Today is the last day of repairs on Kumamoto En in San Antonio, Tx. Is this a good looking fence or what?
Here is a link that might be useful:
you missed a knot.....
Very nice, Don
I guess it's easy to miss a knot when you're having fun..
Don, this is exactly the fence I was looking for to put on a concrete retaining wall. What about to build it with "roof". I don't know if it is the correct word, but I'm sure that you know what I mean.
What knot? Oh well, it was worth Jack's photo if I did!
Andrea, because this fence is well supported with 4 x 4 posts, I don't see why it couldn't support a roof of - say - 2 x 2 with 1/2 " boards covered with cedar shake, but I wouldn't want to try supporting tiles. A covering like that would also help it last longer as long as there was postive drainage on both sides. This particular fence has a base of cobble to keep it from direct ground contact.
My web hit its limit. As soon as I transfer to another host, I will post more pictures of the restored Kumamoto En and other fences there.
I wish in my mind the bottom section or two running lengthwise were of different material pattern to that of the earthen hills at same hieght .
Maybe the bottom one third of fence.
Purely for posterity sake.
But helps my mind ease into the landscape below ratherthan seeing a Fence so Tall with Vertical segments juxtaposed to that of the hills hieghts.
AwesomeFence. I like . : )
Don -- The second panel from the left, and the third oshibuchi from the top, appears to be missing it's fourth knot (in the far corner) as far as I can tell :)
I don't like you any more, Jack. It was surely noticed by all Kumamoto guests at the dedication : (
Rcky, as soon as the new web site propagates, I will post a fence with a base I think you will like.
Yes, but those guests were probably too well-mannered, Don --
and not like us - pick!.. pick!.. pick! :)
anyway.. a static image is a lot easier to scrutinize.. I wouldn't worry too much -- it's a very handsome fence..
Thanks, Don. I meant the roof for my fence, definitely something light. I mentioned this fence we plan to build in another posting but without a picture ( Bamboo fence above concrete wall) The very talented Hiro Kamoshita will make it for us. I hope that I can post pictures for that time. It is a very difficult location, to cover an other fence on the top of a high concrete retaining wall, we will see the fence from below.
Boy, someone has some sharp eyes, picking out that missing knot!
I've done a few roofed fences. This one is one of the simplest ..
That first fence I put little triangles of wood on that top rail then covered them with 1x8 redwood, with a 2x2 for the ridge.
Most of the ones I do now are like this ..
where I build little trusses, and cover those with bevel siding boards ..
Joe, those are really nice. Where do you get the roof boards?
Andrea & Rcky, here is a photo of a fence perched on a stone base. Andrea, if leaves can get between the wall and fence, leave a way for them to be cleaned out.
Those all look like very good quality work - very nice.
I notice though that the roof in the first picture is much steeper than the roof on the other pictures & I think the shallower version looks better.
The curved arch roof is especially interesting . I don't recall seeing one like it before - is it maybe a Korean or a Chinese style?
thanks again for the pictures, gorgeous fences!
Yes, very nice work, Joe -- I like your clever use of the beveled siding boards to create the shingle profile..
Don -- Now that's quite a substantial Takeho fence
Herb, that inverted-curve roof was designed by a noted Japanese Landacspe Architect here in San Diego, so I assume it's a traditional style. I have seen other ones sort of like it.
That bevel siding can be bought at most Real lumber yards (not Home Cheapo).
Here's a few pictures of Kumamoto En's fences I took a few weeks ago on vacation. Unfortunately there was a professional photo shoot with lissome models being draped all over going on there while I was trying to take pictures,so I didn't take as many pictures as I'd like.
Thank you for the beautiful examples fella's does anyone mind if I download (steal) these pictures if for no other reason than to study where that knot is missing from?
INK, no problem on my pics if they are for private study. If you use them elsewhere for education, no charge but need permission. That is why I am here.
DavisSue, I am happy you visited the Kumamoto En, but sad you cannot see today's improvements. All fences have been replaced and Azumaya is renewed! Here is a teaser photo:
Here is a link that might be useful:
Don, do you have any pics, or a link where I can see that azumaya?
Your Island teaser photo is definitely a teaser. Whoever laid out the pond & rocks was certainly trying very hard to make something that looked Japanese. Maybe he should try again.....
You're right Herb. Just because the man who designed it is world famous, nominated as a Living Treasure by the Emperor, just because the man who built it is revered in Kyoto, the 17 generation of family of professional gardeners, just because the construction team was chosen from the best companies in Kumamoto, Kyoto, and Tokyo, just because the rocks were hand picked in California, the rest of the stone features and buildings and fences were from Japan, doesn't mean it is Japanese does it?
No, not in my eyes. I can't help it but I don't like it. Who was he?
Don, it is gorgeous. Can you give more information about it?
Thanx for sharing Don.
I have ascertained who designed the pond - apparently it was somebody called Kyoshi Yasui, whose family owned a construction company, and who built some temples.
It's in San Antonio, and there are some more pictures of the garden and pond at Robert Cheetham's site - http://www.jgarden.org/gardens.asp?TAB=photos&ID=378
It took me a while to get around that garden Don but boy was it worth it. In a way the speed of downloading the photograph is in tune with the garden itself. Another one for my collection.
Just because a guy is famous doesn't mean that everything he touches turns to gold. After all, Kurosawa made a few lemons, didn't he?
No one was suggesting that it does pat, please try to keep up.
So far as I can discover, Kiyoshi Yasui (assuming he is the man Don was referring to) - was director of the architectural firm, Yasuimoku Komuten Company Ltd.; he is also described as 14th generation architect to the Imperial Dynasty and as being prominent in Japan as an architect.
It appears that he designed the Azumaya in the Kumamoto-en Garden in San Antonio to replicate the Azumaya in the Katsura Palace garden in Kyoto. I expect that the Azumaya is a most excellent example of that kind of structure.
However, I can find nothing to indicate that Kiyoshi Yasui was ever declared to be a Living National Treasure. There are some meagre references to some people suggesting that he should be nominated, but if there really were any such suggestions (rather than some imaginative sales promotions) it would seem it must have been on account of his architectural skills in designing Buddhist Temples, and have little to do with gardening.
