Friday, August 17, 2018

The morning walk

Every morning, Nikko and I walk a loop around the neighborhood and back through the park.

There are actually two parks along our route, about a block apart.

In the winter, from time to time, I might see men sitting on one of the round concrete stools, smoking or having a drink (butts and bottles tossed in the bushes.)

BUT, during the summer, this place might be named "Mosquito Park". The only people I see here are the guy who comes to clean the men's toilet. (to the left side of the white building). and two guys who come to sweep leaves twice a week for about half an hour.  Also, about twice a year, the weed-whackers who chop the weeds and trim the bushes.

When this park was built, the cement area with the statue was a shallow pond. The water was pumped from a place at the top of a small hill behind the toilet building, ran down a lined path, and into the pond. There is a grid at the base of the drinking fountain where the water drained for re-cycling.

The idea may not have been cleared with the neighborhood, because the pond was soon drained and the water turned off. Well, actually, the water is still there under the pond and providing breeding grounds for the billions of mosquitoes. Once summer rolls around, a short walk through the park will bring as many as 40 bites on each arm ... and that is while waving the critters off your face and neck.

Last year at the end of July, when I returned from my trip to the states, this area of grass was knee-high in weeds. They were all full of seeds, and the whackers came through the following week.

Now, on the morning walk, I carry a small bag, and after picking up Nikko's poop, I then fill the bag with weeds. I had been working at an area at the back entrance of the park where they had planted "dragon's beard", pulling weeds that had taken over that area and sending runners into the beautiful neighbor's garden.

The grass is like a golf course grass that sends out runners, so as the cut grass began to grow right back, I began pulling it out. The area in the picture, I began weeding at the end of last summer. It is very easy to spot a weed coming up in the area because it is a different color and shape. As I pass through I may just pull a few here and there and because they are young, they come right out easily.

This was the area of the tallest thickest weeds.
I started here the end of June and there was hardly any grass at all. Now the grass is sending runners into all this area and it is turning green again. Still a few weeds coming up but easy to keep under control because I pull them before the seeds form.

There are many bulbs here which will produce flowers in the spring and then die back.

I don't know what those bulbs are but they don't seem to compete with the grass.

This area I started on last winter.

The light colored plants at the top left come from runners of the bushes. They get cut twice a year by the weed-whackers.

A few light-colored spikes are new weeds coming up. Easy to spot.
These I pull every other day or so as I walk by. It is hard to believe that a year ago one couldn't even see this lush grass for the weeds.

The grass creeps between the stepping stones too and I think that might have been the original plan as the stones are places with gaps.

Some of the areas are bald, as the sweepers remove the dirt from the runners and the grass that is left has been taken over by weeds.

This space is at the back of the park is taken over by weeds that were whacked off about three weeks ago. The weeds are even taking over the hedges.

This is the little hill where the water used to come down ... water-path on the left.

In the spring, I dug out bags full of dandelions but this grass spreads with runners and is quite hard to pull.

I wonder If the neighborhood really cares about its parks. Other than the paid sweepers and cleaners, the only people I see here are a few people cutting through t the back road, and truck and taxi drivers parking in front to use the men's toilet. I have never seen anyone use the women's side, but since it is a "squatsie" would be for emergencies only.

I often wonder how it would be to have some kind of a park day several times a month, where people could come out and meet and talk and pull the weeds and care for the park.

Now Nikko is saying ....

"Mom, the bag is full. The mosquito-coil is running out.

Time to finish our walk so I can have my breakfast".

Actually, Nikko is very patient. The old guy who cleans the men's toilet stops to give her some quality petting.  Yesterday a young couple came through with a darling Australian Shepherd and they had a greeting. Once one of the sweeper guys asked if it was OK to take my picture with Nikko. Often kids pass by with their mothers on the way to the pre-school just a few meters beyond the park. Some of them greet Nikko by name.
 Today, a nice breeze made the outing a bit less hot.


  1. it seems some people have noticed your efforts x Maybe a few will join in with the clean-up sometime x

  2. You ought to be given a Medal of the Order: 'For Merit to Nerima'.

  3. You are definitely a nature lover. I don't even pull the weeds in my own yard.

  4. That is very sweet of you to do. I wonder if there is a way you can get the town to pay to drain the water so that the mosquitos don't have a breeding ground there.

  5. It is a shame that they let it go, like that. It looks like a place to enjoy and gather, as neighbors.
    Hopefully your efforts will bring others to help and maybe bring in some nice flowers to bloom all year and a new gathering place.


  6. It is such a shame when public parks are not cared for. Good on you for what you are doing. Perhaps if people see you tending to it, they might take some initiative. I love the thought of the community meeting there and all helping to make a beautiful spot.

  7. We have a residents association and people volunteer to litter pick. We have a rota of five on my two roads. And we have a gardening interest group with a dozen or so Open Gardens every year and mini garden crawls by members from time to time as well as meet ups to swap plants etc. Next up is a Harvest supper from garden produce and recipe ideas. The RA holds an arts and crafts show too. We have a central emailer who lets everyone know about events, lost pets, requests for tradesman's names, giveaway items and so on.

  8. How nice that you and Nikko are making your marks on the park and on people's hearts! If you ever need a dog sitter for a few weeks let me know. Wouldn't it be fun to have Nikko visiting Nikko again!

  9. Pretty projects and great idea,Thank you for the tutorial and for sharing !