Thursday, September 30, 2021

Nothing to do with my quilts

When we first got our last dog, Nikko, we were living in Suginami-ku, not too far from Wadabori Park. Each morning I would take Nikko to the park for a playdate with friends. There was a wide open space which the city planted with nice grass and then put a rope around so no one would walk on it. The first time an area was cleared and planted, I watched weeds come up through the new grass until they were knee high, then the rope was removed and the weeds were mowed down. It would not be too long before that process was done again, as old homes were removed after flooding from the river.

From then on, while Nikko was running and playing with other dogs, I climbed over the rope and began filling a bag with weeds as they came up. It was simple to spot the weeds and, as they were young, they were easy to pull. Even after moving away, when I pass that area of the park, the grass is strong and the weeds are few.

Returning to the Nerima area, there was no place for dogs to play, but each day Nikko got long walks through the area. 

Several blocks from where I live, there is a "high end" area on the other side of the street. The houses there are big with gardens and streets wider than where I live. This park borders the high end from my area, and has a path through to the area behind. 

As you can see in this picture I took with Flat Stanley, who was visiting earlier in the year, there is an area that used to be a pond.

Water ran from the top of the hill, seen through the opening in the building, down to the pond near the street. The stepping stones and sculpture were in the water. I don't know when the park was made, probably the early 1970s, but by 1973, the water had been turned off. It now sits under the pond with several open grates, and breeds mosquitoes to the point this might be re-named Mosquito Park

 As for how the park is used, construction workers and truck drivers using the toilet in the building are the most often guests. From time to time, people take a shortcut to the back street, and sometimes workmen sit on the stone seats to have a smoke... and toss their cigarette butts and trash on the ground. A few times kids walking past with their mothers run to play on the stones in the dry pond.

As for me, I use the back fence from time to time to hang a quilt for a photo opp.

Two guys come around once or twice a week to rake the leaves, and twice a year or so, to weed-whack. That is about the time when the weeds are knee high and the seeds on them are ripe. I couldn't figure out why a park in such a high end area could be allowed to go to such decay, so I began walking Nikko through the park. I would carry a bag to pick up her poop, and then fill the bag up with weeds I pulled.

The front entrance had knee-high weeds and an area where the neighborhood left their trash for pickup 4 times a week. the area without weeds was mostly bare dirt and rocks. A few years ago, a new apartment was built next to the park, and the trash pickup area was moved leaving the bare ground to weed takeover.

Even after Nikko went to doggy-heaven, I have been going to the park one morning a week to pull the weeds. I started with the front along the street, and have worked my way to the back.

Finally, the area is looking a lot better. Now, this section is all covered with the good grass. 

I brought my cub scouts here in the winter when the grass is brown and the weeds are young and green and easy to pull. For their community service project they did a remarkable job and this area has thick grass now with very few weeds.

I might add that about three years earlier, you couldn't even see that manhole cover behind the bag because of the weeds.

This part facing the road is now without knee high weeds. The people living across the street from this entrance have come into the park many times to comment on the improvement and thank me.

Now, I am moving on to the area where the round seats have been sitting among weeds.

The wonderful thing about this good grass is, once it is given a chance, it is quite good to send out runners.

There are a number of runners now passing over the paving blocks or even over the curb into the pond or street.

Yesterday I grabbed this chunk of grass that is along the curb for relocation.

I have to choose my timing well because the guys with the stiff bamboo brooms can sweep out newly planted runners, but the weather reports for today were all RAIN, and I was pretty sure that would give those new runners a good start.

The clump is a bit hard to see under the dirt, but I am looking forward to my next trip through the area. 

This spot has had only weeds as long as I have been coming here. 

Between here and the street, the new runners are making their way.

My only task now is to collect those nasty little weeds so they won't compete with the runners.

These weeds spread by root and wind-borne seeds, but they are easy to pull while young.  You can see the runners shooting out in all directions, and soon this bare spot will be looking nice. 

The bag that delivered onigiri to the homeless on Monday morning is now sitting next to my gate waiting to go to the corner for pickup tomorrow, Too bad I have no space for a compost pile.

One of my childhood jobs was pulling weeds. (My dad had two huge compost piles) I have been teased a lot by friends, as I can hardly walk past a weed without wanting to reach down and pull it out. 
Last winter on a nature hike, one of my cub scouts was pointing out weeds he noticed along the way. 

Could it be another weed-a-holic in the making? Too bad those paid "gardeners" were not in my scout group as youth.


  1. Thank you for doing such good community service. You should get a medal from Nerima Ward!

    1. The very best reward is watching the improvements take over.

  2. How very effective even simple things can be!

  3. That space looks wonderful. How nice that the neighbors notice and thank you for the service that you do for them. Hopefully it inspires them to do service too.

    1. Action speaks louder than words, so the saying goes. (especially since my Japanese id only basic)

  4. Good job! You make the world a better place.

  5. Yes, you are beautifying your corner of the world and showing people how one person can make a difference.

  6. Julie, You are so good at taking care of your community. I admire your willingness to volunteer your time and energy to so many things that make life better. It's a habit with you! Such a good example. We sometimes see neighbors taking time to pick up trash or weed on their block or apt complex in Japan. This area has really improved with your loving care.