The distinctive look of Japanese gardens is easy to recognize but difficult to achieve. Full of symbols that convey the philosophy of Zen Buddhism, Japanese gardens are meant to be both a visual and spiritual experience.
Traditionally evergreens, maple trees, cherries and bamboo are often used there. In our Calgary’s climate, there is the harsh winters, we are limited in plant selection but lots of choices are available. With certain oriental grasses such “Foester Grass”, Tuberous Oatgrass, and Ribbon Grass can be created nice landscapes. Flowers play a minimal role, with interest and variety of shape, colour and texture of foliage. When flowers are used, they are generally grown in swaths, such as a mass planting of Japanese irises.
Second element is water, which symbolize the source of life. If actual water isn’t feasible, then water is suggested with “rivers” of stones or gravel raked in pattern to represent river currents. The steeply arching bridges, so evocative of Japan, span ponds or dry river beds and symbolize rainbow. When running water is possible, sophisticated Japanese gardens make a high art of regulating the flow to shape the sound, creating musical effects.
Stones are third key element in Japanese gardens. Probably, without it Japanese garden can’t be created. Each stone is assigned a name and meaning. Each stone’s placement in relationship to the others.
Rules to place the stones are complicated but have strong succeed in centuries formulas to keep garden balanced, well-displayed and harmonic. For example, the big boulders usually placed in groups of three, as sided triangle with longest side faced to house. At opposite corner should be biggest, strongest rock.
Few words about history of Japanese gardens…
The art of Japanese Garden exists not less than 1500 thousand years. Traditions and technique of gardening Japanese got from Chinese that called “Landscape of Nature”. Japanese people first created gardens around their houses as imitations of natural scenery. Gardens, unlike most other art forms are alive. They are living, growing elements that make up a garden constantly changing with the season, the weather, the light, or just the passage of time.