• Welcome to Japanese Gardening Forums 日本の園芸フォーラム. Please login or sign up.
January 25, 2021, 07:51:54 am


JGO has published A Japanese Garden Handbook - an encyclopedic overview of Japanese gardens.  Volume one is available free here:     http://www.japanesegardening.org/handbook

Columbus is no Kyoto

Started by WilliamWebster, February 18, 2007, 10:31:50 am

Previous topic - Next topic


February 18, 2007, 10:31:50 am Last Edit: February 19, 2007, 09:24:37 am by Blaine
Hi, from the heart of the Mid-West,
This is a terrifc site Mike.  A special thanks to George for directing me here.  I did a Japanese garden in Phila. in the mid 90s.  After retiring from teaching in a small art school for 35 years, I moved to Columbus to be with family.  The primarty criterion in buying a house was a good yard for my Japanese garden, which I began the summer of 2004.  It's been a fabulous two and a half years.  Recently the first stages of my web site went up (http://TheWebsterJapaneseGarden.com).  I would appreciate any comments.  Is there anyone out there who is a suiseki enthusiast?  A few of my stones are up on the site also.  I am really delighted to have found this site.


Welcome to mJG Bill!!!!!

What a terrific garden!!!!.  As Admin, I took the liberty of linking your website to your profile so others can see the wonderful work you have done.  If you don't like that, feel free to remove it.

I would love to use a pic or two from your site and put them on the homepage.  You would retain all intellectual property to the picture and be creditted fully.

Richard here is a stone enthusiast as well.  I trust you two will have a lot of conversations concerning your finds.



Greetings Bill.

I'm a stone viewing enthusiast.

Suiseki .

I collect stones approx 50 miles north of NYC in Northern Westchester County and Southern Putnam County. Along lowered lake shorelines within these counties or at the end of tributaries that flow into the Hudson River.

On ' Photography' I tried a test photo to see how using photobucket works . Pretty easy. That stone is of a human image.  Two eye sockets , smudged over nose , right cheeck bone , forehead , jowl ..mouth open as if saying O  and there is a resemblance of a goatee at the end of chin. Neck.   

His name is Ugly Marrow .

I read about a man that emigrated to Japan from Korea . To  be exiled on those islands for Lepers etc upon arrival for he was pretty Ugly . Face-body was affected by  ringworm . He was kept around for he could build Moutians and Hills .  Ends up he was one of Japans first garders noted historicaly in the Chronicals of Japan AD early 600's . 

He had two names.  Michi no Takumi and his nickname by the locals Ugly Marow < Shikomaro.

Pleased to meet you Bill.  Lets share. I've been waiting quite a while to talk on a regular basis with a suiseki collector .


Thanks for your kind words Mike.  Feel free to use any of the pics that you would like.

Nice to meet you Richard.  Do you have a suiseki collection.  Tell me about your stones.  Have you collected anywhere else?  How do mount and display your stones?  Many of my best stones come from Japan; the basalt there is great for suiseki.  The best geology that I've found in this country is in Calif.

george in the uk

Hi Bill,
I see you made it.


Hello Bill .

My Suiseki - Viewing Stone - Philosopher Stone and Outdoor Gardening stone  hunting grounds are of Northern Westchester and Southern Putnam Counties  NY. Most of the rocks I collect. 60 percent are from within a one to three mile radius of my home on Lake Mahopac in the town of Mahopac , Putnam County NY. The other 30 percent I would say are from a town called Crotonville or Croton on the Hudson in Westchester county NY . This is about a 20 minute drive South west from my home.  And I once went to a river about a 40 minute drive north of me where I found one rock during a 2 day outing with a canoe.

Google Earth :

-Lake Mahopac in Putnam County NY in the town of Mahopac.

Lake Secor of Putnam County NY in the town of Mahopac .

Town of Croton Falls in Westchester County .

Village of Crotonville that is on the last leg of the  Croton River below the Croton Dam. A tributary of the Hudson river and has a very large tidal estuary bay . The croton train station is at this mouth.
   - Hudson River
   - Croton River

City of Kingston N.Y. on the Hudson River . I believe that is Orange County ? I'm not sure.
    - Esopus River

Gardening Stones. All of the Gardning stones I have found come from the immediate wooded hills within a mile or two of my home on Lake Mahopac. I've collected maybe 150 stones . 20 of them boulders between 200 and 400 lbs . Another 50 stones around 20 to 100 lbs . And the rest are misc. two hand held sized stones that I would call filler stones for the garden.

