New Japanese Garden WIP

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damienw133
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New Japanese Garden WIP

Post by damienw133 » May 1st, 2020, 10:33 pm

Hi all, I wanted to share some photos of my currently very a much work in progress Japanese garden to see if anyone on here can offer any helpful input

Theres still a dry waterfall to build, a couple pines and maples and some extra shrubs to go in, but thus far i'm worried its looking a touch too 'victorian rockery/grotto....
I'm thinking that a lot more moss, mondo, liriope and ferns might help with that but still...i have my doubts

Any ideas would be muchly appreciated!
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This is sort of what i'm thinking of for the dry waterfall design, with a couple of japanese maples perched up on the mound obscuring the view of the 'peak'
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I've got this scots pine which is about 2 meters tall to go in behind the large azalea on the left and a smaller black pine to go in on the far left of the garden but they were a little hard to draw into the design to give any sort of realistic effect
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Re: New Japanese Garden WIP

Post by tgward » May 2nd, 2020, 7:34 am

With rocks ,'less is more' so perhaps remove some rocks from a couple of the flatter areas and replace with some white gravel to create the illusion of space. Allow the spaces to 'flow' together.It is also possible to create larger rocks with sand ,cement and dark colouring oxides

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Re: New Japanese Garden WIP

Post by MJL » May 2nd, 2020, 7:49 am

Hey Damienw133, lovely idea and I reckon the bones are there. Indeed you're pretty close to done when you finish your plantings and waterfall. Well played!

I am with TG on the less is more piece; to create feeling space. Also I think when you add some light coloured gravel to your paths and the moss takes hold, I think the contrasting lightness of gravel and brightness of moss and green ground covers will immediately provide more visual clarity of design, structure and flow.

Big and small rocks - yes but can be expensive too, you might be able to mound some of your existing rocks to create more perceived differentials between size and indeed create space or depth too. I am sure you have googled many pics - but I thought this link had some nice pics https://www.gardenista.com/posts/10-ide ... n-gardens/. I thought the Karetake picture might be somewhat of an inspiration for your direction.
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Re: New Japanese Garden WIP

Post by Raging Bull » May 2nd, 2020, 9:11 am

Hi Damien, I also must agree with TG, the rocks tend to overwhelm the total picture. Having been to Japan a couple of times I have noticed that their traditional gardens tend more to the subtle use of rocks and focus on the use of the space as a total landscape. Perhaps you could concentrate the rocks into smaller areas with larger spaces in between filled with raked light colored gravel. Hope our Ideas help, just my :2c: worth.
Cheers, Frank.

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Re: New Japanese Garden WIP

Post by Daluke » May 2nd, 2020, 10:15 am

I think it looks great as is.

My only suggestion -

Moss - spread it around.

Lichen - get some.

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Re: New Japanese Garden WIP

Post by damienw133 » May 3rd, 2020, 6:42 pm

Thanks everyone, thats exactly the sort of feedback i was after! I've been a bit too close to it to be able to get a really clear view of it overall myself...its pretty easy to get caught up in details instead of the big picture

After spending some time yesterday pulling out a few smaller rocks from one of the busier sections, replacing them with a bigger one and adding in a lot more moss to smooth it over i think the overall impression has been softened a bit more, although i'm thinking i might spread quite a bit more soil and moss over some of the other overly rocky areas to get a hopefully more subtle effect happening
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Yesterdays work
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And todays extra mossing efforts
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Re: New Japanese Garden WIP

Post by damienw133 » July 6th, 2020, 6:13 pm

Sorry for being so slow to update my progress on this ongoing project....works been a touch crazy and i've been a tad lazy ...
With another delivery of large rocks, and a lot of extra soil, moss and plantings its starting to get closer to where i wanted it to be.

Its still a little too overwhelmingly rocky at this point, but i think once its had an adequate dose of moss, ferns, liriope and mondo the harshness of all the rock should soften a bit. Its still a ways off that stage yet however as i still have to build up the height of the waterfall another couple feet before i'm really ready to go nuts with plantings.

As far as more major plantings are concerned, i'm planning on putting a couple of japanese maples behind the dry waterfall area to get some red and gold autumnal colour to give a nice contrasting backdrop to the dwarf scots pine in front, while at the other end of the 'ridge' a multi trunk japanese black pine will be going in to balance things off a bit better (the end nearest the white car).

Although i'll be continuing this kind of landscaping throughout the front yard, at the moment this is the most i can do as i need to preserve access for some building work later on in the year...alas it also means i cant put down the gravel for the dry stream until said building work is finished.

As always if anyone has any feedback or constructive criticisms on how i could improve it i'd be very interested in hearing them!

Cheers
Garden1.jpg
Waterfall1.jpg
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Re: New Japanese Garden WIP

Post by MJL » July 6th, 2020, 9:33 pm

Really enjoying these updates Damien. Thank you.

