Sunday, April 8, 2018

Spring Delayed

It's the first week of April, but it feels more like February. Spring isn't showing up early as hoped and the weather for the next couple of weeks looks like more of the same - cold and wet (with some snow in between).

In the meantime, I am getting ready for the Woodland Gate doors I was planning. First, I located an image of the style I liked:



 Next, I began making detailed plans and drawings for all the measurements:



I've already purchased the wood, and the one inch diameter bamboo poles I will be using for the face are ordered and should arrive within two weeks. Here it was I hope it looks like when done:



The plan is to use half-lap joints for the main frame. This should hold it together well, however, I am worried about using screws. I don't want to see them on the frame face and finding a short enough length could be an issue after joining the pieces to together with lap joints. I might use staples instead, combined with glue, that might work. I could also drill out holes for dowels - this might be a more authentic way to proceed since it won't require any screws. I will decide after I get all the pieces cut and dry fitted.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Winter Wonderland

We have been receiving a lot of snow this winter. Several storms have each dumped 15 inches in just the last month. This is actually good for the major shrubs - the slow dripping of the melt will ensure that roots are watered and reduce the likelihood of plants drying out. Additionally, we have had some wonderful views of the garden covered in snow.









Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Maintenance Plans

I've started to plan for the spring. This coming season I have a lot of garden maintenance to take care of. 

The bamboo panels in the fence are starting to collapse in places. In some cases they have been up seven years. Being split bamboo, they are held together with very flimsy metal wire. Unprotected, these metal wires are rusting and breaking. Additionally, the panels have been bowing. Along the east end of the garden, they have taken a beating these last two winters from wind. 



It now appears that its time to replace them. However, this time around I will use 3/4 inch diameter bamboo fencing. 



When I designed the fence, I did so in a way that could accommodate larger bamboo or 3/4 inch wooden cedar boards. I still like the idea of bamboo, so I can easily purchase eight 8 foot sections online for about $550, including free shipping. I will start with a single panel and then see how it looks before I purchase the remaining 7 panles.

I am also starting the planning stage of the doors for the Woodland Gate. When I constructed the gate this last summer, I knew I would eventually want to include doors. However, I didn't want heavy doors like I placed elsewhere in the Zen garden.




Instead, I wanted more of a Sukiya style set of doors. I had seen several types over the last year and looked elsewhere on line for examples. Below are some doors I have come across that I like:





Below is a doctored photo of my own gate with the style I liked the best (from the image directly above):


Note: this is a doctored photo

My plan is to build a cedar frame this spring and use 1 inch diameter bamboo poles on the front side of each, ensuring that it continues to offer a more open style even when closed. 

Eventually, when the shrubs grow large enough, the doors and plantings should act as an attractive barrier. 


Note: this is a doctored photo

Given that the wood lot behind the gate is not my property, it should alleviate any fears of my neighbor that I am entering his property, while allowing me to create the appearance of a gateway that also provides a sense of security.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Ten Years After

Trusting the Buddha, good and bad,
I bid farewell
To the departing year.

  - Kobayashi Issa

The garden has its origins with the replacement of an old garage with a new garage. That process started in 2007. Now that the ten year anniversary has arrived, I decided to put together a video showing the transition:



I've also included some images showing how the project has expanded beyond the Zen garden over the years:


Zen Garden - Songni Yuan

East Gate Stroll Garden

West Entrance

Dragon's Spine

Woodland Gate

Monday, January 1, 2018

A Gate for all Seasons

Passing through the winter, there hasn't been much to do in the garden. The Woodland Gate has been holding up very well. With each change in the seasons, it has taken on a unique appearance.



I am looking forward to adding another image in the spring once the snows melt. I am also hopeful that the next summer will continue to add changes in the appearance when the Tiger Lilies I transplanted along the fence line will once again add some color.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Long Fall

This year the Dwarf Maples are doing great and have produced some wonderful colors that have survived through all of October.






Now its time to cut back some plants, rake leaves, and prepare for the long winter.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Sowing Your Oats

I decided to plant two River Mist Northern Sea Oat Grass plants near the side buttresses of the Woodland Gate. These plants like part sun and should grow to about 3' tall, 2' wide. 




I am planting two of them on a temporary basis. they may have to be moved in the future after the nearby 'Europa Gold' arborvitae (thuja occidentalis) start to grow larger.



In the meantime, these plants will act as filler near the gate.