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Hello from Phillip Island, Australia

Started by Leanne, October 24, 2018, 05:43:38 pm

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I am keen to create a Japanese garden in my new home. I lived in Japan for a number of years and so have a little familiarity with the Japanese aesthetic, and spent a number of years creating a garden at a former home, but without intention of Japanese influence.

Hello from Phillip Island, Australia,

I want to create a Japanese garden next year in my new home. I have already assembled a few plants I'd like to integrate into the garden (Japanese maples, azaleas). I'm enchanted with Shunmyo Mason's Zen gardens, but have not yet decided whether I'm going to try for a strictly Zen garden or a Japanese garden. I've been doing a bit of reading about the historical context and symbolism of Japanese gardens, and plan to do a trip to Japan next spring for some further experiencing of Japanese gardens to find out just what resounds with me.

In the first instance, I have a question about climbing plants. I have a climbing hydrangea, and would be interested to find out about the role or place of climbing plants in a Japanese garden. Google didn't really help...

Thanks in advance!



Hello, fellow Antipodean. I'm on the other islands, way over to the east and down a bit. Also lived in Japan for a while (10 years), and am on a similar quest to you. I want a Japanese garden, but with mainly native plantings.

As to climbers, Wisteria? Destructive b-ggers, but they are Japanesque and do climb.


Thanks for posting - I was in Japan 7 years, so not quite as long as you. Am toying with the idea of native plantings, wondering if a mix would work... of course your natives would be a bit different from ours... love wisteria in parks and other people's gardens - my old neighbours had one and it came up all over on our side of the fence - it choked one of our trees and we were unable to get rid of it, so yes, destructive. I think the climbing hydrangea I've been cultivating is a more gentle soul, so I intend to incorporate that.

In our new place we have a view of the water with (non-native) large old pine trees towards the water, so I'm wanting to also try to incorporate the idea of borrowed landscape on that side of the house. Are you in the North Island or South?



Hi again Kakapo,

I was also married to a Japanese first time round, and my son was born there, so I also have strong ties. This time I'm married to one of your countrymen!



Quote from: Leanne on October 25, 2018, 05:07:21 am
This time I'm married to one of your countrymen!

You mean... a Pom?! What very bad luck! ;)

Choosing natives for a Japanese garden seems like the "right" approach, at least judging by the many books I've now absorbed on the subject. Also, I work in conservation, so it's the right thing to do from that perspective too. So as you say, look at what's around you; bring it into your garden; borrow from your surroundings. I can also see the water (well, Wellington harbour), but my wife won't let me have a pond. She has a pathological hatred of (and reacts terribly to) mosquitoes! So, it'll be karesansui for me.


Welcome to the forums!  My teachers both told me that using plants that do well in a Japanese garden is desirable over plants that cannot be sustained well.  It is good to decide on the feel you wish for your garden, then chose and arrange the plants in a "Japanese garden way."





Don's advice is worth heeding, (btw, sustaining includes a pruning plan and vision).  In addition, paying attention to environment, enclosure, "ma", home integration and stone setting come first.

Best wishes for joy in the endeavor.

A couple sources for practical advice in English:https://japanesegardening.org/handbook/  and  http://www.rothteien.com/


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