Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Autumn in the Japanese Garden

Autumn is fading fast on the US East coast as we head into Winter. Japanese gardens have a special beauty in all seasons because of the mix of natural features as well as plantings and architecture. I was looking around the web and wanted to capture a few pictures of the beauty of Autumn in the Japanese garden before it all disappears into the silver and white of Winter.

This beautiful shot was taken by Sarairachel in Capitol Hill, Seattle.        Sarairachel

So enviable...
most glorious 
Contemplating death
~ Shiki ~

Kimubert in Tenryuji, Arashiyama, Kyoto Japan

The winds that blow -
Ask them which leaf on the tree 
Will be next to go.
  ~ Kyoshi Takahama ~ 
Theothermonalisa at the Eastman house in Rochester, NY
Autumn wind
in Ise's shrine cemetery
even more lonely.
~ Matsuo Basho ~ 

 Nancy Qian

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Creative Garden Paths

I love making creative use of whatever materials you have at hand. If you have shells, create using shells, if you have wood, use it. If you have rocks use rocks.  Here are a couple of beautiful pebble paths I'd love to have in a garden. The one above is courtesy of The Garden Balcony Company .

Here is a more formal swirl pattern pebble path through a patio. Also from The Garden Balcony Company. I don't really have a lot of pebbles in my local area, but I really like these.  You could even do concrete stepping stones with whatever you have on hand impressed into them in a pattern. I must create one of these in the Spring.

Friday, June 3, 2011

First Aid for Butterflies

We all admire the beauty of butterflies in the garden.  They bring colorful movement into the garden space, and help pollinate our garden flowers and plants.  It's a shame when we see an injured butterfly. Like most people, I've always assumed that butterflies are so fragile that you can't do anything to help a butterfly with a torn wing or other problem. 

But today I ran across this interesting article that explains how a butterfly's wing can be gently fixed so he can go on his way. It also explains how to revive a listless butterfly with a sugar solution.  I never would have thought of that!  These tips are from "The Family Butterfly Book" by Rick Mikula.  It has tips on how to raise butterflies, what plants to add to the garden to attract butterflies, even to raising butterflies as a business. Wouldn't that be a fun job!
Click the link below to read the entire article on butterfly first aid. 

First Aid For Butterflies  

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hostas Make the Shade Garden

When you plant a Japanese garden, it's not all that flashy, and it is probably at least partially planted in shade.  In my garden's case, it's almost all shade since it it is within the edge of an old wooded area. That means you need to find out what shade plants work in your area. That is a trial and error pursuit. Some plants that aren't supposed to work in shade, will acclimate themselves to a shady location over 2 or 3 years. Others won't ever be happy there and will die if you don't move them to a sunnier spot.

I have come to rely on a few shade plants as the backbone of the garden, and hostas are one of them. We have received a lot of rain this year so far, and the hostas are getting so big that they are crowding on top of others next to them.  This one above, which I think is called "Abiqua Moonbeam", wasn't that big last year but has boomed out to about 2 feet wide this year. Hostas are perennials, so you can collect them a few at a time and they will come back for you year after year. You can also divide them when they got too big, which I think I will be doing next year.
The chartreuse beauty here has always been the big daddy of the hostas in the garden, but this year it has also spread like crazy and is over 3 feet wide.  I have it placed on a curve in a walking path, and it covers the space you would usually fill with 2 or 3 plants.  It is called "Sum and Substance" and is one of my favorites.  The chartreuse color really brightens up the darker shade.  It also looks great against the dark mulch and slate lining the paths.  Hostas do need to be watered if you get a dry patch during the summer, but overall they are pretty hardy. They are also one of the best plants for medium to deep shade. There are hundreds of varieties, so you could actually plant a varied hosta garden using few other plants.  Try a few hostas in your shade garden and you will soon fall in love with them.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Brown Snakes are Friendly

I have seen a couple of brown garter snakes in the garden this Spring.  When I was growing up, I only saw green and black garter snakes, I didn't know they came in brown.  Since I have lived here in Virginia, I have seen a few copperheads, which are poisonous, brown, short, but fat and scary.  So I was a little skittish to take a piece of wood off the woodpile last week and see a skinny brown snake curled up trying to keep warm.  I just gently put the piece of wood back on top of him.  I am not a "snake-picker-upper' of any snake, but they are welcome in the garden if they are not a danger to us.  I mean, I don't want to be fiddling with a plant and be in fear of getting bitten by a poisonous snake. This isn't the desert!

Anyway, I looked up these brown snakes and found that they are friendly, they eat slugs, which we need because slugs chew holes in the hostas at night. So, they are welcome.  I did get the chance to pick one up yesterday when I saw my cat, Zippy, in the yard occupied with something. Upon further investigation, he had a baby brown garter snake about 8 inches long, which was scared to death and probably anticipating his demise.  I shooed Zippy off and picked up the snake, which curled up in my hand.  He was pretty nice, no threat, cold, not slimy or anything.  I let him out under a hosta 30 yards away.  Nice fellow.  They are cool but unfortunately cats are fascinated by them. Time to have a talk with the cats....again.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Japanese Garden Haiku




Images: Flickr Creative Commons
Haiku: Public Domain, at

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Beauty of Japanese Gardens

Well, we are still digging out after the multiple snowfalls that came through over the last month, but there's been entirely too many snowy pictures posted here for my liking. I started researching Japanese Gardens online to relieve my cabin fever and maybe get some ideas for the garden this Spring. I collected up some of the pictures I found and posted them in an article The Beauty of Japanese Gardens.  There are pictures of Japanese gardens all around the world. 
I have several sections completed in the garden.  It is sort of broken up into separate rooms, and I've worked on completeing a room or two each year. It's getting to look like a whole now. Last year we had some big Summer storms that trashed some sections, but it made us rework some things that look better now.  I know this Spring I will be finishing a bridge I started last year.  I also need to do a small rock garden on a hillside.  Not sure what thats going to turn out like, but I'll need to be rock-hunting again.

So anyway, it's just computer research time. Take a look at the other article if you like, Maybe it'll be what you need to start thinking about garden season too.

The Beauty of Japanese Gardens