Thursday, April 9, 2015

Spring Arrives

"It's spring:
to my heart's content
I gaze at the treetops
shrouded in haze
and budding."
Princess Shikishi

Another year, another long cold winter has come and gone. Spring is finally here! 

We had a large amount of snow and some of it has yet to melt. 

However, today was the first day when I could get out into the garden to see how much clean up and repair work will be needed. 

I started by cutting back the dead bamboo shoots on all of the clumping bamboo plants. I was able to get to them this year before the new shoots have emerged, making the cutting much easier. 


The new shoots should begin to sprout in the next couple of weeks. It will take some time for the plants to grow back and fill in - usually mid to late August before the reach full size.

I also had to fix the latch on the back gate. At some point during the winter, the gate doors kept swinging about - they had about an inch of play to move back and forth. I didn't think it would be an issue, but the wind this winter was strong enough to eventually dislodge the latch. Once the snow fell to almost two feet and froze, I couldn't do much about it. I placed my stone turtle on the inside to help keep the gate in place as the snow melted. I eventually decided to replace the latch with a cane bolt. 

It works very well. The doors are now very secure and have no play at all. It also looks nice as well. The bolt will also make it more difficult for unwelcome guests to get in. I probably should have used a cane bolt in the first place.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Montreal Botanical Garden

Over the last weekend I had an opportunity to visit Montreal, Quebec, Canada. I had not been to the city since the late 1980s, so I was looking forward to the visit. While there I had an opportunity to visit the Botanical Garden - it was still cold in Montreal despite it being April. My plan was to visit the greenhouses where it would be warm and comfortable. However, I realized that two of the outdoor garden spaces were dedicated to a Chinese and Japanese garden. It was very cold out, and much snow still remained on the ground. Nevertheless, I took the opportunity to see both gardens in a more wintery state. I was not disappointed.

The Chinese garden, known as Dream Lake Garden, was very large and may be the largest Chinese garden of this type outside of China. The garden was built in 1990 and was constructed with authentic materials shipped from Shanghai and assembled by Chinese craftsmen.

The Springtime Courtyard - Door

The Green Shade Pavilion

The Tower of Condensing Clouds

The Stone Boat

The Friendship Hall

There is much more within this garden to see. I will need to revisit Montreal this summer to see what the garden looks like in full bloom. However, seeing the garden in winter also helped me to see the structure of the garden design and will, I think, enhance my experience with the garden next time I visit.

Click the following link to read more specific facts: Chinese Garden.

The Japanese garden was built in 1988 and is also very large. There are sweeping vistas that are populated with many elements of a traditional Japanese garden - stone lanterns, bridges, a peace bell, and structures of various design and size intended to give visitors a restful place for contemplation. There is also a large pavilion which includes a tea room and several small gardens within - unfortunately, it was closed for the season.

I also liked the small pavilion that overlooked the main lake of the garden. The dimensions were very close to the dimensions of my gazebo in my own garden. I know that at some point I will want to replace my temporary gazebo with a more permanent structure, and this Japanes pavilion seemed to fit the style and size of what I would like to build.

Te view from within was also very nice, even with only a landscape of snow.

The moon window was also a very nice authentic touch.

The timber framing within the roof appeared to be very standard, except for the cross beam for support. I will leave the engineering of such a structure to whomever I hire to build a similar structure - I know my limits.

Again, there is much more to see within this garden. When I revisit Montreal this summer I will be sure to spend some quality time in this garden.

Click the following link to read more specific facts: Japanese Garden.