Book Review / Kyoto Gardens

Gardening is so much more than just a pleasant weekend activity. Historically the roots of landscaping were attached to the nobles of a land, used to express their personal wealth and style to the masses. Estates were displays meant to mirror the beauty and tranquility of nature.


Many of Japan’s landscape techniques were imported from China, with adaptation to suit the Japanese environment and climate. Starting with winding streams bringing natural flora closer to buildings and transformation of landscape architecture over many centuries, many of these original gardens have become some of the country’s most beautiful displays of garden art.

“Kyoto Gardens” written by Judith Clancy with photography by Ben Simmons takes you on a very informative tour of the gardens of Kyoto. Each garden is described historically, aesthetically and culturally. Beautiful photos of each garden walk you through the visual artistry of each landscape. You may not take a trip to these gardens, but you get a good sense of their extraordinary as you progress through the book.

Western gardeners often copy ideas from Japanese landscape to bring a little of the serenity, artistry and spirituality into their own gardens. Never to be duplicated as terrain and climate are very different, but through adaptations of plant material a similar style can be achieved. Understanding the why of the Japanese landscape helps us to create the style and through all the photos we can get an idea of the direction to take in our own settings.

A great read on the subject, this book can be read in sections as time permits. Each garden is a story unto to itself. After reading this book I can see many ideas that could be implemented into my own garden. Perhaps a Zen garden is in my near future!

My sister has an amazing Japanese style garden and here are a couple of photos to show you what can be done. I’m hoping to create something that is as pleasing as her garden.


Red Maple with Sensible Gardening

( This is a sponsored post for which I received a sample product as compensation to review and write this post. The opinions given are my own )