Newbie with inherited Japanese garden

winter_rose(NE Vic Aus z5)October 26, 2004

I have inherited an area on the South side (I am in the Southern hemisphere in a mountainous area) of the house that has one flat side going along a paving walkway, altogether an oval with rock edges. It has three maples, one large and two small. There are some Australian native ferns, nandina, one red azalea, rocks scattered about and pebbles.

The rest of the backyard with goes uphill has a rockery with rocks. A landscaped area in the corner with two deciduous rounded bushes with red branches and light green leaves and white flowers, lavender. I have inherited 17 osmanthus birkwoodii and decided to make a living wall around the pavers along the house area. Before thinking we could extend the Japanese theme to the remainder of the backyard we planted too gifts of stardard roses into the long thin rockery that I mentioned. It has some California poppies and heartsease that could be removed and some other cottage ground covers. We moved some rectangular cut bluestone from our old house and other rectangular stones plus a millstone. Looking to buy both a tall lantern and small snow viewing lantern. I am assuming we could cut the lavender and rosemary planted later into rounded shapes. There is an area of square railway sleepers at the end of the paving path that I was thinking of putting large pebbles or stones around the millstone to walk over. Maybe inside the walled area, coverting the bbq area to a shelter with seat. The roses could be made into a rose hedge. We have partially terraced the corner garden. How are we going?

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Gorfram(7b W Oregon)

Let's see...

You will probably want to transplant the standard roses elsewhere, and the California poppies are probably too loud for a Japanese garden (do they get enough sun on the south side?).
Heart's ease is, IMHO, subtle and lovely in a J. garden, enhancing its seasonality. The BBQ area does not belong, converting to a shelter with seat sounds like an excellent idea :)

The rest sounds like you have the makings of a lovely Japanese-style garden. It will help to read up on J. gardens, and visit any in your area, for ideas and techniques.

- Evelyn

    Bookmark   October 27, 2004 at 1:33PM
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Gorfram(7b W Oregon)

(had to go hunt these up... :)

Three books recommended for beginners are:
Sunset's "Ideas for the Japanese Garden",
Ortho's "Creating Japanese Gardens",
and "A Japanese Touch for Your Garden", by K. Seike, M. Kudo, and D. Engel

Your library may well have the first two, and just might have the third :)

Japanese gardens in Victoria listed at are:
Highton Japanese Garden, Geelong
Melbourne Zoo Japanese Garden, Parkville
University of Melbourne, Parkville

Good luck, and enjoy your garden!
:) Evelyn

    Bookmark   October 27, 2004 at 1:47PM
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nachodaddy(quiet, I’m trying to meditate!)


Met Mr. Ken Lamb at the Symposium. Seemed like a neat guy and very knowledgable. He should be able to help you with his knowledge of the local flora in your part of the world. He can be found at



    Bookmark   October 27, 2004 at 5:25PM
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winter_rose(NE Vic Aus z5)

Thanks Gorfram and nachodaddy for your replies. The poppies are just outside the shade from the house so get full sun which can be about 35oC most days in summer. We have some borrowed scenery of a mountain out the front of our house which is really nice. It snows there occasionally. So we can grow cherry trees etc. quite well as even though it can be 42oc a couple of days a year it cools down at night, as long as they are watered sometimes.

I would love to go to the gardens, particularly the one in Geelong, we lived quite close to them last year. Unfortunately we live at the far end of the state now near the NSW border, the closest city would be Canberra. We are halfway between Sydney and Melbourne.

I have some other suitable plants out the front that could be moved to the back like Kerria, have not as yet grown it down banks, has anyone tried this?

    Bookmark   October 27, 2004 at 9:24PM
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winter_rose(NE Vic Aus z5)

I should also say that despite the heat, we are able to grow moss and lichen in the garden and it is growing naturally on some of the rocks already. It is such a change from our original house before we moved near Melbourne before this where everything dried out, and it is only 2 hours away. The mountain aspect really helps with Japanese gardens.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2004 at 9:55PM
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Gorfram(7b W Oregon)

I'd still recommend moving the poppies (if possible :), as they are a little bright for that subtle and refined Japanese garden look :) doesn't list anything specifically under ACT, but these are their gardens in NSW:
Auburn Botanic Gardens, Auburn
Cowra Japanese Garden, Cowra
Edogawa Commemorative Garden, East Gosford
Imperial Gardens Landscape Pty Ltd, Terry Hills, Sydney

Is Cowra near Canberra? Or am I just confused?
:) Evelyn

    Bookmark   October 27, 2004 at 10:55PM
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winter_rose(NE Vic Aus z5)

I thought Cowra may be nearby but it is more northern, I think Nowra makes it confusing.

I have read:

The modern Japanese garden
Japanese Gardens in a weekend, Japanese courtyard gardens, Creating Japanese gardens by Philip Cave
Serene Gardens &
The art of Japanese gardens.

Our neighbour has a nice pinetree, not too tall that we can see in front of the mountain. We have papyrus in the original bed. Have seedling holly and access to some sacred bamboo. Have small amount of mondo grass. My hollyhocks can probably stay. We also have planted two camellias, one white small sasanqua with salmon pink back, and a Japanese variety in a yellowy shade which found relief from the sun in a area near the back of the shed.

We will remove the poppies after they finish flowering, so the kids don't miss them. Are candy chime bulbs too loud too, or are they OK because they resemble grass?

    Bookmark   October 31, 2004 at 8:00PM
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winter_rose(NE Vic Aus z5)

Just another question: would winter and summer buddlieas (incl. yellow w & s) be out of place?

    Bookmark   November 2, 2004 at 11:51PM
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zen_act(ACT Australia)

Winter Rose

There is a good place (Stonehenge) near the Canberra Airport that has awesome array of lanterns - he imports them in from Japan on a regular basis. I have bought lots from there and can recommend their service and also their products. There is also a guy called "Leigh" who can give you Japanese Gardening advice (paid). He is owns a bonsia business -

For Japanese Maple advice the owner of the nursery (Pagoda Tree) is awesome. I have bought my trees from there and the service is great - highly recommended.

There are also a few Japanese gardeners around in Canberra you may wish to contact too - these people can usually be found through the Canberra Bonsia Association.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2005 at 9:11PM
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winter_rose(NE Vic Aus z5)

I am trying to go and have a look at Nara Park in Canberra tomorrow.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2005 at 8:02PM
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winter_rose(NE Vic Aus z5)

I did get to go to Nara Park after the rain stopped. It is small but we enjoyed it and took some photos. The slope and small banks are similar to our garden, so there could be some things we could do too. We could grow juniper on our bank as they have done.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2005 at 7:45PM
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winter_rose(NE Vic Aus z5)

I have some photos of the park in Canberra Australia to share, is it hard to do?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2005 at 10:16PM
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winter_rose(NE Vic Aus z5)

My husband and I have managed to post one photo in gallery and will add some later.

I am very pleased with my sasanqua camellia Paradise sayaka, it is really nice, the buds today are pretty.

We have a tall lantern and have put it at the back of the block and the sharpening stone has been put down.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2005 at 10:55PM
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winter_rose(NE Vic Aus z5)

The standard roses have been moved and look really good in their new home out the front.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2005 at 3:00AM
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