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

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Japanese Garden under Snow

 More snow this weekend, another 6 inches.  We had a bit of a mid-Winter thaw last week, and the daffodils started peeking up in anticipation of Spring.  Not to be, the thermometer is going back below freezing for a few days, with a chance of more snow later in the week.  Quite a contrast from early last Summer as you can see here.

Zippy doesn't seem to be too terribly troubled by the snow.  He is a Turkish Van cat, descended from ancestors in the mountains of eastern Turkey.  He has a thick coat and seems to finally be enjoying that he can blend into nature instead of standing out like an albino when he stalks butterflies and insects. Here he is just entering the garden next to a metal lantern we have there. He looks a little chilled here, but believe me he can plow through snow up to his belly.

Don't forget to put some food out for the full-time residents of the garden too, they need a little help for the next few weeks until the sun starts getting closer to the Northern Hemisphere again where it can actually produce some heat. 

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Visit to Morikami Japanese Gardens

There is a cold rain falling outside my window today, with occasional pellets of sleet mixed in. What better time to remember a visit we made last year to Morikami Japanese Gardens in Florida? If you find yourself traveling though South Florida, you should take a half day to visit this beautiful place.

Morikami gardens have only been open since 1977. The garden is located in Delray Beach, about a half-hour drive from Fort Lauderdale. The garden actually consists of a series of six gardens, each inspired by a different cultural period and type of garden. All flow together seamlessly around a central lake. The gardens are all beautiful, and I found myself clicking lots of photos for ideas I could use at home.  Of course, I'm jealous of all the semi-tropical plants that grow seemingly effortlessly in the Florida environment. I was that way the first time I visited Disney World too, the landscaping just knocked me over.

You can spend a couple of hours strolling around the lake enjoying the garden. Morikami also has a Japanese Art Musem to visit.  There's a nice little gift shop with some great remembrances to take with you as well. You can order online if you see something you really like. I haven't seen many Japanese gardens in the US, especially on this scale. Morikami is a wonderful hidden gem.  If you have time, it's definitely worth checking out. Enjoy!

For further information, go to

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Rocks speak to me

Well, what can I say, that's the way it is. I came across this photo online and there's so much I like about it, mainly the colors. I'm all about muted colors in earth tones. I like the look of a natural plaster wall or a log cabin on a fieldstone foundation. I was taken on a clothes-shopping excursion over the holidays, (that's another story) and a saleswoman was matching up shirts and ties for my approval. She felt that a light-colored shirt needed an explosion of color in the tie. After a while my crossed arms, shifting feet and "mmm, maybe" responses led her to give up on me. I actually prefer the colors that you'd do a Craftsman style house in: olive green, beige, brown, grey, plum, light green and weathered wood. And throw some bronze in there for good measure. I actually did paint a room in that paint scheme years ago. The colors I found were Buffalo Sage with Chocolate Brown for the trim. Anything painted Buffalo Sage you know has to turn out looking good.

As far as the garden goes, my natural area has very few stones, so I've imported all of them from elsewhere, usually from clearings for developments or flipping them end over end through a woods somewhere and then figuring out a way to get them up into my truck. The ones I've gotten have given a lot of good structure to the garden space. Just looking at glossy pictures of Japanese gardens in books has given me good ideas that I've then been able to implement section by section throughout the garden. Where I have a space, I usually have an idea what might work there plant-and stone-wise. They say that master Japanese gardeners choose each stone very carefully for the garden space. It must lend a natural look to the garden and be correct for the effect they are trying to create. I do the same, but if I see a nice big rock, more likely than not I'll get it and ponder on it for a while in the garden until the right spot for it is revealed.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Garden in Winter

Well, it's that time. The snow is deep, the soil is frozen, the garden sleeps. It's the new year, the Christmas tree and the yule greenery are taken down, and we need a touch of Spring to look forward to gardening again. If you're like me, you have a few plants wintering over under grow lights that you can visit with. Your house plants are enduring low light and excessive dryness of the heated indoors. But don't despair. Soon the seed catalogs will begin arriving, with their full-color photos of red tomatoes and towering bouganvilleas. Ahhh, that helps dispel the Winter chill. Winter is the time to start planning out what changes you want to make in the garden. Do you need to rotate any plants around? Did something not work where you had it? Is there a new section you want to fill out this year? A cold day is a good time to plan out what new plants you need for the garden. If you are starting anything from seed, this is also a good time to start assembling your order.

To really get into the gardening spirit, try attending a big Home and Garden show. If you've never been to one, they are great fun and a good source of inspiration. The best part is, they are only a matter of weeks away! The Philadelphia Flower Show is at the end of February. In my area, the Capital Home and Garden Show is in February also. Go to and select Home and Garden from the drop-down Search box, and you'll get pages of upcoming shows. You can also check the Weekend section in your local paper or just google Garden show or Home show in your area. Ahhhh, can't you feel that Spring thaw already?