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My modest entry-level garden in japanese gardening

Started by hecube, July 01, 2013, 06:39:09 PM

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July 01, 2013, 06:39:09 PM Last Edit: July 01, 2013, 06:57:06 PM by hecube
I've been reading on japanese gardening for a number of years and this is my first serious try. I didn't follow any canon or rules, just my inspiration for a neglected space behind the swimming pool.

Let me know what you think


Hecube... (2 maybe 3 photos would have sufficed for those of us on very slow internet connections. After waiting half an hour for the photos, I don't think much except my coffee tasted great, but now its cold, and I have to get back to work.   :)  )

Your question has been too vague for me, so that there is nothing left for me that I can think and no matter what I say, someone may misinterpret what the words are.
As I = me, 'think to always improve' which is not what you are asking, but is how I think, then what I think is: - you mentioned you decided not to follow any canons or rules, and that means-- no one can say anything beyond 'what should one think?' (but in actuality you did use a Rule of straight edge btw).

-- why did you not follow any 'Canons' or Rules? (Canon's ? which ones are Canon's?.. this is very vague for me and depends on peoples views and research that result as perception)(Rules are guidelines that enable known results - for me that is)

what you have done is effective for use of a neglected area that has straight lines.

In time I suspect you may change the multi-coloured gravel to a softer darker monotone and utilize that with a stone setting and upward 'straight growth' to echo the Rule you used of using 'straight edges' in a place of straight edges - being the only way to effectively get rid of straight edges...  (thats good and intuitive, effective)
- meaning that in the end result, the space might reflect the 'straight lines of man echo the straight lines of nature'. (or something like that of your own creation.)
creative effect using the bamboo 'inside' the 'box'... (applause)
I can appreciate the use of the trellis, though for me it is too akin in pattern to the vine and so loses some of the possible 'relaxing structure' it could have. BUT that would be applying Canons or Rules which are not allowed by you in a fair thinking assessment.

please help me out with what you wished to hear,.. normally, one expresses what the idea is that one was designing with or attempting to overcome...that way that person would enable me to think, and not have to guess at what you were trying to do...     - its kinda like asking a trick question, but I don't know the answer.
Japanese gardens 'inform', and one can not comment on something that is not 'informing' me. And, the tenet is, that if a person does not understand what is seen, they should think about it until they do. This would mean, I should not have answered here, as I put words in your mouth, which is rude of me. But that is applying a Canon/Rule, which is not allowed in accepting your creation ...a circle of thought that disables responses. --     probably not what you meant, and I don't know what you mean...  :-[  you effectively disabled the means with which to think in your opening lines...

        (still confused)    edzard    (or did you simply wish to hear 'nice job'...?)


Hello Edzard,

Thank you for taking the time to respond.

The reason for my question is that I needed feedback (any feedback) on the project. I hope the time it took for the pictures to download was used for calm and serene relaxation! :)

By not following any canon or rules, I meant the artificial use of stone lanterns or other japanese cultural artifacts associated with traditional japanese gardens. I strove however to clean up a neglected space behind the swimming pool and add something soothing to the eye.

Whenever I go camping in the summer, I bring back an interesting stone from the campground and I had no place really to put them so I thought this would be a nice place to display them.

The vine grows naturally in that section of my plot and, instead of chopping it down, I let it flow in the corner over two big lilac branches I cut down last summer.

The delicate plant you see growing out of the rocks is horsetail, a distant relative of bamboo apparently. I didn't even have to plant it there. It grew naturally in there. I also let grow two strands of grass through the horsetail. I thought it added a nice touch.

So, basically, my aim was to have a clean section behind the swimming pool, have the space be vaguely reminiscent of small japanese gardens without any artificial transplant of japanese culture and use whatever vegetation grew in that part and let it flow naturally.

The choice of multi-colored rocks was to harmonize with the choice made by a landscape designer around the rest of the pool.


..  ;)   calm or serene? I could not decide between napping or designing the next garden piece.. eventually the two needs met.. 2 - 4k/sec modem landline is ... very slow...

..........      ;D  ;D  ;D  I have a special place in my heart for landscape designers that use colourful gravel. The special place involves colourful language.

and most people avoid Equisetum averense (or spp), horsetail, even if it is an alternate for the traditional silica scouring rush, 'tokusa'. I use it often. Perhaps people do not understand its usefulness.

Personally hecube, given the parameters and challenge you set for yourself, (by) avoiding any ethnic contrivances, you've succeeded at doing an excellent installation with a minimum of materials that allowed the materials to 'stay true to themselves' in true Japanese manner. And you've done this in a more traditional manner than would be by basing a setting on a lantern or object. kudos.

If you did it again, what would you change? perhaps nothing.

or, for those special stones, would you inset them in the wood or start a bisected nobedan pattern? essentially, if they are there, no matter the name of the technique, the stones have character, and what composition would showcase their specific beauty and leave them true to themselves? What will you do when you have collected 20 stones? 
or would you subtly create a relief of a shape on the fence using the vine?

I'm not saying that the space needs more. I am saying that as you collect and add things, that a new dialogue is created and in the long run, needs to be re-clarified. And, most gardens, no matter how small, change,.. or a decision is made to 'freeze' the space as it is.
which option will you follow?
    hecube, thank you for sharing your insights      edzard     


Interesting how the same plant can act in different ways depending on the climate. The five-leaf vine looks like something I fought with constantly. I think Katrina drowned it out. I haven't seen any in my yard since, and for that I am grateful.

I like the little-bit-of-vine against the large expanse of fence. Bet it will take some work to keep it that way, unless you want to reverse the proportions.

I agree with Edzard about the horsetail rush. We have Equisetum hyemale down here, not bushy. I have seen it in raised beds (our neighborhood library comes to mind) and rectangular planting beds set into the middle of sidewalks (someones house). Something about the vertical plant and the straight lines of the beds-looks fantastic!

Not sure about nobedan for the stones. The word conjures up visions of stones set into a walkway. In this particular area, I also have visions of algae, slippery surfaces, body parts crashing into said stones, etc.


I had to look up "nobedan" to know what it meant. It turns out I have placed a flat stepping stone at the edge of the boardwalk over the stones. It doesn't show up in the pics above because I did it after.

K.T. Cannon-Eger

Here is one use of Equisetum -- this one in Dallas at the Crow Center.

K.T. Cannon-Eger

and here is an example of an entryway with contained black bamboo in Niigata Japan in 2007