Thursday, April 27, 2017

Enjoying Spring in the Japanese Garden

When we bought our old stone house the gardens were thicketed, dried-up, overgrown messes. The front yard was plastered with untrimmed shrubs and the back yard, wow ... what a mess. I awaited spring when we first moved in to see if I could salvage any of the plants. Except for a couple of azaleas, fully-grown Magnolia and Dogwood trees, and one tilted sad looking huge Japanese maple, there was nothing worth saving. That sad old lilac spent her life sharing root and air space with the more successful maple. Her last batch of sumptuous flowers graced the parlor that first spring.

Since I had to essentially start over, and with my passion for Japanese, I sprung for a rugged, Wabi Sabi Japanese inner tea garden. There are 3 parts to a classical tea garden, the outer, middle and inner gardens. The distinction of the innermost garden is that it is the most natural. No clipped shrubs, very little color, and it looks and feels its best sopping wet.

I sketched out a rough layout incorporating the three large trees, added in a dry creek, and created undulating surface from what was a dead-flat yard filled with bricks (2-bricks-deep edging, all over) and landscape fabric (3 layers of it with an inch of soil between each.)

The garden will take years, maybe decades, to get to the point I envision, but here are some spring photos of the textures and color I have introduced. Hope you enjoy.

This tiny fern was one my neighbor didn't want any longer.

I add moss every chance I get.

Japanese Maple Shishigashira

Prized Japanese Maple Shirisawarum Aurum

Sensitive Ferns

Japanese Maple Koto No Ito. This is a Linearlobum type, whose leaves are little more than threads.

Service Berry, a native tree that blooms sparkling white in spring, gets violet berries in summer, copper foliage in autumn, and silver grey bark in winter. Its the perfect small tree.

Lungwort, the perfect plant for shade.

Huge Blue Hosta


This is not moss ... I am looking for what this tiny volunteer plant is. its lovely and always looks waxy and wet.

The trunk of the Japanese Maple that I inherited. Its growing into a good tree, albeit, with a ton of work.

Ruby Azaleas from a neighbor.

Dawn Redwood

Japanese Maple Ryu Sen

Japanese Maple Viridis in bloom. Those intense crimson flowers are about 2 millimeters across.

Japanese White Pine


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