Whoever had the bigger hand in designing the pond - whether it was Kiyoshi Yasui or 26th generation gardener, Mr. Katsuoki Karahara - I stick to my opinion that when it came to rock selection and placement for the purposes of pond construction, he was, as you might say, out of his depth.
Boy, I went and looked for pics of either of those azumayas and only found one. Can anyone point me towards any more?
I would be interested to know what specifically is the problem with the rocks and their placement around the pond Herb. Without knowing more than what the photograph tells me the choice looks fine to me but I may stand to learn something.
There's a pond and rocks (at Katsura) shown here - http://www.pbase.com/image/42733952 - compare that pond & those rocks with the pond and rocks in the picture Don posted.
Joe - the only 3 I've found of the Azumaya at San Antonio are at these addresses -
There is a picture of what I assume is the original Katsura Azumaya here, though a good deal of it's obscured by shrubs -
So, how should the rocks be placed around the pond, Herb?
It's not just that the rocks are poorly arranged. They're not good rocks. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, so there's no point in trying. I'm sure the pond appeals to tourists.
How then could they be better arranged and what about them is "poor", the shape the colour. You don't say. Can you explain a bit more clearly?
The rocks look like a bunch of big white dumplings. It would help to sink them deeper in the ground and gradually mix in some darker, more angular rocks.
Yup, dem rocks shure don't look like the ones round here.....
have you been to San Antonio? or San Diego ?
-are you a stone installer that has used this type of stone and understand the problems with using it?
all, Some of the questions I feel one should be asking before ever judging a garden:
-- what is the purpose of this Japanese garden, What is the garden to do for people? Is this doing/use, something that is open to personal dislike or like? Or does it fall to a communities perception?
Have the Japanese been singular or community minded? (apology for observing, some of you will understand the apology)
Should it be changed on the like/dislike basis??
If it is disliked, then what would 'you' do, to enable the garden to be likeable?
--and is the like/dislike a bias based on where you live, what you prefer, or where the garden is located???
--if the trees are not mature yet, then how can one judge the stone installation?
-- Is the stone setting lacking what foliage, coloration, - what aging, what sense -- and... would that arrive later given the right circumstances + what are those circumstances? (What may the designers taste have been?)
-- if there is no local availability of stone, and stone is trucked in, should it be stone that fits the region?
--or someone's favourite kind of stone from a region incongruous (dark angular) to the location of the installation? Would local people of SA understand local stone or stone never seen in the region?
-- what if: the stone was installed by volunteers? Is the designer to blame for 'incorrectness', and is it worth making volunteers feel unappreciated, in comparison to what foliage will do in the long run anyway.
by example: for those of you with moss in abundance, add the darker coloration that moss brings to stone, add lush humid surroundings, hanging, spreading tree branches filled with moisture,
for those of you that grow junipers in abundance with groundcovers that spread across stonework, hiding the cracks ...
--then does it not make sense to look at the elevations, movements, stature of the stonework, rather than to look at the bases?
(Japanese gardens are observed top down, not bottom up)
Given age, the garden as exceptionally graceful with a deeply restful sense of shibui. Save judgement for when it is aged.
I wonder, was/is our character better as teenagers or as adults?
If it will help any of you understand, I could attempt an improvement using Photoshop (though some hillbilly may jeer at 'pretty pictures'). I have only a few pictures of rocks, so it limits the scope for suggesting an actual alternative layout.
However, I don't want to try it unless Don, who has the copyright in the original picture, says it's OK to do it.
Edzard, As always, you see the crux of the situation. If it did not get airlifted from a courtyard in Kyoto, then it must not be "Japanese".
Herb, I would LOVE to see what sort of 2D interpretation you come up with....it being obvious that you have never been to the Southwest nor are you familiar with the Author's Intent. (plus all that other stuff that Edzard said that went in one of your ears and out the other)
And.. calling me a "hillbilly", besides it being socio, econo, and (gasp) racially incorrect pretty much sums up your thought process. Devoid of any tangible data, you work backwards through the equation until you get the answer you want. Sorry to burst your illusion but I can send you a picture if you need one. A pretty picture.
BTW, it is OK not to like something. If it does not fit your USDA zone 8 coastal maritime view of what a Japanese Garden should be and you are not willing to expands on the basis tenets of what makes a Japanese Garden tick, well then I see your point. Some of us here actually try to study this stuff, determine the "whats" and "whys" rather than subscribe to the "how can I make it out of hypertufa and quickly grow moss on it facsimile school"
So...don't let me hold you up....you have the floor.... photoshop away... my Ka-mon dates pre Meiji. I want to see you try "very hard to make something that looked Japanese" . I elegantly strum my banjo with my bachi and await....
Easy Michael, easy boy. Call it paranoia but I thought I was Herbs' "Hillbilly" not you. But I think you have it right when you talk about most of us being interested in " what makes a Japanese Garden tick" and it was worth waiting to see if Herb could explain a bit more so that we could learn. Surely to say "I can't help it but I don't like it" is insufficient even for us hillbillies.
Don's photo was not technically perfect, nor does it matter as it served it's purpose but if anyone cares to download it to Photoshop and correct the exposure a different picture emerges. Don's photo wipes out the detail in the rocks and some of the colouration, the water seems to have bleached the lower part of the rocks too. Incidentally the rocks were not placed in ideal conditions by ideal means. Comparing the weathering of these rocks with others in place since before Marie Antoinette had her head chopped off is ridiculous.
However, if we stand to learn from another view it would be interesting to read what that is.
Thank you edzard.
By all means - but not without Don's go-ahead, so that you can see the two pictures side by side.
You're right. Perhaps we can learn from Herb and his photo-shopping skills.
strum, strum strum..........
If you like I can send you what I've concocted. Then you can decide whether I should post them.
perhaps as an exercise which many readers may identify with is in placing different plant materials in different places, and growing to what degree, and then pruning to what degree.
this more closely resembles what the designer faces when he comes back to a site and the stones are already set in the gunite.
The rewards of learning what plant material does is relative to most people.
The stone is set,.. and I doubt there is little budget to change what is, therefore, -deal with it, like a designer... rather than trying to outthink the designer.
