba.
I have to admit that I can’t say with any real authority whether this is sugar cane (Saccharum) or King Grass (Pennisetum purpureum). Sugar cane is a pretty major source of sugar and King Grass is grown as cattle feed. They looked so much alike out in the fields that it could go either way although with the thicker lower stalks I am leaning towards sugar cane in this case.
I took a much nicer photo of this day lily but felt it more apt to post this lesser image because it shows context. Finding day lilies blooming in a botanical garden in Cuba just seemed weird and wrong. I like them well enough and have a large patch growing in my street garden to boot, but we call them “ditch lilies” around these parts, which says a lot about how common and valued they are.
Those are palm trees behind the flower. There was an orange tree outside of the frame to the right. Crazy stuff, I tell you what. And a good example of the grass being greener…
Photographed at Jardin Gran Piedre in Cuba.
I tend to refer to this plant as The Penis Flower for obvious reasons, which makes it a little hard for me to remember its real name at times. I mean, I know flowers are often associated with sexuality and such, but COME ON, even Georgia O’Keefe would have to admit that the Anthurium flower is a wee bit over-the-top. Since I’ve gone this far already I’m just gonna put it out there and say that this particular Anthurium was disturbingly bumpy along the edges — sort of like a flower with an unfortunate problem.
Taken at the fantastic “Cactus Garden” in the countryside outside Santiago de Cuba. I am sad that I only had a few minutes to breeze through a guided tour (all in Spanish) of this beautiful garden. Every single used tin can in this photo holds a small cactus cutting — an example of true thriftiness and recycling at its finest.