Open Garden – The Place to Create Communities
Originally Started in the U.K. Where Gardening is Very Popular
“Open garden” is the activity of opening (or sharing) private gardens or local community spaces to showcase the plants that the volunteers in that town have grown. This activity originally started in the U.K. where gardening is very popular among people and this was considered as a form of charity for public organizations. In Japan, gardening started becoming popular all over Japan at the end of the 1990’s and currently it is a popular activity for local governments to host everywhere in Japan. The Open Garden in Kodaira City started in 2007. Before that, they had Kodaira Green Road which runs around the city passing Tamagawa Water Supply System, Sayama-Sakai green road, Nobitome Irrigation Channel and Koganei Public Park. However, they started Kodaira Open Garden to promote its abundance of nature and green environment.
A Lot of People Gather at the Open Garden
Currently 27 gardens are registered as Open Gardens in Kodaira City. Besides private gardens, that includes commercial facilities such as cafés and restaurants and number of flowerbeds that the local volunteers look after. JA Tokyo’s Musashi Kodaira Farmers’ Market, which registered in February of 2017, opened its rooftop garden to the public. The plants and flowers that the Kodaira Gardening Union has taken care of show the beauty of Japan’s distinct four seasons. There are benches and resting areas inside so elderly people can drop by while taking a walk and mothers with a stroller can enjoy the beauty of nature. JA also sells seedlings so a lot of people come to the garden to see how the seedlings are planted or how the garden is laid out.
Conversations Generated by Nature
Mr. and Mrs. Inoue’s garden, which has been registered as an Open Garden since the beginning of this trend, has a lot of beautiful potted flowers. Mr. Inoue recycles wasted materials to make pots for plants as his hobby is woodcraft and Mrs. Inoue, who manages a tole (enamelled or lacquered metal ware) painting workshop, decorates the pots. The garden has been created by a number of discussions between the couple wondering “what should we plant next?”, and not only the people in the city but also the people from outside of Tokyo city comes to visit their garden. Mr. Inoue says, “I create pots by recycling the kettle-cooking pots used by a volunteer organization, the kneading bowls that the soba chef no longer uses and even the tricycle that our children used to ride. When I talk about this to our visitors, they get surprised.” When other owners of Open Gardens come, they exchange ideas about what is next. Families, friends, even strangers communicate through nature. An Open Garden that encourages creativity among communities is one of the GOOD things in TOKYO.
|When did it start?||In the 1920’s, the National Garden Scheme in the U.K. issued a guidebook introducing private gardens. The admission fee to Open Gardens is donated to charities for health care, and so on.|
|Where can we see it?||They are hosted by local governments all over Japan. As for the information about the Open Gardens in Kodaira City, you can find the opening dates on the city’s website. The gardens, which are open to the public, have signs to indicate that they are “OPEN”.|
|Best suited time of the year or of the day?||From spring to autumn, various kinds of flowers bloom at various times. In winter, some gardens grow Christmas roses. You can enjoy Open Gardens at anytime of the year.|
|Data related to this topic:|| The percentage of the people who were involved in gardening in the past year:
Tokyo 23.3% (National average: 26.6%)
(Data from “Basic social life survey in 2016”, conducted by Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications)
|Please note:||Private gardens are open by the owners’ good will, so please follow and comply with each garden’s rules.|