- the aside here, is that early gardens, 'special places', had stones already placed by nature, and the only thing left to deal with was the vegetation, which actually 'made' the garden. First in cutting and fighting nature off, then in cultivating what you wanted... (Niwa-sono + jichinsai)
Therefore: what plant material to use? what to do with it (technique = shape) when it has grown?
Sue has kindly sent me several pictures of the Kumamoto-en Garden in San Antonio.
The include views not just of the pond, but of the rest of the garden. The garden makes extensive use of rounded boulders. These, if well-placed, can look good - and this is evident from Sue's photos.
But in the case of the island in the pond, I think they look downright poor. Keithnotrichard described them as looking like big white dumplings. I agree. I thought of them as a row of marshmallows piled round a cake. It looks like something hastily cobbled up for a tourist park - and I don't mean Disneyland, where they do things better than that. I suppose that gullible people might be persuaded by banjo-strumming, 'expert' tourist guides that it represents the local landscape and culture.
Anyway, here is Sue's picture of the pond's island (one much more flattering to the pond & island than was Don's picture) along with three alternatives that try to give some ideas of the sort of things I'd personally prefer.
It would be interesting to see ideas from other people, including those who consider the pond is already just fine - with, in the case of the latter, their reasons.
your versions have changed the Intent, through
1) changing the direction (reversing) of the face of the island, (which has created too many changed subtexts to mention in one posting)
2) brought the 'far over there' plane into the 'over there' plane, as in nearer to the viewer, as well as in the process, changed the figurative location of the Isles.
Not to mention that the three similiarly sized stone look like teeth, rather than a cliff and headlands of a location. (softer up and down solution, rather than staccato repetition solution)
I would need to mention that the 'what you are seeing' has not been understood prior to expressing/suggesting a 'taste preference', while judging the stonework 'poor', prior to understanding it.
as mentioned, the stonework is well done, representing the location of the foreground, place in the 'unfolding' of the stroll garden (stages of travel) --I would suggest again, that the foliage needs development/refurbishment and the focus should be accepting 'what is' and changing what can be changed, the foliage. This would reflect the foliage of Kumamoto, which is what the intention of the illustration should be, reenforcing the inferred location.
without an understanding of Kumamoto, any changes are ego (preference) centric rather than site / garden centric. I doubt I can express this any simpler, except to say that relevant study would be found in Tadahiko Higuchi's writings on the opacity of the Japanese landscape, combining scale and the angle of visual incidence creating a specific emotional result when engaging human optics under certain climatic conditions.
in short, you missed the point of this area in the garden.
Judging especially by the picture that Don posted, the island in the middle of the San Antonio J. Garden pond looks as though it was constructed by first emptying a cement truck's load and then circling the result with sort of low wall made from small boulders, all much the same size. Maybe the two rather ugly little pines at one end are supposed to be 'balanced' by the ugly pointed rock at the other end.
The circular rock with what look like a couple of arms protruding from underneath - or maybe it's not rock but concrete - sitting in the water at the near end of the island looks like either a Hollywood minimalist toilet seat or an old spare wheel cover, or, even one of those quick-cook stove-top gadgets. Some people seem to have the urge to adapt their Japanese garden to their own, local culture, so perhaps that particular rock reflects the impulse to symbolize a social driving force of that part of the world.
The rocks round the edges of the pond as shown in Dons picture - especially the biggest one on the left - seem to be just perched on the ground, waiting for the earth to erode round them so that they can roll down into the pond.
Granted, a pigÂs ear may make a serviceable purse of some sort, but no amount of fancy-sounding analysis can make anybody believe that itÂs made of silk. It may even be possible - for some people - to "understand" the pigÂs sty and to analyse & itÂs supposed artistic merits. But that doesn't turn the pig-sty into a palace. The idea is simply comic.
So, for that matter, is the bit about "the opacity of the local landscape, combining scale and the angle of visual incidence creating a specific emotional result when engaging human optics". It brought to mind Wordsworth -
"I wandered lonely as a cloud,
That floats on high oÂer vales and hills,
When all at once the local landscape and angle of visual incidence created a specific emotional result when engaging human optics,
For there were all these daffodilsÂ."
chuckling, oh, yee of little imagination and even lesser insight..
There is no balancing intended at all. Balance has nothing to do with the issue. The island is balanced to somewhere else in the garden, not even in the picture... It's a Stroll garden,... dah. Balance is unrelated,.. However the Gion Festival relates.
the island represents a turtle, and turtles have similarily sized 'plate' (rocks) patterns on their carapices, which is echoed in the black pine bark...
! good g-d, you've absorbed pitifully little over the years.
There is sadly, not even enough information you use to even have a conversation about it.
Have you ever read any books about Japanese gardens, or hopefully even Higuchi, in which case you would understand the reference... ?
Herb, you lack fundamental information, contextual rational understanding, and cultural awareness that precludes any indepth comprehensive conversation of or about the Japanese garden.
An apt description is, 'a person too deficient in mind to be capable of rational conduct', Oxford,.. in the Japanese garden conversation you choose to remain an idiot.
what a waste of a fine wit, but, please, - continue to have fun with that...
What I find most annoying about all this is the trivializing of peoples good intentions, I have no idea at all what Herbs intention is, it can not be malice surely can it. Don's intention was plain enough, yet Herb does seem intent on reducing what could be a useful exercise to a game of words that serves no purpose other than to prove what an idiot he is. I agree with edzard that this is indeed a waste of talent. In the end we all lose because the tone of the forum changes as a result of this nonsene and those who post stand to be ridiculed for a reason that escapes me.
Go for it Herb! I think your efforts are admirable.
By the way, you don't need to "understand" marshmallows to realize that they don't belong in Japanese gardens.
Who says rocks can't be changed?
And what's with the "You've absorbed pitifully little over the years" bit? Pretty bold words from a guy who apparently can't recognize a marshmallow when he sees one!
chortle... 'aaahhh tell ya, aah say, I tell ya...'
I'm reminded of a Walt Disney cartoon character that I don't quite remember, too long ago, was it Chickenhawk that ran after the big Rooster (Foghorn?), puffing his chest, swinging his little fists, blustering, " kin I hit um, huh, huh, kin I hit'um, just lemme at'im..." and seeing his own shadow ...
ah well, doesn't matter, though the mental image was worth it, thanks...
