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Lessons From the Japanese Garden

Articles: Lessons From the Japanese Garden

The formal order of this row of trees at a Shinto shrine is reinforced by the hundreds of fortunes written on white paper fixed to the chord. Takayama. Photographs by the author except where noted
Very rare flowers, however beautiful, are not considered desirable material for gardens, the scarce and unfamiliar being favoured only by vulgar and ignorant persons.
Joseph Conder, Landscape Gardening in Japan (1912), quoted by Christopher Thacker, The History of Gardens

Western observers are so impressed by the beauty, exoticism, and precise maintenance of the Japanese garden that they rarely attempt to understand the ideas behind the forms. As a result, from the late nineteenth century on, waves of japonaiserie have washed upon European and American soils, bearing with them the motifs and the look of the origi­nal but little of its substance. To learn from the Japanese garden, however, we must surpass mere appreciation and seek the intentions and ideas of the garden makers.

Space is continuous, even though bounded by walls and in places roofed. ...


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