Monday, August 31, 2009

Remembering Yukari Desjardins

Tonight I'm thinking of Yukari Desjardin, joyful and irrepressible.

photo of Yukari from Shalom Japan website

"I will be going back to Japan teaching Permaculture and doing the african workshops and concert, my long time wish to demonstrate physically that the permaculture living includes full of art and celebrating"

Today she was to be teaching a workshop in Osaka, Japan "Balcony Garden, creating forest in the Urban situation". Making paradise on concrete. Yukari just had this knack for making something special out of whatever was at hand.

Last time I was with her was a whole ten years ago, when we spent two weeks in Bill's Food Forest, doing that first Japanese-language PDC together, joking and telling stories as we wiped the foam off the dishes we were drying, Aussie style. But her effervescent creative presence was always popping up for me, in e-mails and stories, her excitement telling of her newest babies and endevors, and lovely permaculture projects we could be doing together one day.

Here is a video I watched thinking of you tonight Yukari. It makes me think of how precious us darn humans are, how much fun we could be having together.

Matt, you are on...

Yukari, you brought us together like this. You just wanted to, and decided to, and as one little woman in a big, big world, you did. Now we are so, so sad.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Elegant Japanese Wholefood cuisine from Urban Aussie gardens

Persimmons, Daikon, lotus root and salty umeboshi plums - for Japanese cuisine lovers, these are the easy-to-cook basics you could be growing and then relishing in your inner urban garden. Cecilia and her WWOOFer Lon Kazunori show Vasili the Greek how this household does it.

Daikon are famous for being 'pioneers' that help you break up tough soil in your garden. I see lotus growing in tubs on rooftop gardens in tokyo's summers, but still haven't glimpsed one, not even one, in Melbourne. Blue Lotus water gardens sell them, but at $80 per corm, maybe people are just to nervous they might fail.
Im trying one of my persimmons in a tub, and I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Top 3 beautiful fruit trees for an edible Japanese Garden

Though I can only fit one more tree into my soon-to-be planted Japanese edible garden, here are the ones I most desire and must choose from:

Persimmon tree photo by Hiroshi Yoshino

There is no tree more graceful and delicious than the persimmon, I never want to live without one again. It gallantly sacrifices its leaves in a burst of autumn color, then treats us to a view of its lovely limbs, decorated only with lantern-like sweet fruit. Over winter, the sun will stream though its branches to my Japanese herb garden.

Weeping Ume (Japanese apricot) at Burnley Horticultural college. Photo by Cecilia

This extraordinary tree made its presence known long before I saw it, with the heavenly plum-blossom scent. Sadly, the weeping variety is different to the tree that makes the vividly-flavored umeboshi (salty pickled plums) that I eat with my rice each day. I would love to create my own supply. Unless they are pickled, the Ume plums - known as japanese apricots - are not edible. Umeshu is the lovely sweet liquer made at home by steeping Ume fruit with a blend of distilled alcohol (shochu) and sugar.

Weeping mulberry photo from EdibleLandcapes

Mulberries are great with sugar, clotted cream and shortbread, or make lovely cordial and low-sugar jelly. If you get the urge to make your own silk, feed its leaves to your silkworms.
A choice bush for for chasing women around then canoodling under, its traditional function.

I must choose only one of these gorgeous creatures.
Tantalizing. But maybe I could persuade the other two to be happy at potted balcony garden trees. Where there is a will...