I was wondering who would first rush in to play Sancho Panza to Edzard's Don Quixote - and it's turned out to be Inky.
A windmill is still a windmill and a poor piece of garden design is still a poor piece of garden design. The truth is that the pond and island are laughably second-rate. The convoluted, pretentious nonsense being written in an attempt to loftily argue otherwise is so hilarious that it's worthy of inclusion in Private Eye's Pseuds Corner.
edzard, I agree, what a waste....
What was first a poor criticism ("..whoever laid out the pond & rocks was certainly trying very hard to make something that looked Japanese") became a full scale war with all the dirty name calling and bad mouthing; to justify the first mistake.
What triggered all this hostility and attack? The peace and understanding in a beautiful Japanese Garden?
Sancho Panza and Don Quixote? Who is the Mad Hatter? Quess...
Ah and I swore to myself I would abstain from all this tedium.
No surprise to me who played Sancho.
Fact - disagree with Edzard and hell hath no fury.
Fact - Herb crossed that line long ago
Fact - some people think that sycophantic alignment with verbose, overly opinionated yet knowledgeable folk is a safe bet to be taken seriously themselves (to save you asking the question Tony yes that is you)
Fact - (re the last post) Once again it was NOT Herb who started the "full scale war with all the dirty name calling and bad mouthing "
Edzard, I have long thought you to be an intelligent man yet once again you show your ignorance and lack of intelligence by your readiness to insult others. The real 'person too deficient in mind to be capable of rational conduct' is the one who brands another an idiot for having a different opinion.
Fact - definitely taken the oath this time - total abstinance, so you can save your insults and name calling - got better things to do.
I always enjoy reading what Herb has to say. His comments are usually helpful, backed by good intentions and common sense.
And now we move far away from any useful intercourse in our rush to claim on which side of the divide we stand. Do we think constructive criticism has any value or is it enough to say "I don't like it" and gather around us supporters for a different cause? In this rush some have forgotten any sense of decency seeking to alienate those seen as belonging to a different camp. For instance:-
"Fact - some people think that sycophantic alignment with verbose, overly opinionated yet knowledgeable folk is a safe bet to be taken seriously themselves (to save you asking the question Tony yes that is you)"
Can there ever have been a more spiteful comment than that? Note 'comment' like a placard that deems itself self explanatory but has no substance.
Guys, what the f*** are we talking about here that we are prepared to go to war for?
It may well be that this forum is held in the balance between the two main protagonists or the two poles, if you like. In the blue corner we have the Japanese Garden as a universal as something definitive that can be measured as a success or failure according to the size or shape of the rocks within it or some other arbitrary set of things. And in the red corner there is something else that seeks for the essence of the magic.
All this when all that has to be done is to raise the water level several centemetres and color (muddy) the water to eliminate the reflection.
The thread at the bottom is from archives, about turtles, when people still had names...
in which the important thing to remember would be that the Kumamoto en is a Period garden, in which the 3 Ilses are something that can not be removed from the scenery, without changing the purpose of the garden. In changing the stone, if the original concept of the stonework is not kept, then the garden would also suffer. If the stone was changed, to maintain the concept of the garden, then more stone of the new type would need to be added throughout the garden.
Whereas any stone can be changed, I doubt the budget would be allowed for. Therefore the thought is so unrealistic that it precludes photoshop trials.
-therefore to indicate 'let us change public gardens' in which concepts important to specific communities are changed in even a trial concept, or that stone be changed, or that the garden be viewed as a small single scene garden is not advisable. There are far too many misconceptions that might result in similar outcomes as at the Portland gardens.
Indeed, as Gerald succinctly points out, the simpler option would be to raise the waterlevel, and again, by example this would fall to engineering, rather than the designer. Budget may not be there, mentioning that even gardens such as the Kurimoto in Devon & the San Diego garden, have been suffering from a lower than designed waterlevel, and to this day, have still not been changed.
A solution to the garden to bring it to its optimal potential would still be needed, which for the above reasons, excludes changing the stonework. However, as mentioned the foliage may be what little can be adjusted based on all constraints (budget, design, Intent), and as Graham sadly, as a Curator should appreciate the larger picture, chooses rather to assume, that 'my' points can not be argued with, whereas, please, debate/argue with me - if you have not the background,
-yet, if someone is in a position, or has knowledge of the ramifications of changing perceptions in public gardens, I have very little patience nor do I feel a great need to practise patience.
One would think that we would choose to work together than to work in opposite directions.
I would have to surmise that Herb feels he is qualified to alter the concept of a public garden, even though he has been made aware of these meanings within the garden, and seems to believe that leaving the 3 Isles is not even necessary in the design. And as the following thread illustrates, Herb knows the meanings and implications yet chooses to be curmudgeony and incomprehensive. Or one needs to surmise he did not understand what he read.
Simultaneously, I would have to ask Graham what his thoughts would be if his Tatton Park garden were altered in the same way, and whether the exercise is a valid thought, concepts that will be remembered by a visiting public.
One would think that as the Curator, that he would understand the ramifications of suggesting change, when certain aspects of change, should not be entertained, because the resultant education would misdirect the general public about his and other public period gardens that were built to represent specific thoughts.
--One of those public may be on the Board of Directors in the future; suggest a mockup of a garden be accepted, without understanding the importance in the garden.
And just because they decided they did not like it and feeling they could do better, panned for public support, received it, and in the end result the Curator/gardener, now gets to develop a non-functioning garden. But, into what? There is no what anymore, it was removed.
Then, 50 years later, after several designer Directors, the decision is made to return the garden to its original Intent, but the garden has changed so much, it is unrecognizable and the guesswork starts.
Now what? .. well, we're already in that position in N. America.
Comparatively, a method of developing a garden can be put together, and then, if the plant material does not work with the stone and its elevation, then 'consider' changing the stone.
an old adage, 'do not change anything until you have understood why it is the way it is, If you understand the why's and still disagree, then begin to consider what the ideal change would be'...
