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It's been quite a while since I was at the Morikami Museum. And although I have always wanted a Japanese garden (and a private dojo, for that matter) it won't fit with my married life.

At any rate, I can probably answer your questions on specific plants as I am initially from S. florida.

On the pictures - when you go to post, have your files hosted somewhere else (like uploadit.com or whatever) then hit the IMG button, put in the URL of the image, and hit the IMG button again.

Bamboo - most people practically ignore it and the stuff just grows. Maybe you are watering it too often? This is a plant you have to maintain else it spreads and will turn your 7x7 space into a bamboo forest. I'd keep it in a pot, or inset in a boxed space in the ground. I hear it is a pain in the kiester to thin out.

My personal opinion: japanese gardens, loosely, are a place for you to be happy and relax. I would pick plants that give you that feeling. If you like amaryllis, I'd use it.

My Japanese is pathetic - but if I recal - chisai means small, so what is kame?

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The bamboo issue is puzzling but sounds like water issues; maybe too much sun. I suspect fatter when waterred recently, dry when not?

Sorry to have missed the posts for so long; it was not popping them up for me as new messages so I missed them; gomen nosai...

Seems a lot of flowers for a Japanese garden; most plants in the J-garden are only in flower for brief periods. Green is the big color for the style and you have very little green on the list. Think wabi/sabi; very subtle, natural beauty rather than loud foliage and flowers.

Early and late rock gardens are probably a reference to period, but I'm not sure exactly. What were the differences? Zen gardens are a bad translation for karesansui, although a style favored by Zen temples (and started by Zen priests) there is no specific Zen style. That said, many people want one because they think it will be easy; it takes a good deal of maintenance to mantain one so think about how it fits the space from both insid and outside the house before you commit...

Pictures would be great; if you still have problems, go to 'Contact us" and ask for Roger; I am sure he could get you set up...

HG

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Need a password, Little Turtle... :lol:

HG

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OK, now I see it...

First I need to know, do you want the good, the bad, and the ugly, or just a pat on the back? Japanese garden design has a lot of specifics and rules to know before you can start breaking them (hint: you ARE breaking a lot of them).

If you are interested in really taking it down to details I would be happy to work with you. We can discuss it here and hopefully help a lot of folks, but you are going to need some thick skin because there are certain features that are NOT right. With some work (and don't worry, not much money) we can get you a much more Japanese look...

Scott

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I have started this twice and lost it both times; hope the third's a charm...

The pathway is the first big change needs to be made. All the right angles and mulch are just not right. You used the stepping stones elsewhere (they need to be a little further apart and grouped differently; I like chidori (plover) style, where they place left, right, left, right, but groups of two left, three right or three left, four right, and varying it to fit the landscape are very traditional. Read the article on stone setting to get an idea of how to do that...

The pond needs work. I would edge it OVER the blck plastic rim, using rocks of widely varying sizes to get some semblance of natural appearance. The black pebble beach is a nice touch; the emperors villa at Katsura has a beauty (little bigger than yours, but same idea).

The best thing to do is to look at other Japanese gardens and steal liberally (ideas, that is...) Here's two great places to look...

[url]https://rubens.anu.edu.au/htdocs/bycountry/japan/index1.html[/url]

[url]https://academic.bowdoin.edu/zen/[/url]

Look at Tenju-an in the Bowdoin site and see how they used right angles in the garden; this is a very formal (temple) garden, and your backyard is not; less formal would be better (like my suggestions...) Note how even though they used right angles other things were done to soften them (diagonal pavers at different angles, etc.) Check out the beach at Katsura too... 8)

Lots to see and do now; good luck...

Scott

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The right angles at Tenju-an are all around the building. Because the building predominates the landscape it is fitting to match the lines of the building with the path around it.

As the path moves away from the building it should become more irregular and flowing (not many right angles in nature, what we are striving to emulate...)

As for the pond, larger rocks JUST overlapping the edge will look more natural (than plastic, anyway...)

HG

MrNorth
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Hi!

