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bonsai_baby
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Location: Denver, CO

STarter on a JApanese garden

i have always wanted to make a Japanese garden.. i have the space and the money.. but one problem... i live in colorado...and the weather..not to good. do you have any ideas of plants that i could use? :? please help if you can....oh and what are some stores you can buy japanese decorations for the outdoors?!?! thanks!!! :P
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MaineDesigner
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Location: Midcoast Maine, Zone 5b

Without knowing the details of your site I'm guessing but I would look at Pinus aristata and Pinus edulis and some of the juniper species for woody plants. The pines will need the attentions of a skilled pruner over several years to achieve the Japanese look. There are a number of grasses that might work including Sporobolus heterolepis, Schizachyrium scoparium or maybe Bouteloua curtipendula or Bouteloua gracilis. Add some nice local stone and you have the elements of good Colorado-Japanese garden.

I would recommend a very light touch with Asian tschotschkes. More often than not they detract from Japanese gardens.

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Piet Patings
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Colorado..... then you may want to consider a Japanese garden with a limited diversity of lush flora.
Perhaps you fancy a karesansui garden (Zen-garden) or some elements from it ?
At this early stage it is important to decide what it is that you want (and can do) as there are a number of (arche)types of Japanese gardens.
E.g., in you climate-zone I can imagine that a Tea-garden would not be an easy task (lots of lush green).
Have a look at this page: [url]https://www.zen-garden.org/html/page_Realization.htm[/url] to help you define a "vision" as a first phase in the realization process (also see the Approach menu option).
To help you we are around !

Lots of wisdom, Piet.
Piet, Tsubo-en

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Piet Patings
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Colorado is that zone 4/5 ?
I may be mistaken but I thought it could get very cold over there (and hot ) !
Piet, Tsubo-en

MaineDesigner
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Piet, Colorado has a really tough climate for ornamental horticulture. Much of the state is at fairly high elevations. The average altitude for Colorado is over 2,000M with some towns above 2,900M. The topography can create big differences in climate over relatively short distances. Altitude also permits high diurnal temperature swings and relatively high UV light levels.
You are correct about the temperatures. Summer high temps around 95F/35C are not uncommon in parts of Colorado and winter low temps of 0F/-18C are also fairly common (much colder in spots) but it generally isn't the extreme temps that create the biggest problems. Winter temperatures in much of Colorado are very volatile, it can be -10C one night and +17C 36 hours later. These wild swings in winter temps are one of the major obstacles to growing many plants there. Plants that can tolerate the minimum temperatures in more continuously cold winter climates often can't endure the rapid fluctuations. The state is also quite dry with average annual precipitation ranging from 17 inches/roughly 43 cm to 7 inches/18 cm (in the Baca between the Sangre de Cristo and San Juan ranges in south-central Colorado) and the ambient humidity is generally low.

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Piet Patings
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Thanks, although not in Colorado, our climate is also different from say the Kyoto area.
In our garden we had to find replacements for many plants.
Most prominent are the shrubs for the many karikomi topiary.

The shrubs for such a creation would normally be evergreen Azalea`s, Rhododendron indicum (Satsuki) and obtusum Tsutsuji and Camellia (Tsubaki).
Looking at our environment and climate however, this was no option for us. Our location is too windy, our soil contains too much fat sea-clay and above all our expected life-time is just too short to ever see this mature.
For these reasons we selected the evergreen shrub Buxus sempervirens as a replacement, and we accept the fact that we will not enjoy the abundance of flowers in April/May.
Piet, Tsubo-en

The Helpful Gardener
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I like MD's idea of using natives, in fact if you look at gardens in Japan, they are often done in native pallettes. So if the "Japanese" garden is really a Coloradan garden, shouldn't we use Coloradan plants?

I have long thought some of the Picea pungens cultivars would be great in a Japanese type setting; I have a 'Fat Albert' in the front yard that stays smallish, there is 'R.H. Montgomery', a great dwarf form, as is 'Globosa'. Team them up with some raked gravel and stone, maybe some moss and who needs anything else? [url=https://coniferlover.wordpress.com/2007/11/20/blue-dwarfs/]Here's[/url] some other great choices for even dwarfer forms...

HG
Scott Reil

MaineDesigner
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Picea pungens 'Montgomery' has a limited capacity to break new growth on old wood. Palmer Koelb at Shin-Boku Nursery in New Hampshire [url]https://www.shin-bokunursery.com/[/url] is a big advocate for this selection. I'm still struggling a bit with the blue-grey foliage which just looks wrong to my eye in New England. In Colorado it might be a completely different story.

The Helpful Gardener
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MD, there are so many other blue greys to play it off of; I like Hosta 'Krossa Regal' or 'Regal Splendor'; sounds silly pairing Hosta with a full sun evergeen, but there's always a north side of a tree, and both these take a fair amount of sun. A lot of the new Dianthus cultivars have that same blue color, and many of them have much increased bloom times; 'Fire Witch, is nice and I currently have good old 'Bath's Pink' which has a wonderful fragrance. German iris has that same bluish hue in the foliage and you can go nuts with the flowers (MD, did you know Dr. Mcewan, the iris guy up your way? Amazing plantsman, and nobody did more for irises than he did). Or if we want an actual native, Sisyrinchium angustifolium, or blue eyed grass, would be the perfect little compliment all around the feet of a 'Fat Albert' spruce.

And that's just if we want to compliment the foliage; we can contrast with reds and yellows and that's two whole new lists...

What if we could find a rock with just a hint of red? Like the[url=https://www.mindat.org/photo-174096.html]pink feldspar[/url]we have around here in places...? With powder blue trees and grey gravel?...hmmm after reading this it might be a touch Dr. Seussical.

My 'Fat Albert' I keep in the front yard (a gift to DW for a birthday because she wanted a tree she will always be able to decorate at Xmas) I do not prune with pruners; I debud where I want to slow growth and prune and allow other parts to fill in more> I have no pruning scars or brown tips this way, ant the ramification is really starting to show. My second favorite tree in the yard after my Full Moon Maple...

HG

HG
Scott Reil

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