Friday, October 26, 2007

Happy hour station platform garden, for commuters.

illustration by Cecilia
Click Here for Japanese translation by Mariko Umezawa

Permaculture gardening is for everybody, suited Japanese salarymen included. Even non-cooks can take pleasure in growing their own 'Sipping Garden'. The idea is this: passengers will congregate here because is is shady. They will linger becuase it is fragrant. Then maybe, they will get inspired to grow their own flavored lemonade at home. Or possibly something stronger...

The main feature will be a curtain of hops that creates shade during the blazing summer months. Hops grow quickly, have a nice honey fragrance, and the flowers that dangle so gracefully - the hops - are used for bittering beer. Even if you aren't inspired to start brewing your own beer just yet, its nice to know where beer comes from.

We will try 3 or so varieties of hops, planted to grow along ropes, and see which ones we like best, and which ones like living on station platforms. Then we can confidently plant hops to cover the whole platform wall, for next year's garden. More green, less grey. To learn the details of being a successful beer gardener, click on the link above.

Blending hop vines with other vines will make things more interesting, and is insurance in case of failure- at least something will survive and look nice. I've chosen a blue, yellow and green theme, so here are some blue clemantis. Passion fruit vines also provides shade, blue flowers, but are edible as well, so lets try it. I don't know why Ive never seen it here in Japan though....?
You stir its juicy golden flesh into drinks, or onto your yogurt for balcony garden breakfast, one every morning in the summer. The roots need cool and fertility, so a big planter pot is essential.
Cecilia at the Tage Andersen exhibition, Rosenberg Palace, Denmark

photo from

barley photo from

Barley looks fluffy and pretty, and recalls trips to the countryside. Then you eat it, and it makes you beautiful. Search Google for barley recipes. There is a special drink the English make from barley...I will tell you later.

beer photo from beer haiku daily

If beer encorages haiku, and haiku is about savoring what you have got, then its all Permaculture. Click the link above for some nice poems.

Salted edamame are eaten along with beer, as a happy-hour snack. Easy to grow at home, and they put nitrogen in the soil, enriching it for the next plant.
The edamame will grow up the station wall in the afternoon sun, or maybe they will join the hops on the rope trellis, to get the morning sun too. The warm wall might make them more productive. Lets try and see. Here is a nice trellis from trellink.

Star-shaped Borage flowers are edible. They are lovely in salads, or floating in fruit punch. You can put one each in icecubes, to entertain yourself. They attract and feed bees. If you want to put honey in your lemonade, its a nice gesture to thank the bees by leaving out some food for them. If one of the gardening team gets big ideas about bee-keeping, we may soon be able to eat Tokyo Station flavored Urban honey.
lemons are evergreen, so beautiful all year round, and gifting us with useful lemons most days of the year. The blossoms in spring may cause commuters to miss their trains, as they linger in the clouds of fragrance.

Barley can be used with your lemons to make lemon barely water, the traditional summer drink that gives Wimbeldon tennis players their stamina. After boiling barley, you are left with cloudy barley water, like soba-yu*You mix in some sugar and lemon, maybe lemon zest, and then chill.
*water from cooking noodles, that the Japanese then flavor with the remains of their soba sauce, and drink

Over winter, the lemon, the rosemary, and maybe the lavender will still be vivid and green(or blue green). We can let the others die down, to grow again next spring - they are all perennial.
Each day you pick one lemon, mix its juice with honey (melted in warm water) and cold water and put it in your cute drinking flask. This could save the world from having to create and process 365 disposable plastic bottles each year. An. infusion of lavender makes it special, but don't overdo the lavender.

'At arms reach' was Coca-Cola's slogan, and that is why they are found in every corner of the globe. If we have nice things growing at arms reach, things to harvest, squeeze, blend and infuse, and if we prepare ahead so there is always a bottle ready-to-go waiting in the fridge, we wont need Colca Cola. We won't be making any rubbish to put in the recycling bin.
Gardens against Global Warming!

"You can solve all the problems of the world in a garden. But people don't know that, and it makes them very insecure"
Geoff Lawton

I'd like to put the stories of these plants, and how to grow and use them, onto little signs, to be read while waiting for the train. Maybe local schoolchildren can draw them. I would like to have chairs placed as close to the garden as possible, to enjoy its shade and fragrance. Curved benches would be nice. The tiny curved fence is to hide plastic pots, rather than buying matching ones, which could be heavy or expensive. The fence could be twigs and twine, or even corrugated iron.
Do me!



magicsteven said...

i love your drawings, thanks

Lidya said...

I hope you don't mind me linking your blog onto my personal blog.

I like your drawings, photos and ideas.