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4 Essential Elements in the Oriental Garden - From a South African Perspective
Western gardeners have the utmost respect and admiration for oriental gardens, not just because of the feeling of peace and tranquility with which they are imbued, but also because of their seeming simplicity and, to us, the restraint with which they are created.
Creating an authentic Japanese garden can be difficult, however keeping a few simple pointers in mind you are a few steps closer to creating a Japanese garden.
Essential elements in the oriental garden:
Much time and thought must go into choosing rocks, which should be old and weathered. They should be grouped in odd numbers (four is an unlucky number), and placed with their 'faces' presented to the viewer and their 'strata' or grain running in the same direction. They are usually positioned in the open some distance from a wall or boundary planting. At least half, preferably two thirds, should be buried below the surface.
GRAVEL, PEBBLES AND SAND
These are used extensively in oriental gardens and are ideal for both low-maintenance and water-wise gardens. Large areas are often raked into ripple or wave patterns to represent water. Round pebbles are preferable to crushed gravel but are sometimes not easily available. They should be laid on well-compacted soli over which a layer of plastic or a geotextile like Bidim has been laid.
This may be included in the form of a simple water bowl, a large, shallow, still reflection pool or a dry stream created with pebbles - the secret being to place the larger pebbles where the current will be at its quickest, with the smaller stones being "deposited' where the current is slow, to create a sandbank. Bridges may be simple stone slabs suspended across narrow sections of streams, parallel wooden planks or railway sleepers off set from each other, or flat slate or stepping stones "floating" as if suspended over the water or placed in a zigzag pattern, to slow visitors down so they can appreciate the garden. The flow of water over waterfalls is cleverly guided between strategically placed stones onto a stone at the base which breaks its fall and introduces another sound to the garden.
Nandina domestica, bamboos, lotus lillies, azaleas, pine trees, ophiopogon grass, maples, coprosmas, junipers, hostas, rucus, camellias,ginko biloba, flowering cherry, Zoysia tenuifolia- grass which can be used as a moss substitute, or moss if it will grow well in your area, ferns, birch trees, paper bark iris
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