February 1, 2008

Moss Gardens, Japanese Gardens and Bonsai Trees

Today you will see pictures of moss growing in my garden. I can see 5 different kinds, but trying to name them? Not so easy, as they are very difficult to recognize - you need proper book for that and magnifying glass. The latter I have, but no proper book yet.

I don't remember since when I love moss. I think since always. Soft, fragile and moist.

When I recall biology lessons at school I always liked to learn things about them.

In my garden moss is welcomed everywhere. I try to grow it on my stones as well. Few months ago I covered them with yoghurt dilluted with water 1:1. No great effect yet, just little greenish something appeared - you think it could be moss?

I appreciate moss beauty especially in the winter - when it is lush green and so soft to walk on.

Grows in the lawn in the shadow? Great! I don't need to move it. Grass is weaker and weaker in that spot, and moss patches are larger and larger...

Recommended further reading Zen Gardens: The Complete Works of Shunmyo Masuno, Japan's Leading Garden Designer

Moss reminds me my second big and earliest garden fascination of Japanese gardens.
I look for tranquility and harmony in the garden - that's my conclusion after 3 years of gardening. Like every beginner I was so fascinated by different amazing flowers and plants - I was on the way to invite all of them until the day...

... I understood, that it is not possible to have all beautiful plants :(((
I still feel little sad about it, but first some of them will not like to grow in my garden, second ... hahaha... I do not have enough space! My 700m2 is not enough. In the smaller gardens it is even more important to not overload it with too many different plants.

This year I made a list of all plants in the garden and I counted 318 trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs. Do you say it is much?

Recommended further reading Zen Gardens: The Complete Works of Shunmyo Masuno, Japan's Leading Garden Designer

Coming to my second fascination and Japanese gardens, I like them for meditative and tranquill character. I remember that in communist time there was not so many books about landscaping and Far East - that was of my special interest at that time. I made friends with the owner of the shop selling used/old books. Some people were bringing their old books for sale, the others were coming to buy books not available in bookshops. Whenever something about Japan appeared on the shelf I was getting a phone call and I immediatelly run to the shop to see it. After coming home I was salivating over beautiful pictures of Japanese gardens, ancient castles and blossoming cherry trees...

There is six features as a synonym for an excellent not only Japanese but landscape garden.
According to the ancient book of gardens, there should be six different qualities to which a garden can aspire.
They are grouped in their traditional complementary pairs, they are:
spaciousness & seclusion
artifice & antiquity
water-courses & panoramas.
As the specialists say "it is difficult enough to find a garden that is blessed with any three or four of these desirable attributes, let along five, or even more rarely, all six."

Yet there is such case in Japan.
Its name is “Kenroku-en” which means “garden that combines six characteristics”, which is named by Sadanobu Matsudaira, a feudal load in the present Tohoku district (northern part of mainland Japan).
If you like have a look here:

Some more interesting Japanese gardens pictures, that might inspire you for some changes in your garden - if you plan any, coming year:
Japanese Gardens

Plants recommended for Japanese gardens:

Trees and shrubs

Acer plamatum, Acer japonicum, Acer ginnala, Amelanchier canadensis, Cercis chinensis, Chamaecyparis obtusa, Cornus kousa, Cryptomeria japonica, Gingko biloba, Pinus nigra, Pinus thunbergiana, Pinus densiflora, Magnolia kobus, Magnolia stellata, Prunus cerasifera, Prunus mume, Prunus serrulata, Prunus armeniaca, Sciadopitys verticillata, Tsuga canadensis,

Trees and shrubs of medium size
Acer palmatum 'Dissectum', Spirea japonica, Chaenomeles japonica, Chaenomeles lagenaria, Euonymus alatus, Enkianthus campanulatus, Forsytia x intermedia, Forsytia suspensa, Juniperus chinensis 'Armstrongii', Kerria japonica, Mahonia aquifolium, Pieris japonica, Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Syringa vulgaris

Small shrubs
Buxus microphylla, Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana', Daphne cneorum, Ilex crenata, Juniperus chinensis 'Blue Vase', Pinus mugo 'Compacta', Rhododendron obtusum, Rhododendron kaempferi, Spirea japonica, Spirea bumalda, Thuja occidentalis 'Globosa', Viburnum carlesii

All these plants are accompanied by different kind of grass, moss, perennials, bamboo, ivy that might be chosen according to the climate zone.

There is also Japanese garden in one of the major cities Wroclaw founded in 1913 and renovated in 1994.
I have heard that especially lawyers and law firms like Japanese gardens - do you know anything about it?


prophet said...

I love moss, too. The more, the better!

