Blog

May 2014 Garden Exploration

30.04.14

 

This May I am heading to a couple of countries I consider very important in helping shape Origin's design direction for the future. I will be visiting Japan, Spain (or more particularly Andalucia) and Morocco. 

Over the next month I intend to explore the wealth of amazing gardens on show and incorporate the experiences and knowledge gained into our original and enduring landscape designs.

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DAY 1-2 TOKYO

03.05.14

Set-up originally in the late Edo period (18th century) by the Lord Naito, a powerful daimyo of the era, this large park is now a national park under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Environment.

Though this park is an interesting combination of traditional Japanese, French and English garden design, the main garden features to me for this trip were obviously the Japanese garden areas. The heart of this is a central 'avenue' of ponds and lakes, intertwined with a classic Japanese  kaiyū-shiki-teien or stroll garden and a roji or Tea garden.

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DAY 2 TOKYO

04.05.14

Tokyo is well known for its fairly haphazard  urban architecture. Within a relatively small radius one can often come across a mescla of architectural design from a variety of eras.In the same way the landscape architecture ideas that accompany the urban architecture can be from Turin to Timbuktu within meters of each other.

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Days 3-5 TAKAYAMA

07.05.14

Though not renowned for its gardens and temples (as much as the likes of Kyoto and Nara), Takayama nonetheless has a rich history in Shinto and Buddhist religions and the resulting town and its surrounds are sometimes dubbed 'Little Tokyo'.

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DAYS 5-7 KYOTO

08.05.14

A journey to Japan cannot be made it seems without including Kyoto on the itinerary. At least for the first time visitor and absolutely for someone interested in gardens. Historically speaking it sits astride Nara, the old Japanese capital and geographically between the two major cities of Japan, Tokyo and Osaka.

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DAYS 7-9 KANAZAWA

08.05.14

I made my way up to Kanazawa in the central north of Japan’s main island for the sole purpose of seeing it’s amazing garden, Kenroku-en. The name of this stroll garden was given for the ‘six characteristics’ it is purported to be built with, namely; spaciousness, seclusion, artifice, antiquity, watercourses and panorama’s. Having spent half the day strolling the stroll garden I admit it comes with each in abundance.

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DAY 10 KYOTO TAKE 2

09.05.14

There being such a wealth of options to take in in Kyoto I found myself back there for a day and night on my way through to Okayama from Kanazawa. I’m glad I did as I managed to take in some more wonderful landscapes at two more temples, namely Gingakuji and Dotakuji. I came to visit these particular temples via disparate sources of information and they proved to be equally disparate in their garden styles....

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DAY 11 OKAYAMA

14.05.14

Today I headed to Okayama, a city situated between Osaka and Hiroshima on the South coast of Honshu. This city is home to one of the purported '3 great gardens of Japan', Karokuen, a 300 year old garden built in the shadow of Okayama Castle.

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DAY 12 RINKURIN KOEN, TAKAMATSU

14.05.14

On the advice of Eiji Morozumi, a great garden designer from Perth, I made the trip down from Okayama to Takamatsu on the island of Shikoku to see Ritsurin Koen. This was worth the trip just for the spectacular train trip accross several kilometers of suspension bridge 50m above the channel between Honshu and Shikoku. From that vantage point some of the many forested islands scattered between the mainland and Shikoku can be viewed, as can the multitude of both small and large fishing vessels trying their luck in the heavy currents.

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