Saturday, June 3, 2017

Japanese Style

Japanese Style

Japanese Style

There is more to Japanese gardens than cherry blossom and stone lanterns, lovely though these are. Zen gardens are intellectual as well as horticultural exercises. The origin of Japanese garden style lies in China, but in the centuries since an envoy to China returned and recreated a version of the Emperors garden, the style has evolved and been refined so that only traces of the Chinese derivation remaining. The Japanese garden is a subtle statement compared to the Chinese grand proclamation. The garden is seen as a place of peace and meditative thought.
Pathway, Konchi-in
Opposites are put into balance- light and motion against the solidity and stillness of stone, mountains and serene lakes. The typical Japanese garden is a landscape in miniature- grand mountains with tiny trees representing forests; dry stream beds representing raging torrents of water. The famous raked gravel gardens represent the movement of water around islands or mountains of stone. The flow and movement of the gravel dramatically offset by the stillness and permanency of carefully placed rocks. The Japanese garden imitates nature, it does not deny or try to conquer it. The whole garden is considered and plants are part of the story, but do not dominate. Mastery of mass and void- the balance and distance between the various components in a garden creates a balance and boundaries. Voids draw the viewer in to contemplate the garden, and balance the mountains complete with karedai (dry waterfalls), trees carefully trained over bamboo frameworks, with heavy rocks weighting branches, that appear to have been ravaged by wind and time. Stroll gardens, or kaiyushiki teien, are amongst the most appealing of Japanese gardens. Some wonderful examples are open to the public. The Shinjuku and Rikugien gardens in Tokyo are both stroll gardens incorporating the elements of a large expanse of water, man-made miniature hills, carefully clipped foliage representing forests and artfully placed and cleverly trained trees which form irresistible vignettes or pictures which are revealed as you progress around the garden. Often a designer will intentionally create a garden which depicts a famous site of scenic beauty within Japan.
Nanzen-ji, KyotoRikugien Gardens
This is the case with both kaiyushiki teien and kare-sansui. Gardens of raked gravel and stone, the kare-sansui, are more symbolic representations of nature than the stroll gardens. Gravel and stone are used to represent flowing oceans, mountains, and streams and together these elements build up a garden picture. It is not a garden in the western sense as there are no flowers, lawns or borders, but it is the creation of a landscape picture, the creation of movement and stillness using raked patterns in gravel and carefully selected and placed stones. So plan and build your Japanese style garden, taking into account the elements above, and do use a lovely tree such as a cherry or maple and include a beautiful stone lantern. Take a lesson and stretch intellectual and horticultural skills.

Japanese Garden Terms
- chozu-bachi a water basin for the cleansing of hand before a tea-ceremony

- kare-sansui a dry lanscape garden which replaces trees, plants and flowers with an the careful placement of rocks and patterns raked in sand. Kare-sansui developed Zen temple gardens during the Muromachi period (1398-1558).

Nanzen-jiNanzen-ji, Kyoto

- kaiyushiki teien the stroll garden. Often a stroll garden will include a path around water. During you progress are series of carefully planned and articulated views will appear. The shakkei technique and the familiar hide and reveal, both also used in western landscaping, are employed. Developed during the Edo period (1615-1867)

- nakaniwa a garden enclosed on all four sides by buildings.

- roji, or rojiniwa the path (and sometimes the garden) that leads to the tea house. Stepping-stones keep feet out of the garden and clean, and uneven spacing slows the walker and encourages contemplation.

Hibiya Park
Hibiya Park is a green oasis in the heart of Tokyo

- shakkei a borrowed view framed by trees, walls and other components of the garden.
sozu length of bamboo which, when it fills with water, drops with a loud crack onto a rock and empties. Sozu were used to frighten deer.

- tsuboniwa a small, usually courtyard, garden meant to be viewed from inside. The small scales is often emphasised by an arrangement of bonsai.

- tsukiyama a mound of sand or soil used to represent a mountain.
Pines, shaped to show the effects of wind
Pines, shaped to show the effects of wind, casting shadows in autumn
- tsukubai an arrangement of stones, including a water basin (chozu-bachi) for cleansing hands, in a tea garden.
Meiji, Tokyo
Meiji Temple, Tokyo
- tsurukame an erect and a flat stone paired in a garden to represent wisdom and longevity. The erect rock represents a crane (tsuru) and the flat a tortoise (kame). Tsurushima is a vertical rock, used in this motif, representing a crane island.
Cherry Blossom
And lets not forget the cherry blossom

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