Creating a Japanese Garden – Oak Bay News

– History by Angela Cowan

Discover the mountain Where there is no mountain.

Imagine a Japanese garden and you will see cherry blossoms, artfully cut bushes, water features, and slow-moving bridges. A feeling of peace and tranquility, and a calm and quiet place. A large Tori entrance that invites visitors to the garden under the canopy, turning anxiety into reflection.

The only philosophy behind Japanese gardens is the same: a place to think, meditate, and be at peace.

Susan Hawkins: “Most people realize that the metaphor has to do with a sense of calm and peace. People in Japan already know that there is an inner value to everything.

Susan holds a master’s degree in art history from the University of Victoria, a background in heritage landscapes and a lifelong love of all things.

She taught garden history from Versailles to Victoria, drawing on Eduardian’s design, the age of knowledge and compassion, Egypt and everything in between. But there is an interesting and unique aspect of Japanese gardens, because their origins can be traced back to a narrow point in history.

12th-century Japanese monk Muso Sosseki is considered the first Zen gardener.

“In the beginning, sages or yoga masters went to nature. They went to a tree. They went to the forest to meditate, to separate themselves from the daily routine. one day, [Soseki] He has an epiphany. He sits outside the small village and sees a rock and a tree and a small stream. ”

He looks at how individual bodies represent the wildness and majesty of nature, and takes that idea into a temple and a temple garden. The retreat to nature’s sanctity will suddenly become more accessible, and caring for the garden will become part of the monks’ spiritual practice.

“The idea of ​​learning to do this would be very wise,” says Susan. “There is a special feeling of creating a small space that reflects, in order to connect with nature. So instead of going to nature, going to a mountain pilgrimage, his philosophy is really to ‘find a mountain without a mountain. ‘”

By talking to Susan, you will immediately feel that she has a history and an encyclopedia of everything green. She will be able to bring out the facts and close conversations as she wishes. It’s amazing, and totally interesting to listen to, and a little because of its practical experience.

Aside from academic success, Susan is no stranger to dirty hands. She has been a gardener for more than three decades, holds a BC Certificate in Landscaping, is a master gardener, and was invited to renovate Shinto Garden in Japan for the Greater Victoria Art Gallery among many other projects. These days she also has a garden in Oak Bay, which she beat when she met Marian Paris.

For three years, Marianne was in the process of creating her own Japanese garden. She and her husband have lived in an Oak Bay Bangalore for more than three decades, but she has only taken over her pantry in the last few years.

“I am new to gardening,” says Marian, who is gentle and considerate. We began to do important work, such as placing a fence around the deer, and it has improved.

When the two women met, they quickly began to talk about Susan’s UVV courses, and if Marian Suzanne had consulted in private gardens, Susan agreed to give her profession to a Japanese garden project.

Much of the foundation work has been done, and the structure and shape and complexity have already been widely estimated. Susan chose the right plants where needed.

“I was not so sure about the idea of ​​giving plants,” says Marian. What a gift her profession is for bringing her passion and experience to this project.

Marian describes the garden in progress — with its stonework and hanging lanterns and dripping water — you can feel exactly what she is trying to cultivate in space — a soft, quiet atmosphere. About peace and the temple. She felt her heart pounding like a bunch of grapes in love.

“I have a new relationship with this garden, and I am very grateful for this attention,” she said. For me, the garden represents recovery from grief. The youngest of three boys died in 2013. His name is Daniel, and since his death – which has changed us immensely – this project and all that it has inspired me to look at life differently.

She said, “I know how I feel, and it’s happening here.”

Marianne, and everyone involved in creating space, came to the Paradise Building with her full encouragement.

“It was wonderful to give people the freedom to decide what to do,” she says.

From a contractor who had a big crack in the curtain to a sculptor who created a magnificent monument to Daniel, and a ,500 4,500-pound stone slayer, he had to go to the baby boy. Born, they all left their own pieces in the garden.

When a garden is created, it is important to think about and calm down so that a suitable community of people can come together and make an inseparable impact on the process. And everything fits perfectly with the general philosophy behind the Japanese gardens, intentionally, thoughtfully and deliberately.

Search for a mountain without mountains…

Create your own

Although a complete garden renovation is not possible for a DIY Japanese garden, you can bring philosophies down to your existing property, says Susan.

It is important to think about the basics of gardening – what kind of soil you have, whether it is shady or sunny, how to get in a wheelchair – but in Japanese garden design, one of the most important is the relationship between structures. And plants, and how they interact with them.

“It’s about thinking about the garden. The wind blows among the trees. Smells, ”says Susan. “It’s about getting involved with the environment you’re in. You have roads, rocks, water features and movement.

Although Japanese gardens are very diverse, they usually have one-half to two-thirds green and another third color, especially leaf color. If you have a shady area, Japanese gardens work best under certain types of canvas. And bananas grow well here, ”she laughed. Things are changing in the Japanese garden. You need roundabouts, walkways. And there is a gap between things, called ma. Not empty space. It is a place of constant activity. If you are looking at the leaves of the tree, the space between those leaves is a dynamic place.

Perhaps most of all, the garden should gradually reveal itself.

You must enter Paradise. He does not give up all at once, ”says Susan.

Explore others

Look for inspiration for your own gardens or if you want to explore others, there are many local options.

Both are examples of Victorian Japanese gardens at Butchart Gardens and Royal Rhodes University. Both were designed and created around 1910 by Isaburo Kishida, known for its creative eye and have benefited from more than a century of growth and maturity.

Recognizing the ancient Japanese settlers on the island, the most recent Japanese garden was built in He appeared on Main Island in 2002.

In Kellogg, the Kasugai garden is designed in collaboration with the Kasugai sister city Kasugai, often offering waterfalls, ponds, and rivers. And in Vancouver, the NBC Nitobe Memorial Garden at UBC is considered one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan itself.

But no matter where you are — a century-old garden with pine trees that reflect the clouds, or a small corner of your own backyard that has been transformed into smooth stone and unpaved sidewalks — the Japanese gardening philosophy is something you can carry. you. Take a deep breath, listen to the wind and find a mountain.

Black Press Media Publishing in History Boulevard Magazine

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