Of this collection I have only a small handfull of painterly image stones as 3- d or 2 -D sculpture views. All were found this and last spring . Over many days walking in silence . Then a few weeks  hunting -  gathering both those seasons. Distinct difference between walking in silence and hunting - gathering. When  I hunt in regards to rocks I'm  looking for the kill and that means a very narrow category down to one color hue, one density , one form within similar sizes . A perfect example would be hunting for Stepping Stones >  black hued  highly crystaline polished rock , extremely heavy and all 6 to 12 inches thick by two to 3 feet wide.I look for the kill eyes focused on my quarry blocking out all the other rocks .
Very hard to find a painterly image stone that one can view 360 degrees around .  Most have two faces . So to know what is beneath the ground is of utmost importance. This involves silence and non thought. Not hunting or gathering. Just being. Its then the mind upwells triggering gut instincts and there isnt a juxtaposition of excitement or a rucs at a potential find. These rocks I often walk past making a mental note and re examine at the end of the day near nightfall. I know if the rock is good then why rush ?  Too often going in for the kill leads to mishandling the rock and breaking or scratching what made it look like a painterly image. 

Sculptural Rocks :

Two carp .
One is about 2 feet tall. Basic kinetic energy form of a fish breaking up into the air. Its only half a fish and like the other larger carp stone niether have a wiggling zig zag body form. Both look like riggid foward arching leapers. The bottom of the rock is an incomplete image ..portion to be planted into the garden.  There is a distinct jaw line and belly . One can immagine where the eye would be so its then easier to see the forehead ,back of neck portion.  the mouth is agape about 4 or 5 inches with the lower jaw jutting outward moreso.

Second is about 6 feet tall . Very similar to the carp above however this one has a tail portion so as not to be planted mimicking a mountian stone. The carp is to be viewed from left and right sode of its body and down along its spine. Affording one to see 3 sides of a fish . The belly is very rare in my estimation for it has a 90 degree angle portion broke out of it. Ever see those plaster - concrete  cherubs ,satires angels  for the garden where the legs and but form a 90 degree angle to sit the statue level on a wall or bench ?  Well this 6 foot long stone I found has exactly that upon the carps front belly.  This means when a dryscape waterfall is created having 3 tiers I can set the stone on the precipice of the tier . The carps tail will be hanging in mid air and the carps spine arches over the waterfall and the head will be well over the waterfalls edge .  This is much different than the first smaller carp stone wich will have ot be planted into the scape .

One Duck.
About one and a half foot long by one foot tall. Basic body of a waterfowl having a neck giving the feeling its head is tucked into its side wing for a nap  when looking from one side. And the neck seen from the other side gives the feeling the head is looking forward beak and all. Even an arching  crest at the top of the head. Kind of a unique stone. 

One pointed Spire Mountian.
4 and a half feet tall by two feet wide at the base and it tappers into a point at top. Down the back of the rock its rounded and the two sides meet at the front face creating a deep fold - groove along the entire length. Groove widens and deepens towards the middle and bottom . A waterfall falling from  the most perilous heights. I like this stone alot.
Dragon  .

One Tsukubai stone .
About 4 feet long almost..maybe less. By two feet tall at most. This is an  oddball. I cant gather the river boulders having holes drilled into the flat top surface for they are too heavy , large  . They must weigh half a ton or more  and are in a gorge with 40 to 70 percent slope 200 yards up. So one day while walking a lakeshore near home I came across a long rock that has a troff down into it. Kinda neat . At the top left corner runs a groove where water ran down this groove towards the right angling down. Then it spills out into the troff below that is as long in length as the groove above but the troff is half a foot deep below .Its a glacialy ripped off  rock from nearby ledgerock . Gniess - schist . Schists long gone leaving denser gray gniess.

Two Suiseki style ocean shoreline cave - cliff face stones.
Both are 100 percent flat of bottom and top.The bottom strata about one inch thick and creates a lip just like a tray around the perimeter.
One is about 5 feet long and other about 3 or 4 feet long. The heights are about one foot having a similar dense layer on top like the bottom.
Both have 360 degree views . Looks like a coastal scene of a large oblong opening mouth of a cave . At the back of the cave for the 5 foot long scene is an opening like a window. Lets in light. Pretty cool.

