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Thinning out the pine needles

Posted by Herb Victoria, B.C. (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 8, 05 at 3:19

Work in progress yesterday morning at the Nitobe Memorial Garden.

Image link: Thinning out the pine needles (59 k)

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Thinning out the pine needles

----, nice shot of the back of Junji's head... do you have any photo's with Junji's fingers actually in the pine?
-however (for others), please note on the topic of pine pruning that the airyness of the interior is decidedly different from Georges' (in the UK) white pine, in which, his lower branches are beginning to die out, since the upper clusters are too thick from continual pinching rather than cutting for air and light + staggering the timing of the thirds to bring the energetic growth back to the bottom dying limbs.
(George, I presume you know this already, and so felt free to use your site as an educational example, thks -e)

-somewhere I recollect belatedly that Geralds question about the writeup of the Nitobe garden was asked yet I did not respond to it, reading the thread rather late (sorry gerald)... it was prepared by the Foggs - Friends of the garden taken from their extensive research.
Any thoughts on the writeup Herb?

I hope you asked Junji a lot of questions... he being quite possibly the most knowledgeable Japanese gardener in Canada.

RE: Thinning out the pine needles

  • Posted by Herb Victoria, B.C. (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 9, 05 at 14:02


No, I didn't get any closer to Junji, nor did I ask him any questions. I was tempted to, but he was concentrating so hard on his task that I felt I'd be intruding. I did think of asking him about the upper path, but by the time I got back from re-tracing it, he'd finished & had left. But just seeing him working - and seeing the results - made me wonder if my own 3ft high Tanyosho Pine would be suited to a similar sort of thinning out.

I don't think I've read the Foggs write-up of the Nitobe garden, nor do I recall Gerald's question, but I'd very much like to read it. I assume it isn't the write up in the Davidsonia Magazine, back in 1970?


RE: Thinning out the pine needles

  • Posted by Herb Victoria, B.C. (My Page) on
    Tue, Sep 13, 05 at 11:30


I've now discovered these sources - I take it that they are the ones you were referring to -

They appear to have been carefully researched. It was especially interesting to read about the Physical Archive. I shall make an appointment to examine the materials the next time I go to Vancouver.


RE: Thinning out the pine needles

ah yes, Herb, those are the ones.
It is intriguing and even quite annoying how simple research has an added twist to it, to in the end produce the FoG writeup. I can see where they melded 2 beliefs and came up with a Shinto Stroll garden, rather than acknowledging the overlay of the two, which is a closer pattern of recognition when viewing the garden.
is that a UK thingee? that goes along with making necessary nicknames or something like that??

Perhaps I am responding to the lack of depth to the 'simple' research, and then the weaving of the writeup.

I'd be most curious to know if you think the Kasuga lantern has a dog or a deer on it. My examination showed a deer, which is ridden, etc. then the Mount, and lotus.

Most annoying the lack of mention of the considerable contribution of the Vancouver Japanese Gardeners Assoc., Roy Sumi and so on.

RE: Thinning out the pine needles

  • Posted by Herb Victoria, B.C. (My Page) on
    Tue, Sep 13, 05 at 20:42

Edzard -

I'm a bit mystified - under the general heading - "Nitobe Memorial Garden", the Fogs said, of the garden - "It is considered to be the one of the most authentic Japanese Tea and Stroll Gardens in North America."

Later, in a different part, under the heading "Religion and Spirituality" they said - "...the Nitobe Memorial Garden was conceived by Professor Mori as primarily a garden in the Shinto tradition.......The Nitobe Memorial Garden contains an overt reference to Shinto tradition in the 33 steps on the path after the Nitobe lantern. These appear to represent the period of 30-33 days after the birth of a child at which celebration is made at a Shinto Shrine."

Unless I've missed something else that they wrote, they did not use the expression "Shinto Stroll Garden" & I find it very difficult to read the Fogs as saying either that there is such a thing, or that Professor Mori had made a "Shinto Stroll Garden".

As I read it, they were pretty well saying the same as you - that it is a case of the one being being overlaid over the other.

As to the Fog's commentary in general, I was a bit disappointed that the Fogs made no mention of this statement in the Davidsonia magazine in 1970 -

"That the gardens of Tokyo, rather than the ancient temple gardens of Kyoto, served as the principle source of inspiration to Professor Mori is obvious from the extensive areas of lawn in the garden. All the slopes leading up from the lake were seeded. The principle grass used was Merion Bluegrass, thought to be similar in texture to Zoysia which is used in Tokyo, but not suitable for Vamcouver conditions. This expanse of lawn helps to give scale to the garden and provides and attractive setting for the Cherries and mounds of Azaleas."

I also wish the Fogs had described the alterations made to the garden over the last 30 odd years. For example, the Davidsonia described the "Nightingale Fence" round the Tea Garden supplied by the Japan-Canada Society in Tokyo. This, like the rocks and trees surrounding the stream crossing on the upper path, seems to have disappeared. They also make no mention of the drastic alterations to one of Professor Mori's tsukubai arrangements in the Tea garden.

I can't comment on your deer v. dog question on the Kasuga lantern - I'm afraid I paid little attention to it. I'll try to remember to take a closer look at the lantern the next time I'm there.


RE: Thinning out the pine needles

Ah i see, Herb,..
the write-up is found and handed out to people coming into the garden as a 2 page flyer, unless, since you did not recieve one, they have discontinued the practise.
this flyer is handed back in when people leave.
It carries much the same information as the UBC writeup, excepting that it has been strung together in a way that 'reads' completely different, and very romantically couched mystical wordage.
(which in an odd way is valid, as many people walk through and say, hm, nice space, to bad it didn't have a xyz in it... it goes over most peoples recognition levels being so simple, and not catering to what 'all people expect' of a Japanese garden.
eg: Kasuga lantern has never, that I have read or heard, been termed a gender, or masculine, except by long extropolation if one were to ascribe masculinity from the guy riding the deer, which makes it the Kasuga lantern, --googling Kasuga Cult.

the Yukimi is the same, it has never had references that they ascribe, except by romantic extropolation, in which we would 'really have to want' to believe something extra-ordinary.

the 33 steps are figurative and only noticed if you were counting or, many people just feel a 'comfort' in the distance, which, in many ways is all it should be...

They have been very selective in thier writeups, using or omiting whatever seems suitable, and considering their contributuion, have been turned a blind eye to, which will never get it cleaned up, considering the proclivity to avoid confrontation or 'difference' of opinion.

Also that, their knowledge is good, very good, for where they are at, and pushing them to another level, as I often do on this board, may not be a suitable solution. Meaning, some people are best to just be left with the knowledge they wish to have. They are not there asking for information, rather they feel they are the dispensers of knowledge, made right by their efforts for the garden ( i assume/presume here, so may stand corrected)

RE: Thinning out the pine needles

  • Posted by botann z8 SEof Seattle (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 4, 08 at 7:54

I have seen shortening the needles as well as thinning on the same trees. It has the effect of making the garden look more 'high altitude'.

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