Water basin v. birdbath

HerbFebruary 5, 2005

A few days ago I mentioned that we have a tsukubai in our garden, but, because we never have a Tea Ceremony, we have a bird bath there in place of a hand-washing basin or chozubachi.

Somebody has just asked me if the bird bath 'looks' Japanese. I think the answer to that one is that there's Japanese hand-washing basin that looks very much like our bird bath - and vice versa -

Click for one example

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Well now, I place new basins under bird feeders to encourage droppings on the new stone. My favorite is a finch feeder with black thistle seed (less of a weed problem). After moss begins to grow, the bird feeder can be removed. Although meant as a garden element to be a true chozubachi, I don't think I would ever rinse my mouth from these!

A recently installed Japanese style garden is viewed from a bedroom deck. A double square basin with tsukubai seems to draw every bird species in the neighborhood with its subtle drip. Visitors are entranced watching the water trickle down and birds drinking from the basin, eyeing each other in a mutual temporary truce, with the more timid birds drinking from the tiny stream of water coming from the moss on the side of the basin.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2005 at 5:57PM
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Don, you've given me an idea. I'm going to reposition our bird feeders.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2005 at 6:24PM
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bahamababe(z4 VT)

If the water isn't clean it is likely going to degrade the appearance of your Japanese garden. This, I think, is one of the main problems with birdbaths. They're pretty filthy.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2005 at 4:29PM
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Bahamababe -

That's very true, especially after a flock of Starlings decides to use them. However, with regular attention they stay quite fresh & clean & we're often told that regular & meticulous maintenance is part of what Japanese Gardening's about, so it needn't be thought of as drudgery. Moreover, my wife is rather keen on the local Squirrels having clean water to drink, so I'm not allowed to forget...

On the other hand, with all the ominous things we that we hear about migratory birds being all set to infect millions of us with bird 'flu, we should maybe add some sort of disinfectant to the water until the threat passes.....


    Bookmark   October 26, 2005 at 5:10PM
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Herb. it was you who said you had a birdbath, not a basin because you had no need for it. Bird bath usually attract birds, no?

Bahama, I said I used this to help establish a patina and culture that would support moss, then removed the feeder. Nevertheless, the birds will come to all basins they can, so Herb's last word cleans up this subject. Clean it often if it is used as a traditional basin.

It is absolutely imparative basins used for traditional washing and rinsing, as well as their drain stones, be kept imaculately clean.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2005 at 7:04PM
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