Horai Stone.
I found a rectangluar standing stone of about 2 feet tall and square yet slightly rounded of corners. About 5 inches thick. Its made of what seems like a dense mix of feldspars of greenish and brown hues. Has that waxy look when dry.  Down the back is an angular groove pocked with several rounded holes of varying depths. And towards the top askance from  the middle of the stone is a large hole opening right through the rock. Think of an abstract more modern form of a fantastical horai island stone. My cousin lived in the Catskills and on his property I believe are dwarfed black pitch pines. Stunted from the winds and nutrient and mineral poor glacially deposited sands. Like sand from the beach. I want to get my hands on one now : )

One boat.
Rather mundane 4 foot long rectangle with a raised cabin towards the back like a small square a quarter of the total stones length. Like a Junk. key word is like.  I found this really cool boat stone ? But what a mission to aquire it from the river shoreline.  Is made of this black rock that is oh my god extremely dense and heavy and when erosive condistions occur highly polished. But if the crystaline make up is too large ? they dont meld tightly. I think the water and ice gets into these stones and it starts to crumble.  So here is a jet black boat with  polished smooth sides , bow and cabin faces . But the top is crumbling rock crystals encrusted with moss.And not the aquatic mosses . Real moss .Shade . So its an easy transplant .  Looks like a shipwreck. Like a ghost ship. Oh brother one day I am going to get that one. Its the best rock I have ever found . I'll save it for some years from now when I learn how to use a come along or other safer methods. Along with some helpers and lots of blankets. Treat it like Tofu. I dont want to bruise this one.

Painterly Image on face of stone.
  Two foot long rock by one and a half foot tall of a highly metamorphic biotite and muscotive mica schist  middle face sided by two dense flat top spires of what look like mountian tops . The Schists cascade like waterfalls in a painterly image manner where therein is a dense white feldspar forming a dragon's serpentine body and buldging head swimming upwards.  {{{ Lost , I havent seen it at the location kept. Might be a goner }}}

These are the Garden Stones. Not enough to make a garden yet . I want about 5 times the number of what I described already.  Reason why ? Some dont jive with the others according to the interior rations and proportions for any one garden they all would be assmebled in.  Some fit one size and some another size garden. 

I recall making model scenes of a military battle as a child . I was in first grade. I used plastic army soldiers and thier accesories from two box sets. One set had 4 inch tall soldiers..Another set had two inch tall soldiers .And then I used the cannons and items from the game Stratego ? Strategy ? Some war game.  My mother kept saying finish it so she could take a picture. This annoyed me becuase I was trying to figure out why it looked so horrible. Nothing was in scale . So I left it on the floor for days . Each day removing what sucked < kid terms again : ) And reorganised .  I still have the photos my mom took. you can see the 5 inch tall plastic army men in front of the mountian I created ad the little guys behind the mountian in the distance.

What I am learning is it doent matter how perfected the painterly image of the stone is to that of animal , structure , human or abstract thoughts art. What matters is they all meld into the space selected as being of the same scale size ratio. that vertical and horizontal means more to the garden than the painterly images found to be used in its construction. therefore in conclusion the majority of Filler stones . Stones that are garbage ? One probably can design a better Garden selecting rather than images and unique forms .. selecting the proper sizes and flows angles that match.

Since I am a novice without experience and young of mind I am collecting only painterly image stones so far .  Going for the kill so to speak. so at this point of life when I do buckle down and build a garden I'll have to choose for the abstact modern mindscape style where alot of painterly images can be used of various sizes scales and ratios . Surrealism.  Another thing is I dont want to loose them in various gardens . If they are all contained in one space its easy to keep track of them over the decades . A real collection. that one person can moniter and take care of.  After many years these stones can be thinned out like seeds for other gardens on the same property leaving a traditional minimalistic zen style .


Japan and California and other Pacific south and northwest states along with the Desert stones of Cliff Johnson ? some really cool suiseki coming out of the southwestern deserts I see. 

Well the towns around me cant compare to your suiseki stone materials.  ::shaking head with pursed lips lil dissapointed ::

There are two materials here in Northern Westchester county that will produce world class suiseki . I do not know the names of these two rock minerals . Sorry. One is very rare and only found in a few places in the world.  Happens to be found on a couple mile stretch along the Hudson River near the tappan zee Bridge .This rock has coppery  green grey  swirls in a black rock having often deep red garnet viens .  Very very very heavy . One small palm sized peice 4 inches long by 3 inches tall can feel like 3 or 5  lbs .

