Friday, 1 July 2016

Recent works

Central arrangement of dry garden, Warwickshire, England
 More and more as I work to create gardens do I realise what a privilege it is to have the opportunity to devote oneself to manifesting Beauty. Having trained in traditional gardens in Japan in the early 1980's it was my goal to find a way of integrating what I learned into other cultures. Instinct told me the fundamental principles were universal truths. There could with the right application be found ways of integrating these ideas in places outside of Japan. Not necessarily to copy what was done in Japan, but to embody those principles and blend them with the local culture.

Dry garden, Warwickshire, England
 In this garden, still not quite finished! The planting is 'non-Japanese', that is the plant palette I chose are not plants normally used in the gardens I visit in Japan. But then the outlook is not Japan either. The garden overlooks the greater part of the garden area which is full of shrubs and herbaceous planting familiar in England. Beyond the confines of the garden is a grass paddock with horses grazing, and beyond the paddock hedgerow trees of oak, sycamore, hazel and hawthorn, beyond that the infinity of the sky. I saw the location as a series of layers which could be viewed as a whole from inside the home. In Japan they will often use a narrowly defined range of plants. Here in this garden Thyme 'Doone Valley' and Sagina subulata ('Irish Moss') was used to create sweeps of low ground cover textural planting. To segregate the dry landscape garden from its more English cousin, a low hedge of Escallonia 'Donard's Seedling' has been planted. The garden is very young and will take a season or two for the ground cover to grow into a continuous carpet.

Garden in an orchard, Kent, England
To create gardens that  have a quality of peaceful harmony there needs to be a fusion of the garden creator with the space and the materials. The garden creator is really an orchestrator or a conductor bringing different materials together in space. In this particular garden there are a number of very old cherry trees. They once formed an orchard, but have long been undisturbed except by the birds that enjoy the fruit.

Stream between ancient cherry trees. Kent, England
 A stream now winds its way among the trees, three ponds allow the water to gather before moving on. A variety of treatments to the streams creates a range of sounds that a visitor will discover as they walk through the garden. There are no defined paths so everyone can find their own way through the space.

Moon gate opening to pavilion. Kent, England
 Having walked down through the garden, perhaps for some of the way having followed the stream, the visitor has to walk around the pavilion to find a way to enter. Rising up a series of steps built out of very large slabs of stone, the 'Moon gate' opening frames a view back up the garden. A pavilion is a destination, but also a place to rest. A place to gather one's thoughts and experiences, to allow them to become embodied. The architecture defines a view, focuses a way of seeing again something that has already been experienced, and in this way revealing the garden in a new way. Hide and reveal, opening and closing, ever being drawn on to discover anew.

Leaf shaped roof of pavilion. Kent, England

Water garden. Gloucestershire, England
This garden actually contains four ponds and two streams. the landscape element of the work took nearly a year to complete. It transformed of what was a large grass slope into a stroll garden. Yet to be completed are two buildings, one will be a tea house that will sit out over the largest of the ponds, and the other will be a covered seat in a contemporary style. The covered seat will also act as a focal point in the far distance for the view across the garden from the tea house.

Water garden..Gloustershire, England
In this garden the planting chosen has been carefully considered to develop as a series of flowing shapes that drift across the site. The plantings are mainly Buxus (English Box) and Prunus laureoceracus (small leaved laurel), both can be pruned and clipped into low mounds. Over 100 tons of boulders (the largest of which weighed over 6 tons) were carefully selected and placed in the composition.  There is an interesting contrast in feeling between the soft fluid shapes of the plantings and the rounded forms of the boulders. The impact of the stones is immediate, the planting will take a few years to fill out and will require tender care to guide them and then maintain them into the forms that the garden asks for.
Arrangement of large boulders. Gloucestershire, England
So often it becomes apparent how close the creation of a garden and the creation of music is. In both arts the composer is working with patterns of energy. Rocks have their individual energy, as do plants, as do notes. Everything vibrates to its own song. The task of the garden creator and the composer is the same, to draw the different patterns into a harmonious whole. What is also important for the garden creator is to embody the qualities he or she desires to project through the garden. It is this energy flow that the viewer of the garden interacts with, absorbs through experience of what is felt. Beyond music the garden invokes the qualities of time, change and the seasons, even from day to day change happens, from one moment to the next.