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Karesansui teien

I have been planning for some time to do a series of posts inspired by Japanese influence.  I hope you’ll enjoy these posts, with interesting facts, fun projects, and even a couple of giveaways later this month.  These posts will be sprinkled around  other post subjects over the next month or so, with gardens, sewing projects, a quilt design, recipes and more, all inspired by Japanese culture.  Today we’ll go back to Cheekwood Gardens in Nashville for a visit to the lovely Japanese garden there.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

Japanese gardens have some common elements, one being the art of building anticipation as you walk toward the garden.  This is achieved by creating curves in the path, or an elevation change to hide the destination and build up expectation.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

Karesansui teien is the Japanese phrase for depicting a pond with sand or gravel.  A glimpse of the dry pond is seen from the path.  Building anticipation with just a partial view is called miegakure.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

The path curves again, and over a small rise in elevation, another glimpse of the garden yet to come.  The stone object on the left is placed in the tradition of catching your attention with a jinriki, a man made object, as a means to mark a place to stop and observe.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

This was the first marker that gave an overview of what was to come.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

Stone lanterns called Oribe Lanterns, named for a 16th century warlord and tea ceremony master responsible for designing stone lanterns for gardens.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

In the Japanese garden, only a few man-made objects are placed, and only to draw attention to a view or a feature.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

This lantern draws attention to the entrance to the pavilion.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

The marker describes the Shõmu-en style garden, meant to be viewed from only one place.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

Notice the play of light and shadow, that will change as the day advances.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

A pattern of ‘ripples’ is raked into the gravel around the stones called aranami-mon with straight line patterns in a checkerboard called ichimatsu-mon.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

It is a quiet, contemplative place.  Note the stone wall on the right outside the pavilion, meant to hide the garden from view from the pathway.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

Visiting in a colder month, some of the deciduous trees had lost their leaves, and the beauty of their forms could be appreciated.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

One last look at the garden, with the stones along the edge.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

Leaving the pavilion, a bamboo grove lines the pathway.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

Carefully placed stepping stones define the path.  An Oribe Lantern is a stone lantern placed in the garden to mark a place to stop and observe.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

Japanese gardens are designed to make the observer slow down, contemplate the surroundings, calm the mind.  To appreciate the beauty of simple things, see each element on its own  and as a part of the whole.  I think it is this more than anything that draws me to this style, appreciating the little things, observing the beauty all around us.  Konnichiwa! (good day!)

At home, it is the ideal time for planting seed beds now, and I got busy on that project this week too.  The red amaryllis doesn’t look like it will bloom this year, so I may repot it when the weather gets warmer.  The hyacinth bulb gave me a small flower spike, in my favorite white.  It had such a lovely fragrance.  Other than that, not much going on in my garden yet.

Do you enjoy Japanese gardens?

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

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