Japanese gardens evoke the feeling of peace and tranquillity. These gardens are not only beautiful, but they are practical too as a visit to the Kew Botanical gardens shows. Professor Fukuhara of Osaka University designed this garden in 1996 based around the ‘Gateway of the Imperial Messenger’ or ‘Chokushi-Mon’, which was a gift to Kew Botanical Gardens after it was displayed at the London Japan-British Exhibition of 1910.
Often the word Zen is associated with Japanese gardens. Zen is a school of east asian buddhism. In modern times, Zen has been identified especially with the secular arts of medieval Japan. These include the tea ceremony, ink painting, and gardening.
Much of the zen doctrine is based on meditation, so is not surprising that Traditional Japanese gardens are designed for peaceful contemplation. Whilst the primary focus of an Oriental garden is nature, there are elements of a Japanese garden that symbolize the natural elements.
Ornaments, plants, rocks stones and water are the main elements used in Japanese Garden Design. The elements are often arranged asymmetrically in an enclosed space. Rocks are placed in groups or individually to highlight their colour, form and texture. Nearby shrubs create contrast in both colour and texture with the rocks. . Larger gardens sometimes incorporate an arched bridge as a design feature.
The Grounds of Kew
Kew gardens started in 1759 and now covers more than 120 hectares. Kew gardens has a botanical collection of over 50,000 living plants and has one of the largest collections in the world. Every year more than 1.35 million visitors wander the grounds of Kew to take in the wonderful landscaping.
Holland Park Kyoto Garden
Japanese gardens often feature simple and natural paving materials including natural rock, natural slate paving, exposed aggregate, gravel or stones. Straight lines and edges such as footpaths and decking can be softened with ground covers. Japanese garden decor is often incorporated into the garden. These include Koi ponds, stone lanterns, bamboo water spouts, rain chains, waterfalls and stone basins. Many of these Japanese garden design features can be seen at the Holland Park Kyoto Japanese garden in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
The Kyoto Japanese garden was a present from the city of Kyoto to commemorate the friendship between Great Britain and Japan. This is a very tranquil garden with stone lanterns as design focal points, multi tiered waterfalls, Japanese Maple trees (Acer palmatum) In Autumn the colours of these trees are stunning.
Plant selection will often include cherry trees and maples which put on a fantastic display of colour in the Autumn. The one aspect most often associated with Japanese gardens in the sub-tropics however, is the raked stones, sand or gravel in wave patterns. Compared to a lawn, these beautiful spaces will save on water and maintenance. Flowers and Australian native plants, especially ground covers, can also be incorporated into the design.
The origin of the Japanese garden design style is founded in the admiration and respect for all natural forms such as rocks and trees. The design style of the Kyoto garden is one of the typical traditional design styles know as the “tour garden” style. It is not just the original design which makes this garden Japanese, in the garden maintenance plan the trees are trimmed in harmony with their original natural shape.
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