Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Garden planning

I do like little pots of water plants

Okay, this post is going to be a flight of gardening fancy.

The whole plot will be fenced with some sort of green barrier. Besides solar panels and water butts, Matsuyama apparently gives generous subsidies for hedges (it's good to have a builder who tells you these things). I favour dwarf bamboo of some clumping variety, as opposed to one that runs, but nobody believes such a thing exists. Research is required. Besides being hardy, bamboo would furnish me with useful canes for other garden functions.

The area around the house is going to be turf of some sort, maybe with bunnies on it to keep it short. More research required here.

I'm thinking of a screen of fruit trees between the leisure garden and the vegetable plot. Candidates include various citrus trees bearing fruit at different times during the winter; sweet chestnut; olives; and blueberries. I would like a fig tree near my office window so I can enjoy its scent, but I'm assured that the roots would burrow into the foundations. According to my friend and permaculture adviser Takatsuki-san, the fig should be banished to my uncle's plot up the hill that is bounded on all sides by concrete.

I've been loitering around various allotments over quite a wide area, eyeing up other people's plots. No doubt I've been taken for a potential tomato and eggplant thief. One allotment owner actually asked me quite abruptly what my business was, looking at his rows. (Actually though, I did discover that allotment-fancying is quite a pastime among the 40-60 set in Japan. In front of a particularly well-kept plot in Dogo, I spent several minutes with another admirer of vegetables discussing what a fine garden this was.) Pictures of the Dogo allotment below. The bamboo fencing and seat were particularly stylish touches.

The man had some real wizardry with integrating his shrubs and his climbers:

So now my task is reproduce this sort of thing on our patch. To this end I took my big fork and began levelling the useless hill at the far end of our land. After about 3 hours of forking, I had got this far:

This is maybe one fifth of the task I suppose. It should be a nice feature when it's done. After my forking it felt really good to get into the onsen on the way home.

This corner of my favourite brewery in Dogo is the sort of thing I'd like to aim for; interesting pots full of carefully tended greenery, some of it herbal or edible. Actually, they could have taken things a bit further, with bigger pots and some taller plants.

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