Ficus and Fukushima

June appears to have escaped (or fled in my case, under a stack of work).  Sadly the weather scuttlebutt is that July and August will be the hottest on record. I miss my old boss, who could pull up a slew of weather modeling blogs to tell me if there was anything to this kind of doom-mongering…  Anyway, this morning is another relatively cool and dry day, so while I sip my morning tea, I thought I’d catch up on the blog with a bit of a garden theme.

Yesterday our adventure was a mission of mercy– several of our houseplants were getting way too big for their pots and one poor fellow kept tipping himself over so often, we dubbed him the Suicidal Plant. So in a continuing effort to keep them alive, off we wandered to a not-quite-local-but-walkable gardening store. We returned with 40 some-odd pounds of dirt and some new friends.

Geraniums gone wild!

Our real winners for the day, however, were a cluster of morning glory potlings so hopelessly intertwined and neglected at the store that we knew they were meant to be ours.  The checkout lady thought we were nuts as I tried to explain in Japanese that they were all attached and couldn’t be bagged separately. Nonetheless I think this demonstrates a hopeful kind of entrepreneurial plant spirit– clearly they are destined for good things.

Charlie Brown, our morning glory, some new lavender and a wee ficus

In other garden news– work has been a bit crazy for me, and will be for another few weeks.  Last week we had a large group in town and took them up to Fukushima Prefecture to see some of the decontamination work going on up there.  Dozens of local governments are still smack in the middle of trying figure out how best to remove low levels of radiation left from last year’s nuclear accident.  Areas like the one we visited have pretty low radiation– it’s higher than anyone wants it to be, but safe for travel and the food is carefully checked before sale, etc.

These guys below are cleaning a garden– measuring the radiation in the soil, scrapping off the top few inches depending on the readings, and replacing it with other dirt.

Checking the garden

They’re also power-washing roofs to try and remove whatever the rain hasn’t already taken off.  In this pic, they’re holding up a sign with the radiation reading so they can track how it’s going.

It’s a huge challenge.  Even this small glimpse of the scope of the challenge in a low-level area was amazing and this is miles and miles away from the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Anyway, that’s all for now– since it’s inexplicably July already, happy upcoming 4th of July! Wish Tara and I a dry 4th as we help to shepherd (and photograph) over 2000 guests to our Embassy ‘do’!

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One Response to Ficus and Fukushima

  1. Alice says:

    Wow, very interesting about the radiation cleanup work. I guess I had a vague idea that it must be happening but no sense of what it would look like. And how fun to see you two doing some container gardening. That’s what I’m doing these days myself. I’ve got one GREAT big Sweet 100 tomato plant in a big pot, and I’m starting to enjoy the tomatoes.
    Best of luck with your 4th of July endeavors! I’m just going to a party with the folks from my lab at work, but looking forward to it. Bringing deviled eggs, the closest thing I could think of to a family tradition. Most of the other folks in the lab are from other countries, so we will have a wild variety, not the usual American 4th of July fare.
    Hugs, Alice

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