I'm having a love-hate moment with my balcony garden. As an urban jungle dweller, I feel intensely fortunate to have even a scrap of outdoor space, but it seems my inner Vita Sackville-West is struggling with space constraints. I have five David Austin rose bushes, two blue hydrangeas, a cherry tree, a clematis, a climbing jasmine, an herb garden and a very, very dead honeysuckle specimen packed into a 4'x14' balcony. There is hardly any room to sit, much less prune, deadhead, mulch, and fertilize. As a result, things are looking a little overgrown and unwieldy - and not in a devil-may-care English garden sort of way.
After stumbling on Tokyo DIY Gardening, a community-based celebration of curbside gardening, I felt a burst of inspiration as a combed through photographs of city gardeners making do with tiny spaces in the most creative and joyful ways.
Gardening up, for example.
And taking advantage of every crevice as an opportunity.
This homemade grape arbor outside an apartment building just knocked me out.
As did this incredibly dense show of tumbling vines.
A riot of color and birdsong - what a gift to passersby.
Ivy perfectly framed.
An "elderly man taking a morning stroll in his pajamas stopped to share his amazement and pleasure at the sight" of this trailing bougainvillea. What on earth was he doing walking around in his PJs? Who cares - I want to hug him.
Tokyo-DIY-Gardening celebrates ordinary and extraordinary efforts to bring nature into the world’s largest city. In a space more known for concrete and commerce, growing plants for ornament and food is fun, social, and magical.
Tokyo-DIY-Gardening is an open sourcebook and resource for urban gardening on a personal level – “hands-on gardening for a crowded city”. It includes ‘how-to’ examples/instructions, photo essays, observations, interviews, articles and more with the aim of knowledge sharing and creation around low-cost, agile gardening in dense cities (with a focus on Tokyo).
The DIY element invites everyone to experiment, share, and create a garden regardless of how little soil, space, budget, or experience you have. Gardening is fun for seniors, children, cooks, bird-watchers, and all of us who spend most of our time in the city.
New York DIY Gardening, anyone?
All photographs from Tokyo DIY Gardening.