----- and this can not be done until the foliage is mature. edzard
Return to the Japanese Gardens Forum : Post a Follow-Up
[ o ] Turtles in Japanese Gardens
Posted by Rhonda Allison - Queensland Australia (email@example.com) on
Thu, Jan 11, 01 at 22:25
I have heard that turtles are very significent in Japanese
gardens. can anyone please tell the origin of why turtles are
Thanks - Rhonda
[ o ] RE: Turtles in Japanese Gardens
* Posted by: Anthony Uno - SD, CA Zone 11 (firstname.lastname@example.org) on
Thu, Jan 11, 01 at 23:59
There is a saying in Japanese: "Tsuru wa sen nen, kame wa man
nen". Literally, 'Cranes live a thousand years, turtles live
ten-thousand years.' Thus, turtles symbolize longevity. As to any
significance in Japanese gardens, no idea. You might do some
research into Feng Shui, to learn of any origins.
* Posted by: Wayne Attwood - UK-9 (email@example.com) on Fri, Jan
12, 01 at 9:19
Turtles are usualy displayed with Cranes, and represents the highs
and lows of the human spirit. Cranes being the heights that the
spirit can sore and turtles being the depths the spirit can drop.
They can be represented in abstract ways, for example, as a
specific arangement of small Islands within a lake or pond (known
as 'Turtle and Crane' Islands! I forget the Japanese phrase.)
* Posted by: Herb - Victoria, B.C. (firstname.lastname@example.org) on Fri, Jan 12,
01 at 12:19
I suspect that any significance attached to turtles in Japanese
gardens stems from Buddhism. I don't know about monasteries in
Japan, but several Buddhist monasteries in Hong Kong have places
where they have lots of little turtles swimming about.
* Posted by: Art Mullen - 7A (email@example.com) on Fri, Jan 12, 01 at
The turtle myth stems from the Tao legend of the five islands of
the immortals; Hourai being the one most represented in gardens.
In the story, the five islands floated on the eastern sea and were
said to be inhabited by an immortal people (the 'sennin' - Chinese
'tsien-jen'). One day, some of the inhabitants got tired of the
constant movement of the islands on the sea, so they complained to
the Son of Heaven, who directed the dispatch of 15 turtles to
stabilize the islands. Everyone was happy until one day, a giant
strode forth and collected six of the turtles for divination (by
roasting the shells and interpreting the cracks). The two islands
that lost their turtles were themselves lost, leaving only the
three. The turtle represents stability and long-life (10,000
years) and is often represented in the garden by 'kamejima'
(turtle island), an arrangement of stones depicting a turtle,
often with a pine tree (another symbol of long life) planted in
its center. The crane, the favored mode of transportation of the
sennin, represents good fortune and long life (1000 years) and is
represented by a stone arrangement termed 'tsurujima' (crane
island), with upright stones depictive of wings.
* Posted by: koiman - 30030 (firstname.lastname@example.org) on Mon, Jan 29, 01 at
A rock or placement of several rocks to suggest the shape of a
turtle communicates the idea of immortality. I understand that it
derives from Chinese Emperor Wu of Han (156-87 B.C.) who sought to
entice the Immortals to his own estates by recreating three spirit
mountains where the Immortals resided but which were inaccessable
to man. One of the "mountains" was the Never Aging Rock and set
below it is a low-lying turtle shaped rock called the Rock of Ten
Thousand Eons. As Art points out, the significance of the turtle
is that the Isles of the Immortals were said to be borne on the
backs of giant turtles.
I was impressed with photographs of the Turtle Island in Tiger
Gorge Garden in Nishi Honganji, Kyoto and am in the process of
developing a faint imitation in my gardens. There are images of
the Tiger Gorge turtle island in "Secret Teachings in the Art of
Japanese Gardens, Design Principles, Aesthetic Values" by David
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Interesting... If you throw enough words at it you can turn marshmallows into turtles. Pray tell what fairytales await us next week!
Just got back from a business trip. Been here before more than a few times. Ill advised and uneducated criticism leads to name calling and out of it all, if you blank out all of the noise, some information can be gleaned.
"Maybe the two rather ugly little pines at one end are supposed to be 'balanced' by the ugly pointed rock at the other end." Let's just pretend for a minute that the pointy rock is a "tail". Well, if you incorporate that round stone on the other (the head, then you got a turtle. A turtle pointing to something off frame. It would be neat to know what it was pointing at. Long life and virility pointing to something. What would you put there? The relationship between the head and the tail signify that the turtle is turning. Is it turning to something or turning away from something?
There is very little "balance" in a stroll garden. Your eyes would stop, your head would stop, the feet would stop moving and you would be calling for a tow truck since you can't move. Just as a film director has to keep the plot moving, the garden designer has to keep the audience's eyes moving.
Which "moves" me into my next subject. No one should criticize a picture. My "2D" references are not there unintentially. One CANNOT capture the essence of a stroll garden without being there in all of it's glory. You simply cannot "connect" the dots. Also, I say it again: What was the Author's intent?? You can't got see "Mandagascar" expecting "Pulp Fiction". Well, I guess you could but you will be disappointed......
With all the mimimalizing of effort, trucks dumping haphazardly and toilet seat references, if you ever get a chance to see a garden being built it is a work of art in itself. I love all this talk about moving stones around. For our Canadian friends, a cubic meter of granite weighs about 2700 kg. Granite is felsic so it has a low density (that means in the rock world, it is relatively light). You can photoshop away at how messed up something is, bring in rocks that are geologically incorrect (if you can find them) but at the end of the day, you are going to have to get them in place without them looking like they fell out of a truck. That ain't easy. I've done it just as many others have done here. Keyboard warriors, take a relatively small stone, about 100 KG, move it uphill, in the mud,in 120 F weather, smash your pinky through kevlar gloves, bounce it off your steel toe shoes, roll it over your ankle and do it again when someone tells you it is not "right". (Hiring a bunch of Tongans don't count)
So... I've opened the door...there is a lot of good stuff here.... I mean I see one thing positive.....we all should know what a turtle island looks like and its purpose in a Japanese Garden.......
Leave the big words and passive aggression at home and go visit a garden or see one being made. You will be enlightened.
