I seem to get confused often by the word garden. I always think vegetables, but sometimes I later realise that people mean decorative gardens! When I was in Japan last month I specifically went to Kyoto because I heard it was called a garden city.
The Japanese were very hungry at the end of the second world war. Vast areas of the urban landscape had been destroyed. In the first 7 postwar years, three large earthquakes also contributed to the difficulties.
Intensive gardening and farming fills the suburban neighbourhoods of Kyoto. Groups of two and three story houses with private decorative gardens are surrounded by paddocks of vegetables and rice.
For a peppercorn rent, residents let a few furrows for their own use, or larger areas to sell to local shops.
The lack of fencing allows for small tractors and other machinery to be used and shared by many.
Kyoto is known for the garden city – for its decorative gardens – but I like the productive vegetable gardens.
Matthew ter Borg