Barbara said...

I am a great fan of moss too and I HAVE now a book explaining all the different sorts. Not so easy to distinguish! But I am going to learn.... Unfortunately there aren't so many different moss sorts in our garden. Most parts are still too sunny! My husband is fond of Japanese Gardens and wanted one when he returned from a business trip to Japan. But as I work in the garden and he not (!) I had the final decision. So now we don't have a Japanese garden... But I like to see them in films or books. Very calming, meditative, beautiful!
Have a nice weekend, Ewa!

P.S. I also had to learn that it isn't possible to have ALL plants I like in the garden. It was and still is difficult to accept ;-) !!

Kylee Baumle said...

Ewa, I too love moss and have picked up clumps of it that grow in the ditches and along the road and put them between the flagstones on one of our paths.

Garden Wise Guy said...

Ewa - Moss is so hard to keep going in my dry southern California climate. My first love in my plant career is bonsai - it's that hobby that made me move into horticulture, and then landscape architecture. The aesthetic of authentic Japanese gardens and other "green" forms of expression is, to me, the height of subtlety and high art.

Yoli said...

OMG, thank you for posting this Ewa! I am trying to work on a Japanese garden at home and had no idea as to plants, etc., I too love moss...


Katarina said...

I've never really appreciated moss before - but after reading your blog I think I'm going to reconsider and leave the moss be.
You've got such a lovely blog - so glad I found it. I'll be happy to return.
All the best! /Katarina (Sweden)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Ewa I just love your moss collection. I too encourage moss where ever possible in my garden.

I like many apsects of Japanese gardens but I wouldn't want an entire garden of serenity. I like the boisterous colorful charm of sunny cottage style gardens. My garden is much like this but it also has some quiettude.

Acutally I want it all which is difficult with a small garden like mine. :/

Mary said...

Hello Ewa - I was impressed by your love for MOSS !! Why of why do I spend hours raking moss out of my lawn??? Maybe I should just let it take over the grass?? Perhaps not, I think I like grass better!! Also, moss grows on the rocks in my dry stone walls which keep back the soil in my raised border and my rockery. However, I do like ferns which seem to grow all by themselves out of my stone walls - I didn't plant them!! I will return to your blog to find out how you get on, Mary, England

paris parfait said...

You are so lucky to have moss growing all around your place! It is beautiful. And thanks for your lovely comments on my blog. All the best, Tara @ Paris Parfait

Ewa said...

Welcome to my blog, I hope to see you more often here :)

I know that its very very difficult to distinguish between them. I think that some lements of Japanese gardens could be used. Sometimes I am fully for it, sometimes I am for cottage garden - just throwing myself between them - hoping to find balance soon :)

I know it, I know it... from my own example :)

Ow, I never thought there could be a place in the world where it is difficult to groww moss - but yes I recall one of your posts about cleaning the streets with water...
Japanese gardens are very inspiring - some elements could be mixed into other style gardens to make more structured..

what a coincidence! I was working on this post, while I red in one of your comments, that you are planning to make Japanese garden :) They are so beautiful... but also it is so hard to sacrify all these beautiful flowers...

Welcome to my blog and I hope to see you again here:)

'Quiettude' is very difficult to reach in the garden, cos we love flowers and diferent type of plants.... and often we jump from one to another like happy bees forgetting, that if the garden shall look nice there is some discipline needed as well.

welcome to my blog :) I hope to see you here more often.
grass is difficult to grow in deep shadow - I have such places. They are slowly overtaken by moss, grass does not want to grow there anyway.

Welcome to my blog :) Hope to see you here again.

Thank you everyone for visiting!!

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

I love the look and feel of moss. Sadly, our hot Texas summers kill most of them. Your pictures are lovely.

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

I too love moss and have a lot of it in my garden. All that rain works wonders here. ;-)

I love Japanese gardens. There is a gorgeous one in Leiden (Netherlands) and last year I saw a very nice one in Denmark too.

Linda Lunda said...

WOW... so beutyfull!!!!

Sammakko said...

I remember from my childhood the forests with moss... I always wished I could just lay down on the soft moss and fall asleep. In Finland moss grows well, but it's not enoughly appreciated. Many do rake the moss out of their gardens, which really is a pity!

Kenrokuen garden is just amazing. I visited it last October and spent half a day just strolling around. And in another garden they explained about the difference of the moss, which are the bad ones and which the good ones. It made sense. The bad ones take space from the good ones, and that's why you can see workers in the Japanese gardens pulling off the (bad) moss.

Anonymous said...

Good day!

It is my first time here. I just wanted to say hi!