"It may well be that this forum is held in the balance between the two main protagonists or the two poles, if you like. In the blue corner we have the Japanese Garden as a universal as something definitive that can be measured as a success or failure according to the size or shape of the rocks within it or some other arbitrary set of things. And in the red corner there is something else that seeks for the essence of the magic."
On the other hand it has to be considered whether the real problem is that several who imagine themselves to be in the red corner really belong in the blue corner. They rely so extensively on theory, knowledge, minutiae and claims of experience - and they rate all this so highly - that they fail to recognise that the red corner is really occupied by the very people they look down on. They may claim to be 'seeking the essence of the magic' but too often their quest has more of the character of proclaiming their own imagined superiority, combined with rudeness, disdain, condescension and worse. It is no wonder that a great many people who, like myself, are ordinary gardeners, are reluctant to participate in the forum.
edzard- thank you, it is very interesting what you wrote about the turtle island and the whole posting. A few month back, there was a posting from Mikawa Germany about his garden and a beautiful turtle island, I can't find the picture anymore.
Michael- your attitude and understanding about this issue is exemplary.
bahamababe- your knowledge about Japanese Gardens.... let me put it this way...not long ago you asked this forum if anybody heard about Marc Peter Keane because you didn't!
Herb- you wrote "...great many people who, like myself..are reluctant to participate in this forum."
You must be joking or getting forgetful! Just look at the postings, your name is the most frequent in the postings and in the comments. I used to enjoy it, not anymore. Your latest attitude is unworthy of you.
Wishing Peace and Joy to all of you.
I did not say that I was reluctant to participate in the forum. I said that I was, like many people, an ordinary gardener. And I said that many ordinary gardeners are reluctant to participate in the forum.
I may be just an ordinary gardener, but I see nothing wrong with posting questions, requests for clarification and legitimate comment.
Unfortunately, some soi-disant experts respond by posting sneers, put-downs & insults.
I do not see why anybody should be expected to kowtow to them.
I quoted you, what you wrote!
You are not an ordinary gardener. Az Edzard wrote ".. you are an incredibly inteligent and resourceful man ...with scads of information available to you.."
You are very talented on many fields, you have enormous knowledge not only about Japanese gardening, art, history, but about many other subjects. You are the master of the English language. You've been very helpful, gentle,wise and polite in your comments before.
No, there is nothing wrong with posting questions, request for clarifications and legitimate comment.
I see nothing wrong with having different taste, opinion and make a statment about it. Or have a heated debate with respect toward your opponents.
You quoted me as having said -
"...great many people who, like myself...are reluctant to participate in this forum."
Unfortunately, you left out three crucial words ("are ordinary gardeners") that gave the sentence a different meaning. This makes me believe that you misunderstood the true meaning of the sentence.
What I had written was this -
"It is no wonder that a great many people who, like myself, are ordinary gardeners, are reluctant to participate in the forum."
Those words mean that there are many people who are ordinary gardeners like me - and it is they (not I) who are reluctant to participate.
As you wrote your sentence, the " are ordinary gardeners" what I left out from the quotation, doesn't give that "true" meaning what you try to "explain" to me now. The punctuation as and where you put it, doesn't make it that clear. The correct sentence, as you explain it now , should have contain the "they" or separate yourself from that group.
Looks like you missed the meaning of my comment.
I don't see any point in arguing the toss over it: if that's what it meant to you, then we shall have to agree to disagree on the point!
I certainly got the meaning of your other comments, though I have to insist that in my own estimation I remain a quite ordinary gardener.
Here's another set of rocks if anybody wants to get his teeth into it....
somewhere up above edzard posted some japanese fairytales about turtles. shortly after that nachodaddy made his comment about "uneducated criticism." here's my question: who are those "uneducated" people that nachodaddy mentions - the people who believe the fairytales? or the people who don't believe the fairytales?
To iamkatiehackett and bahamababe (both members of the "Fabulous Five and counting"):
Do I infer correctly that you do not believe "turtle islands" are legitimate features of Japanese gardens? I would just like to clarify that that is your position before I present evidence (non-fairytale evidence, of course) of their legitimacy.
If I had shared a picture of my garden (as Don did) and it met with snide sarcasm and rude criticisms --- I would certainly not dream of sharing more. So much for encouraging people to participate in the forum.
As for the substance of the criticism of Don's garden, the much-maligned island is clearly a turtle island, and turtle islands look like turtle islands. If you don't care for turtle islands, then please feel free to say so, but please don't criticize them for failing to look naturalistic. If you think turtle and crane islands look stilted or if you don't care for the symbolism --- then you are free to build your Japanese garden without them.
And Don, thank you for sharing your beautiful garden photos.
I doubt anybody has anything against turtle islands as such. If people want them that's fine.
But it seems to me that some turtle islands must be more pleasing to the eye than others - would you not agree?
If some people enjoy thinking of them as some sort of symbol, that's fine too.
But when it happens that some people aren't interested in the symbolism, or dislike a particular example of a turtle island, it does not justify calling them uneducated or ignorant. Personal abuse of that sort should be out of place in this forum. That sort of thing merely invites response in kind.
Herb --- I certainly agree there is great variation in turtle islands. Whether we like a particular example or not is a matter of personal taste.
I think you set the tone for the name calling with your extremely snide comment about how the garden designer was trying very hard to make something that looked Japanese. If you want people to stop being rude maybe it could start with one side apologizing for their part in it.
It's not a question of "some people thinking of [turtle islands] as some sort of symbol" --- turtle islands are created intentionally as symbols. If you mean that the garden can be enjoyed just as well (or more) without knowing it's supposed to be a turtle island, I agree with you completely.
I'm glad we can agree on some things.
But I don't understand why you think my comment that the garden designer was "trying very hard to make something that looked Japanese" was snide. I was praising his effort while saying that it didn't appeal to me. It was in fact quite complimentary. I think only somebody very thin-skinned could take offence at it. If you want examples of very snide indeed, Edzard's postings are littered with them. They invite vigorous response.
However, I'll try not to use "hillbilly' as a riposte against Michael if you'll stop using expressions like "members of the magnificent seven".
herb, i don't think you are snide or rude. i usually like your comments.
for all you fairytale lovers out there, please consider this: the fact that some people tell fairytales does not make those fairytales true. santa claus is a fairytale. many people talk about santa claus. his image is posted all over the place. and some small minds (bless their hearts) believe in santa claus. despite all this "proof," santa claus is still a fairytale.
