Friday, May 28, 2010

Custom cedar work part 1

A few pictures of some interesting and well executed Cedar/redwood.

Bamboo part 1

Bamboo is one of the most widely used materials in the pacific northwest, both as a live specimen in a garden setting as well as a dry material in fencing, gates, and various garden structures, but it is seldom used to its full potential. In my opinion it is best planted up against a solid backdrop (retaining wall, fencing, house exterior, etc) that sharpens its unique foliage and willowy stalks. For the same reason as above, I like to avoid planting anything around the base of bamboo so as not to hide its shape, with the exception of some ground covers, mosses, gravel or carefully placed stones. As the material for a structure it can be steamed and stretched, cut into a variety of shapes, woven through narrow posts, twisted, tied, mounted, and stained.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Japanese Flavor-The Portland Japanese Garden

Some landscape samples and bonsai pics from the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon. The garden, built nearly fifty years ago, exhibits much of the symbolism found in Japanese mythology, which is rooted largely in Animism. Everywhere you look, there are stones, azaleas, pathways and arbors, all placed in a manner that direct the eye towards a hidden shape or area of the garden previously unnoticed. This is a common theme in Japanese Gardens. It is a way of reminding the viewer of the naked reality that the universe we live in is alive and thinking and intelligent and full of hidden knowledge, meaning, and purpose. It is a feeling that every tree, boulder, or clearing of perfect rich green moss is the home of some attentive spirit, or watchful deity. A stone may lean in a way that seems to be the result of chance alone, but upon further inspection, it becomes clear that it is full of purpose, namely that of guiding the eye upwards towards an acutely placed Maple or Pine tree, and thus carrying the eye, and ones mind, toward heaven and stillness. That every object is sacred and alive, and perhaps even has a name and a specific duty, is the theme of a true Japanese garden. In fact, this animistic mantra is carried throughout nearly every aspect of Japanese culture, from comic books to animation to cooking utensils, the layout of temple structures and even breakfast cereal.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Training Trees

Some of you have been asking how i train various types of conifers and deciduous trees, both in gardens and as Bonsai, to look the way they do. Below are a few pictures of an old Japanese technique using bamboo held with either hemp rope or tarred jute twine, as well as a picture of anodized aluminum wire bound around a pair of branches, which is really just the modern approach to the old fashioned method of hemp rope binding. While both techniques are highly effective, they can be labor intensive and require regular inspection to make sure that the wire/ropes are not cutting into the branches as they swell and grow through the spring summer season.

Ground Covers, Part1- Sedums

Here are a few macro shots of some of my favorite Sedums for gardens where watering and poor soil are an issue. Also an excellent filler for pots and dry, rocky sites. The more sun these plants get, the brighter and more textured the color.

Trident Maples V. Acer Burgerianum. Part 1

Here are some interesting closeups of what Trident Maple roots and trunks should look like when grown "root over rock" style. These awesome trees are from the collection of Bob Deryk, of Vancouver Island, B.C. More Pics to follow soon.