What will be the purpose with your bench? In what kind of environment will it be used? I think the bench you showed on the picture would look a little out of place, just because it is too distracting with ornaments on the "feet". In my garden I use a bench so that when people sit there they can see the waterfall by my pond from a special view. The bench itself is designed to be as simple as possible but yet functional. Next to the bench I have a lovely camellia flower.... and I don't want anything to detract any attention from that plant.

This is how im thinking.... japanese gardening is not an exact science... it is about the mind, the senses... and how to experience things. The last thing you want to do is to create an unsettling view. Rememeber balance, harmony.

just my two cents... haven't even seen the place where you want to place your bench.

A tip, try to create a unique view that can only be fully experienced when someone is sitting at the bench!!


yours
Henrik

Anata wa nihon go o hanashimasuka Watashi wa chotto nihon go o hanashimasu Niwa o suki desuyo

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It is not so much moving the paths as softening and using a more durable and natural material to shape them, I think. The location is fine.

The pond idea is a good one; the bridge would then begin to make more sense in the landscape. As for the size of the plants, I think the big juniper front and center may be a bit overpowering for the rest of the garden, but in the right place the size will work fine...

Take five random objects. Place them on a table top, then arrange them in a manner that you find pleasing. Then scramble them and get another person (who didn't see your arrangement) do it. Repeat until you have annoyed everyone :lol: , taking a picture every time. Compare pictures at the end.

What you will find is that most everyones arrangements will have very similar looks (with th exception of the mirror flip, where it's pretty much the same in reverse). We all have personal preferences, but we are all human and share similar aesthetic values. Keep moving your plants in your head (or make sketches) until you find the balance (and THAT is the key word) you (and everyone else) are looking for...

The Helpful Gardener
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It's not just quantity but size of the stones that makes for the balance; think about some larger stones that balance the plants (I know that's tough for you with limited resources, but you sound committed and committed people find ways :D ).

I like the idea of moving the juniper to the outside of the garden somewhere, but under the tree won't work. Junipers need full sun. Lower plants that won't screen the rest of the garden make much more sense there...

As for trimming, you can (most everything in a Japanese garden gets trimmed), but I'd try to maintain something close to it's normal habit; remember to use Nature as your guide (that and all those other gardens I gave you to look at). and you won't go far wrong...

The path location is okay; the hard angles and mulch are not very Japanese. Think about the stepping stones we discussed...

Japanese gardens are about perfecting Nature; it is not an easy chore. Looking at the work of past masters and reading everything I could get my hands on taught me a lot, but not as much as doing. You are on the right track; keep doing... 8)

Scott

MrNorth
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Im a big fan of ferns myself! I planted one fern last year in my garden and already I can see a few younger plants in a radius of about 3 dm around the original plant. I think ferns are the perfect choice if u want to add a little "randomness" in your garden... just like japanese gardens and nature. And they are excellent to plant at a tsukubai or near a rock, just like they grow in the nature!


/henrik

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If you really want a more authentic look, the current path should go. I like the stepping stones idea, but not the cement idea. It's about natural in the garden again. You will never get the cement to look natural. While I knew the stone would be tough, I thought you would be able to find it, not buy it (I live in New England and I found all mine; I forget you all are not so "blessed" as we are... :lol: )

Trying to "hide" the angles in the path would look like just that. To get that "natural" look will take hard work, but it will look so much better... Japanese gardens are really about very subtle differences and not cutting corners on materials or time invested; both show up pretty quickly...

Scott

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The nobudan paths do sometimes go from formal to semi-formal, especially as you move away from the building...

It sounds like you are adamant about keeping the wooden edging and the acute angles (known in feng shui circles as "poison arrows"). I have given you the info you asked for, without softening it up for you, as we agreed. I would not leave the path; you would. It is your garden to do with as you wish, so I have no argument with you leaving it as is. Adding stone in the middle will not change the outer angles, which remain VERY un-Japanese. The chozubachi feature is usually located at a bend in the path, so you could add it now, but that brings us back to the path issue. Look again through those sites and find a path that looks like the one you have, or see if there isn't one you like better. The Japanese garden is about perfection (or as close as you can get), so take your time to get it right, even if it's a stone a year, it'll be worth it...

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