You still don't get it.... Let's recap. You criticize someone's work, someone who does this for a living. You get called to the carpet, you get AMPLE time to reconsider your actions and you post a freakin' Frankenstein of a garden. You either missed the fact there was a turtle island or chose to ignore it. Whatever the case, you broke that garden, plain and simple. You support your actions with colorful superlatives, further disrespecting the original Author (complimentary.... are you bipolar??? read what you wrote). Then you and your various other screen names get all hurt when your patch job does not past muster. Yeah, I'm calling you out. After review of the other messes you gotten yourself into, the "others" respond way too predictably. Not too hard to prove if you want to crank this conversation up...........
I just can't figure out which Herb is going to show any more. As we all navigate through this forest of knowledge there is this one guy who stays on this really skinny path, never stepping off. Making sure that his subscription doesn't run out less the path disappears.
Everyone else is picking their way carefully through the forest, asking for directions, sharing knowledge, a drink of water here and there and then out of the mist this other guy shows up, leaping naked from rock to rock yelling "there is no culture, there is no tradition, there are no guidelines" blasting turtles along the way and constructing lanterns out of paper mache.
Same guy, two different guys??? No, there is nothing "ordinary" about you. You like stirring the pot, you like playing devil's advocate, you like to talk smack about other people's lifework. I can think of a lot of words that describe your attitude and "ordinary" is not one of them.
Rudeness, disdain, condescending attitude??? You opened your mouth first. Now you are trying to garner sympathy because various people took turns bouncing a 2X4 off of it. You got it backwards, people don't post here with information to share not because of everyone else, but because of you. What professional in their right mind would post anything useful just to see a hack like yourself rip it apart and paint it with vulgarities.
You are the antithesis of everyone who is searching for knowledge.
Take your failure like a man and move on or if you (the collective "you") prefer, we can continue this conversation. I have more to share..........
To all you nonbelievers, lumps of coal in your stocking.
I, on the other hand, think that people need to be more skeptical of much of the nonsense that's posted. As in this case -
Click here to see
hmm, let me see, could have used wabi-sabi, could have used yugen, a dozen other terms, but no, you chose my company's name,... hmmm. relevant or not relevant?? Well, I could take it as relevant or perhaps as not relevant, like the other little snippets you dish out... so basically, like the other snippets I'll ignore it.
it truly shows how little you understand, as something completely Italian, in Italy, can have fuzei, which underlines, quite ably, that you are simply,..... an,... ordinary gardener.
Or was that a distinct 'I may be just an ordinary gardener'... indeed, "you may or you may not be"... it is amazing how quickly you change your definitions and given a few days claim to know more about Japanese garden nonsense than the Japanese people and -historians, researchers and professional gardeners combined.
All that as an ordinary gardener!!
how would you know what is nonsense or not? And being an ordinary gardener, you are so amazingly able that you are able to rewrite, not only Wordsworth (attrb'd, with my words) but also rewrite history to suit your (witty) expressions?
truly, you are indeed a man of a stature that changes history.
And curiously, I have yet to find anywhere, where you have explained yourself in detail, with history or research, excepting that which you find on the internet..
this bit came to mind...:
"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices."
(hmmm, author eludes me at the moment, and I thank them for the passages use)
I do have to finally admit, in absolute amused defeat that, like many others before me, that it is not possible to have a conversation with you.
Good luck with your view of the world....
or we could take a look at your yard... or your HCP garden, that has the same nonsense in it, and,.. you've posted it numerous times,.. on your site, with your great admiration I might add,.. back to that calling the kettle black thingee... and the monkeys butt.
While,... some people, are actually trying very hard to ensure you do not embarrass yourself, and are tactfully trying to point out your own gaffs... dah, who's crazy here??,.. answer: me, and,.. why am I trying to be nice to you?? obviously, I am the greater idiot, incapable of learning repeated lessons of great simplicity, while foolishly finding historical references and ways to cover your ass... so.. not anymore.
and thanks, you have ably shown that I have better things to do like watching all those daffodils emerge over the horizon. So what was the name of the original Wordsworth poem?? or was that your original remark to which I responded 'snidely', etc.,?
hmmm, do you know why mirrors and mirror images are so important in the Japanese garden???
Edzard and Michael,
Thank you both for so forcefully reinforcing most of my points.
Fortunately, for serious amateur gardeners, the Journal of Japanese Gardening is a great deal more useful than the vacuous ramblings we see so much of here.
I win!!!! The over/under was 87 posts when Herb was going to put on his clothes and run home to mama. I am surprised he held off that long.
"serious amateur gardener", Honestly, Sybil stopped at 16.....
I am reminded of a quote from "Ghostbusters". Anyone want to take a crack at it????
Educated people read (most of them).They read about history, art, religion, geography, science, nature, etc. They read about philosophy, politics, sports, folktales, mystery and romance. They read about what is important in our heritage, what stories people tell to their children about their family, their nation, their country. What is important to them from the past, how they can understand each other and communicate. How our ancestors lived, why they searched for a new home and how they found it? Why are we speechless as we watch the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean clash at Cape Reinga, and believe, yes, the departed souls jumped and surfed from here to their ancestors' land. How can we understand the symbols of the Greek Legends, the First Nation People or the Ashanti Kings? We read science fiction, research for better life, we read Harry Potter, Stephen King and Isaac Asimov. Educated people read.
iamkatiehackett, what do you do?
" ...Mommy, Peter started it! He hit back!..."
"bahamababe" and "iamkatiehackett" --- you have not answered my question about your view of turtle islands.
Hi Herb. I like your style. You're often the only one around here that makes much sense. Those rocks DO look like marshmallows! And those turtle stories ARE fairytales! And your photoshop rock efforts are a good learning tool, too. (but I think those rocks you painted are too big)
I was very amused by the guy who wrote, "Herb, then you went and posted a freakin' Frankenstein of a garden." Now, THAT'S effective English! I applaud the spice and passion in that guy's sentence, even if I think his anger is misdirected.