Another type of rock is that black crystaline rock. It polishes to a true JET BLACK of the depest hue but has that opal like quality of clear coat on a paintjob of a car. Its the BMW or Mercedes benz opal black paintjob for rock luster and hue deepness. I found one such rock. I lost it at the library. Leaving it atop my books on a desk. Later that day it was gone. PS Anyone from Mahopac ever came across a 5 inch tall jet black smooth rock ? I;d like it back please . I'll  do the Irish Jig streaking naked down the main street in town holding the rock in hand triumphantly.  I miss that rock. Irony ? I found it on my first day of Suiseki collecting back in 2004 .   There might be one other such rock in that 200 yard length of the river . I called it Guilon Nights. The Rounded 200 to 1000 foot tall steep mountians of Chinese Province Guilon. At the base of this stone was a small jet black dense dense form like a small Chinese Temple at its base.  I think its probably one of the top 50 stones ever found in that county. I've never seen but 1 other stone found here HAHA. A Japanese Bonsai gentleman who passed away collected here . His stones are on a website explaining his lifetime accomplishments. I think he liked quartz suiseki stones for those were the only few shown .  I've found a few exactly like his. I also broke those into three peices each. Like most stones I break them or loose them.

All of my other suiseki stones 10 being best rating . 1 being the worst .My stones are around a 2 or 3 on average. About 2 stones may pass as 4 or 5 .

nothing of proper density , luster , deep hues of color and noble elegance or aristocracy to match that of lets say Kaiseki Hirotsu and  Felix Rivera .


Bill . Please tell me about your Gardening and Suiseki stones also. I'd love to read your thoughts of them.

I'm going to check out the link to your website now. Hope to hear form you soon.


Back : )

Image Six on your garden website.

The Murpheys Stone. The Divergence of the river into to parts . The river splits and as seen by the use of the Murpheys stone low profile and grain of denser rock to the top as a mounding obstacle and the lower profile across the expanse ......enabling the river to hit this obstacle and divide left right.gives feel of the river fork bending right when in flood season flows over the low profile of this suiseki style rock. 

Hard to tell what to feel sice the photograph cuts short the Murpheys Stone and river scene just after.

PS.  Purchased , aquired or found . Becuase I know of the Murphey stones already legendary status . Wow. My heart is beating. Just to touch it haha. Murphey Stone huh  ::smiles ::  Awesome. Wish I had rock strata like that around .

Can you take more pics of the ponds water cascading adjacent to the other suiseki style form ? Please. I'd like to see different angles.

Going back to your website..peruse some more.


Thanks Richard for all of the great info.  It occurs to me that with respect to our discussion that involves so much specific detail, we could do that on e-mail (my address is on my site). 
I have a couple thoughts that I could pass along here: the two best books on suiseki that I know of are: 1)The Japanese Art of Stone Appreciation, by Vincent Covello and Yuji Yoshimura (Tuttle), and 2) Suiseki, the Japanese Art of Niniature Landscape Stones, by Felix Rivera (Stone Bridge); (color photo #25 is on my dai).  Interesting story - in the late 80s I was living for a time in San Franscisco and joined the bonsa society.  During the first season, Felix came to the group and gave a talk on suiseki.  That got me hooked and I've been doing suiseki ever since.  Three years ago I was back in SF and went to Felix's suiseki group in Oakland and gave a presentation of my stones and dais.  Following my first trip to Japan, I stopped using suiseki stones with cut bottoms.  This has been quite a bone of contention between Felix and me - it is very American (being as kind as I can) to cut stones for suiseki.  I completely agree with the Japanese that few things violate the spirit of the stone more than chopping off its bottom.  No one could deny that Felix's web-site is pretty impressive; but he can be a bit authoritative both in his positions and demeanor.
With respect to the Murphy's stone in photo #6 - this photo can be put in better context in conjunction with photo #3 - the Murphy's stone is immediately to the right of the hinoki forest (it is just out of sight).  That is is great stone with one exception - notice the white streaks; they are scrapes that I am trying to "weather" out, which should only take about 500 years.     
In addition to another set of garden photos, I want to post another set of suiseki photos on the site soon.


Hi Richard
I have sent you books and CD . I forgot to put letter in the envelop  ;D.................yama


SMF spam blocked by CleanTalk