There’s nothing quite like Japanese gardening. It is not just about planting and growing plants and flowers. It’s more of a cultural form where trees, shrubs, rocks, artificial hills, flowing water and other gardening components produce art and imitate Mother Nature.
The traditions – Zen and Shinto, are both an integral part of Japanese Gardening and owing to that, Japanese gardens are more meditational and focus more on soothing one’s soul…reflective and contemplative than Western gardening.
When it comes to Japanese gardening, there are 3 basic methods for creating or crafting scenery. The first of these basic methods is the reduced scale.
By reducing the scale, one can produce a replica of an actual scene taken from nature involving mountains, rivers, trees, etc in a smaller scale. The next method for creating a Japanese garden is symbolization. This involves generalization and abstraction. For example, you’d be using white sand to suggest the ocean.
Last but not the least – we have borrowed views. This pertains to artists using something like the ocean or a forest as their garden’s background…and that background would end up becoming a crucial part of the garden.
Looking closer at it, there are 2 types of Japanese gardening. First is the tsukiyami. This classification of Japanese gardening centers on using hills and pounds as a crucial part of the garden. That’s why it’s often called hill gardens. On the other hand, we have the hiraniwa. A hiraniwa garden is the exact opposite of the tsukiyami. It’s essentially a flat garden where no artificial hills or ponds are used.
According to the Shinto tradition, rocks serve as an embodiment of the spirits of nature. Along with rocks, Shinto-inspired Japanese gardens use gravel to define the surface of an area in the garden and direct the water flow when used the right way.
Stones, on the other hand, are employed to create borders and are sculpted in lantern-form. Water, on the other hand, may it be in form of a pond, waterfall, etc, may it be symbolized by gravel or not, is and will always be essential in every Japanese garden.
There are different types of plants and shrubs that are integral part of every Japanese garden. One of them is the Bonsai. Taking care of a Bonsai gives its owner an everyday training. One must take care of it every single day, prune the branches and leaves regularly, etc as a Bonsai must look like a large and mature tree…but one that is miniature in form.
If you’re looking for a different, meditative, and contemplative way to grow your garden, it’s about time to check out Japanese gardening.