As you say, rocky now but will soften with the growth of mosses and grasses and be defined by the gravel path and a couple of feature trees, no doubt. I like the Scots, Black Pine and Japanese Maple mix. Other ideas to soften - potentially add - horsetail grass and maybe even some small weeping bamboo. (Both may need to be contained in hidden pots or by rocks as they can be invasive.)

As a thought - and better answered by those with Hort knowledge .... the Pines will need a lot of sun but the Japanese Maple - dappled light .... are there micro-climates/sun/shade aspects that will accommodate the difference?
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Re: New Japanese Garden WIP

Post by damienw133 » July 6th, 2020, 10:30 pm

MJL wrote:
July 6th, 2020, 9:33 pm
Other ideas to soften - potentially add - horsetail grass and maybe even some small weeping bamboo. (Both may need to be contained in hidden pots or by rocks as they can be invasive.)

As a thought - and better answered by those with Hort knowledge .... the Pines will need a lot of sun but the Japanese Maple - dappled light .... are there micro-climates/sun/shade aspects that will accommodate the difference?
I'd been thinking about horsetail grass originally but i wasn't aware they were available anymore? i had a feeling they'd been declared a weed here?
I saw quite a few gardens in Japan where they looked absolutely brilliant though.

On that presumption i've still not found a really suitable substitute for horsetail but i've got some pretty big patches of iris in the backyard that might suffice in a pinch for some vertical foliage interest
As another layer of 'softening' for the rocks i've also got some epiphytic hares foot and rock felt ferns to add a little bit of extra greenery to some of the harsher areas.

The light levels are something of an experiment at this point to be truthful, but i've chosen what i've read are full sun/near full sun Japanese maple varieties (osakazuki, ichigyoji and elegans)...if they dont work in that area i suppose i can always just dig them out for bonsai and add more pines in their place! :D

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Re: New Japanese Garden WIP

Post by MJL » July 7th, 2020, 6:35 am

Re: horsetail - if I remember correctly, I had some around 10+ years ago, contained around a small water feature .... I think I purchased it from a place that sold plants for ponds and water gardens. Probably is a weed; sorry, I didn’t check.


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Re: New Japanese Garden WIP

Post by KIRKY » July 7th, 2020, 7:51 am

To me it looks like a rock boarded rock hill. I would plant your plants closer to the edge where the path meets the rock boarder. So they over hang/spill over and soften the over all look. Also look for Japanese blood grass, and low grafted weeping cherries or weeping maple. Love the picture with the camellia’s on the left looks good. :imo:
Here’s an example of what I mean
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/specia ... garden.htm
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Re: New Japanese Garden WIP

Post by melbrackstone » July 7th, 2020, 10:03 am

I like it, although I couldn't say it's like a Japanese garden... Perhaps once the trees and shrubs have overgrown much of the rock. In my limited experience rocks are used as accents, rather than the building blocks. Still, as I said, I like what you've done, and would be happy to live with it! (I don't have room here for anything like this.)

Ritta and Mark Cooper are from Wales, but they're very big in Europe competitions. Their garden in this blog might give some hints.

https://bonsaieejit.com/tag/mark-and-ritta-cooper/

Also, BonsaiEejit features in this Peter Warren vid, and he actually explains a bit about why he has certain features.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5W8G5afDKA

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Re: New Japanese Garden WIP

Post by TimS » July 7th, 2020, 10:32 am

There are many types of Japanese garden. Tea garden, karesansui dry garden, hill gardens, stroll gardens, courtyard gardens, viewing gardens.....

There is a section of the large stroll garden outside Ryoan-Ji that has a winding gravel path under tall bamboo iirc that has a bit of this feel to it.

Imo for this kind of garden it will always look a bit NQR at the beginning. It’s the development of the trees and the crawling of the understory spilling naturally over the rocks and taking away the man-made appearance that makes them so beautiful.

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Re: New Japanese Garden WIP

Post by damienw133 » July 7th, 2020, 7:02 pm

Thanks for the feedback guys! Sounds as though i've got quite a lot more 'mossing' and planting to do to reduce the quarry look i've got going on at the moment

I hope this is okay to post...i dont want to spam this thread with random garden pics, but to give something of an idea of the sort of look i was going for, the dry waterfall at Tenryuji temple and the gardens at Ginkakuji are what i've been verrryyyyyy loosely trying to base my garden on.
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As it currently stands the scots pine thats in there is a little too formal and structured for my liking too...i'd like to gradually get rid of some of the straighter sections of branching in favour of a more gnarled 'ritsurin pine' kind of look - something along these sort of lines....minus the 200+ year head start that these had had ;)

The black pines i've got for the other end of the main hill and a few other areas throughout the garden area bit more 'wild' at this point but wont really be anything worth showing off for a few years yet
ritsurin pines.jpg
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Re: New Japanese Garden WIP

Post by MJL » July 7th, 2020, 7:16 pm

Bloody love these photos - the kind of inspirational garden shots that I need today... being in Vic and in necessary lockdown again. Helps me dream and keeping smiling ... thanks for posting.


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