|SJG - rock peninsula|
I was finally able to attend one of the educational meetings set up by the guides for the guides. It was about differences between Japanese and Western gardens. The presenter, Barbara Engram, projected onto the wall pictures of both types of gardens asking us to note how various elements - gates, walls, color, size of the plants, their trimming and overall sense of balance - are used in a quite different manner.
And indeed they are: gates and walls in Japanese garden are often part of the design, sometimes as freestanding architectural structures or blended with their surroundings, while western gardens use them mainly for utilitarian purposes of entry and bordering the garden off. Vibrant colors of flowers in Western garden is never a goal in the Japanese one: shades of green + seasonal changes found in nature is all that usually happens there. The balance of the Japanese garden is achieved through asymmetrical approach, where the focal point is never in the center of the garden, while most Western gardeners tend to go for quite symmetrical balance with a central focus point.
As for trimming and training practices: imagine a peacock topiary by the pond, and then imagine a pine with branches trained to look like clouds by the rose garden... Oh, well, the English and the Japanese gardeners must have swapped their lives for a week or so.
Moonviewing is coming up this Saturday in SJG - to me one of the most enchanting events to participate in. One of our guides, Joan, is a dancer who will be performing with her troupe that evening, when I asked her for short description this is what she wrote:
A performance by Kogut Butoh will include a rogue samurai and coy geisha wandering through the Garden (7-7:45 pm). Later in the evening (8:30-9 pm), Kogut Butoh will perform an ethereal dance inspired by ukiyo-e images.
A rogue samurai and coy geisha! Now I know what has been missing all those years in the SJG; I hope we can keep them for good...