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Do it like Japanese do

Japan, oh how I miss you! I love to go through the photos we took from our trip to Japan in November 2015. They calm and amaze me every time. And there’s always something new to spot and get inspired. And I know I’ve already done a lot of Japan-related posts here but there’s still more to share.

In this post I’ll be focusing on the gardening techniques of Japanese. Because they are genious! And they use natural materials and ways to care gardens. That is something I really appreciate and I think everyone should. Someday, when I have my own garden to tend to, I will definitely use all of these techniques.



The first time we entered a Japanese garden in Tokyo we noticed these weird straw mats wrapped around trees. It seemed totally odd until we saw this little sign that explained it all: Komo Maki.

So how does it works? Well, first of all, remember it was November when we visited Japan and these gardens. The weather was turning cold and that’s when harmful insects at the branches of the tree start to go down to the warmer ground for winter. When you place the straw mat wrapped around the tree trunk, it’s a perfect natural way to catch these insects. The trick is that you two ropes around the mat: tie the upper one loosely and the lower one tightly. When the insects start to crawl down, the straw mat seems a warm place them to stay and the tight rope unable them to go further down. After winter, when the weather starts to warm again, you detach the mat and burn it with the insects. It doesn’t get any more natural.




This was so cool! And so weird for us novice Westerners to see. Again, this is something you only see in Japan in the winter months. Because the purpose of the tree bondaging is to prevent the beautifully cut and old tree branches to break under the weight of snow. Yukitsuri literally means “snow suspension”. And we were so lucky to see how the skilled workmen put the straw ropes up and tie the tree with them.





This was again a state of art kind of technique. Japanese love to cut the plants and maneuver the growth of the plants with different support systems. But why not if the result is always so beautiful. The craftsmanship in the different support structures is amazing! And because they always (and I mean always: you will never see plastic supporting structures anywhere) use natural materials, they blend nicely with the plants.




This is so Japanese and you see this everywhere! So unnatural in the world of plants but so natural in Japan.



I loved the fences in Japan! Just look how beautiful and organic they look! Everything was made with natural materials (do not dare to use plastic!). So many different ways and looks. Fence heaven!




In Japanese garden, there’s always a water element somewhere. Usually it’s in a darker corner, a bit hidden place. The sound of dripping water makes you so calm and relaxed. And it doesn’t have to be a big element. A tiny pool of water with a bamboo tube will do.




These were definitely one of my favorite findings if we’re talking about techniques and ways to design your garden. Normally the most boring things, like drainage covers or downspouts, are so beautiful in Japan. The way they guide the rainfall down to the ground from the rooftops with bell-like little bucket “ropes” is amazing! And who would ever want to look a metal storm drain anymore when you can make a bamboo cover for it??? Not me.




Well, at this point, what can I say. Of course the paths in Japan are gorgeous and different. Of course.


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