Saturday, January 29, 2011

Japanese January is closing.

Only 3 days to go of my focus on the Japanese garden in January. This area was fairly well established with just a few tasks to complete, a couple of desirables and a few challenging problems to solve.
I know I am not going to get everything done. I have found that in decorating, and gardening, some problems are best solved in a more organic way and with serendipity in play. However, it has kept me more focussed than usual, got me researching and pushed me to get things done.

Next month I will focus on the mediterranean area near the washing line.

These were the tasks for this area of the garden-

1. Get some water features into the garden, as this is a crucial part of Japanese gardens.

I have moved my granite looking water feature to the Japanese garden, got power connected, a suitable pump and put in black pebbles. This is done I now have to blend it in a bit with some plants and a bamboo screen. I think I will move some azaleas to pots to add a bit of colour to the granite.

I have also bought a rectangular, fibreglass pot to use as a pond. I am heading out this afternoon to get some water plants, hopefully pinch some water lillies from my sister's garden. I will get some fish to live there on Monday (last day).

How I want it to look as seen and inspired in a garden centre

2. Find something arty but practical to put on the bare wall and on the table.

For the moment I have some banners (which I will waterproof), got these from the markets this morning. A bit corny but I like them. I read that Japanese tea houses have scrolls with messages on them so this will do for now. I'd really like a Japanese garden scene for this wall but the exact right thing hasn't turned up yet. I will also get a bonsai plant for the table this afternoon and I hope it will survive as it is fairly protected in that spot.

3. Put black mulch down.

I have already found this great black mulch 'forever black' which I put down to tidy everything up and give effect. It makes the plant foliage really stand out. It looks lovely when wet.

4. Find a plant to fill the pot that holds up the bamboo screen that hides the gas bottles. Also find a dramatic red plant to fill the gap infront of the screen.

I am thinking a big camellia with red flowers for the space or a rhododendrum or even a magnolia with burgundy flowers. I am hoping the right thing will jump out at me.

For the pot I am looking for something dramatic and special like a conifer but I will probably have to settle for bamboo.

5. Varnish the bamboo screens with marine varnish.

The books say the Japanese like things natural and weathered in their gardens but I think the screens will look and age better with a good lick of varnish. I am waiting for it to be a bit shadier to get in there and do this job.

6. Create the outer garden.

I have been reading how Japanese tea gardens often have an outer waiting room before visitors go through a low gate, past a lantern and water bowl, along a path by a natural woodland and to the tea house. I have the perfect area for this outside the gate to my Japanese garden. At the moment it is a dead space, next to a verandah. So I plan to improve the soil and structure of this area and create an extra area. I will keep adding good stuff to the soil before planting at the end of February. Keep you up to date.

7. Structures

Some other things just have to be put on the back burner for a while as well. I'd love to make a simple bamboo entrance at the far end and have researched one. Building has to wait until we get rid of some concrete sitting in the way and until it is cooler for digging holes. A letter box red one I think.

I also want to grow some wisteria or clematis to hide the ugly garden shed but have to wait until cooler weather and my husband has time to help me build a strong frame. I'd like to paint the shed wall black but I need to negotiate that one. From past experience wisteria are worth it but you have to contain their enthusiasm and vigour with a tough love approach.

8. Ground cover

Finally I think I will head over to my $2 plan shop to get some mossy looking baby's tears or native violets to fill in the little pockets between and next to the rocks.

Then I am looking forward to a deep breath and a cup of tea.


  1. I didn't realise that you were focussing on one area a month, probably because I read too quickly and lightly and don't take everything in! Anyway, I was thinking what a great idea it is. I can see that you can't get it all done at once, but a garden evolves and some things work and others don't.

    I am trying to slow down in my garden and focus a lot more on getting things right. A little like your month in each garden, I am trying to focus on one area at a time. I try to grow my fruit and vegetables over a fairly large area, and I often find myself in the middle of one task, only to get distracted by another!

    And I LOVE the idea of black mulch. I use sugar cane mulch because of the price, but it's BORING! Black mulch is classy :)

  2. I forgot to say thank you for adding me to your blog list :) It's very much appreciated.

  3. So much work. I admire your dedication to your yard.

  4. I love the idea of japanese gardening. My favourite are the small purple maple type trees and water features. Your doing a great job.