Yes, I agree that 'Frankenstein of a garden" was quite a vivid piece of abuse - and quite apt, especially for the first picture. As I mentioned before I posted either of the first two pictures, my collection of rock pictures is limited, and limited what I could use. The second picture could be improved too, as you say.
What does surprise me though, is the failure of the folk who claim to know all about symbolism, to recognise the symbolism in my third picture - the one of the chimps discussing whether they liked the supposedly Japanese makeover of their pen.
That brings me back to the quote for which Inky once tried to berate me, claiming that my quoting it was an attack on Edzard. It was a reply given by a designer of really good Japanese Gardens (Shinichiro Abe) when somebody asked him about the 'meaning' of a garden he'd built - I think it was the one at Amherst College. He laughed & said something like - "People can put any meaning they like on it. It isn't for the designer to say".
I understand then that you are now elevated to 'serious amateur gardener'??
"People can put any meaning they like on it. It isn't for the designer to say".
Herb, Abe is absolutely right, and this shows again that you do not understand a gardener or the garden, and if you did understand, then it proves conclusively you use the statement to suit your devices,.. because as previously mentioned, and you never seem to remember,
--if one did explain a garden then the teller takes away the freedom of seeing and understanding the garden in their own way... we've mentioned this in numerous posts for years. So, no, it is not for the designer to tell everybody because it spoils the garden.***
what you miss completely is that the Journal and Abe are speaking about current modern gardens, whereas the Journal does not give any insights into Period (historic) gardens, nor is that their focus, their gardening starting effectively in the 1600's, so yes, it is the best source available for 'todays' amateur gardener, I and many concurr completely that the technical side is great and the writing is getting better.
and having mentioned Period gardens, in which historic mythology is already built in, needing to be referred to to bespeak a people, therefore it can not be removed.
Which also points out that you are not versed in designing 'reference points' let alone 'symbols' in a picture. Since you enclosed your 'fuzei'd monkeys with bamboo of quasi Japanese pattern it reads as being in a tsubo garden, with a western plant, a basin bespeaking restaurants, rather than a cage with the monkeys referring to the web readers. Poor form Herb, poor form.
-And the setting bespoke the 8 mountain mandala, which in modern form is the tsukubai purification area that was reduced from 8 pine to 3 to 'what you want' planting.
what this last exchange clearly shows is that again, (even when Andrea has kindly explained to you..) your lack of research of what may mean what is seriously lacking, as well,missing the point that if a reference is not strong enough...
***- then the designer is at fault...
not the reader of the scene... thats the point of the shin, gyo, so garden type's exampled in J. Conders book -- that the more refined someone is able to see, the less is needed to carry a complete thought.
you've shown again, its all about you, 'me and minime-centric'.. 'I like-I don't like' --you look at individual scenes, instead of having an intro, a middle and an out, looking at all of them to gain your reference points.. making decisions only on what you see, rather than asking for what you do not see... you 'think you know' when you simply don't.
go back to novice beginner class, so that you can learn to ask questions of how people see, rather than thinking that they all see the same as you...
-they don't. Best not to ass-u-me, that they do. Because others may have gotten a different message, each to their own sensitivity.
which is why, Japanese gardens are an ideal means for the DIY'er to express themselves... and endlessly variable and endlessly changing as taste becomes more refined.
I'm a newbie to this forum but an oldie in others. I come here to learn a bit.
As an outsider I see the problem as simply as this:
Herb is a pragmatist who is a little too blunt for his own good.
Edzard is a learned man, very experienced, but so full of himself as to bore a room to death.
The fight is not over boulder placement (as both aknowledge they are set too high) but that both men hate eachother and their approach to gardening and interpersonal relationships.
This thread sure has gone far afield of the original "fences" subject.
And you Jerry, how would you describe yourself, or would you like me to do it for you? As I don't know you I only have what you have written above to go on but I am sure I can come up with something equally constructive as what you say there.
Thank you for the warm welcome. I'm sure that, if you wish, you can come up with something very witty, but don't put yourself out on my account.
Honestly, you guys, you all have so much knowledge in here, why does there have to be these insults and arguements? Surely there is room for disagreement or different ideas without resorting to coldness and rudeness.
I would describe myself as a generalist. A little landscaper, a little designer and a little nurseryman thrown together into a handsome frame with a sterling character. And a little smart ass thrown in.
Lighten up and enjoy gardening, don't make it unpleasant.
from what you have written so far you sound like a well balanced fellow to me. Your last sentence speaking volumes about yourself.
Thank you for your posting. I don't post much in the forum anymore because of all the disrespect shown to those who do. I am sorry your wonderful and interesting post could not have been shown more respect. There really has not been much education or worthy discusion in this forum for some time. I hope 2006 brings some real education about Japanese Gardening. In the mean time I am going to go back and reread some of the earlier posts. There is a wealth of knowlege to be gleamed from them.
Again thank you for posting, many of us out there want more knowlege and a little respect for those who share that knowledge.
One more thought on trying to get this forum back on track. Maybe those who are trying to rile things up and love to cause trouble should simply not get any response when posting insults. If we keep the original post on track and ignore those who want to turn every posting into a free for all it might be more interesting. I don't think any of us are enjoying what is going on at the moment.
Happy New Year.
A question on fences:
I see most pics here show fences tied with black twine or rope. What is the life expectancy of this? What material is the rope? I have seen and heard of using copper wire instead. It ages gracefully and gets that wonderful patina, but is it authentic Japanese technique?
Sheeesh I thought I clicked on the wrong forum. Usually don't see anything anywhere near this juvenile on Gardenweb. How sad.
May ya'll enjoy your righteous indignation, 'cause I don't. Bye.
I feel certain that any garden -- regardless of the imperfection of its knots, rocks and pedigree -- must be more serene than the noisy place from which these conversations emanate. Quiet down. Enjoy the garden you're in, or find another one that suits you. Your mind and attitude can be changed, just like the placement of plants, rocks, paths and water features. Quiet down. Smile. Breathe.
That's a beautiful fence and very much like one I want to build in the spring. I'm a total novice at this. I've got the book Building Bamboo Fences which has detailed instructions. Any suggestions on how to learn what I'm doing over the winter? Where would I find folks in the Washington DC area who know how to do this?
Thanks -- gurujeet