Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens

Morikami celebrates the connection between Japan and South Florida.  Little did I know that in the early 1900s, Japanese farmers arrived in southern Florida and formed an agricultural colony called Yamato, an ancient name for Japan. Most of those farmers returned to Japan but one of the remaining settlers George Sukeji Morikami donated his land to Palm Beach County as a park to preserve the memory of the Yamato Colony.

The garden consists of 16 acres of authentic Japanese gardens and art exhibits.  There is even an authentic tea house and don’t miss Hotei, their resident god of happiness.

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This remains the only museum dedicated to Japanese living culture and the gardens are among the finest outside of Japan. So let’s begin our walking tour:

As you exit the main building you are immediately in front of the Wisdom Ring (Chie no Wa) which is a replica of a 500 year old stone lantern, a symbol of Delray Beach’s  sister city in Japan.

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Wisdom Ring

Next up cross the Memorial Bridge marking the entrance to the gardens and symbolizing the link between Japan and Florida.

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Memorial Bridge

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Follow the path to the Shinden Garden which recreates the 9th – 12th century Heian Period that featured lakes and islands and emphasized informality always with an appreciation of nature and often meant to be viewed from the water.

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The “Ancient Gate” (Kodai-mon) was inspired by the large mansions of samurai leaders from 1600 – 1868. Walking through this area of the garden you pass through a Bamboo Grove and the lovely sound of the bamboo stalks knocking against each other as the breeze blows.  It was a lovely, musical sound and I am sorry I didn’t do a video for you to hear the clinking of the stalks.

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Ancient Gate
Morikami Bamboo Grove
Bamboo Grove

The Paradise Garden or Buddhist heaven was meant for casual exploration.

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Paradise Garden

I need one of these!  The Shishi Odoshi or “Deer Chaser” is a swinging bamboo arm that collects water and then strikes a rock basin below and startles the animals who shouldn’t be there!!!!! I am definitely creating one of these in my garden!

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Deer Chaser

The Karesansui, Late Rock Garden which means dry landscape consists of rocks not plants and features a bed of raked gravel.

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Continue on through the Modern Romantic Garden as inspired by the late 19th – 20th century gardens with its very naturalistic setting which leads you to the Contemplation Pavilion. No real view to speak of from here but every twist and turn of the path through this garden affords some incredible views.

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The South Gate is the exit from the historical gardens in contrast with the Ancient Gate.

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Yamato Island is the site of the original Morikami Museum and the island represents a modern garden emphasizing the relationship between interior and exterior spaces.  The Bonsai Collection of trees are housed here.  A unique collection of Bonsai for sure!

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The tour ends at the Morikami Falls a dramatic and powerful waterfall set among massive boulders signaling the end of your journey thru the garden or maybe you are ready to take another walk around so see what you might have missed the first time!!!

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These six gardens are inspired by the famous gardens of Japan and encourage you to find peace in the environment and within one’s self. So if even just for a little while leave the outside world behind and just be one with nature.  Visit a garden today!!!

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Garden Ornaments and its finally time to get out in the Garden!

Art in the Garden is certainly not a new idea.  It provides a practical purpose as a place for the eye to rest or be drawn to. It can be artsy, a container, a sculpture, a spiritual figure, an arbor, water feature or any type of vessel.  It provides structural definition and architecture to the garden.  It creates geometry.

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Hummingbird birdbath

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This can also be accomplished with clipped shapes or allee’s which emphasize the geometry of your garden.  In these instances maybe boxwoods or trees create the geometry and symmetry.

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Clipped boxwoods, Vessel, Tulips

Merge your art into your planting beds.  Your plants should be the frosting on the cake!

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Water fountain among the Daisies and bee balm
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Fun garden art in among the peonies
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Nepeta with Statuary among the flowers
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Water fountain

I spent today pruning shrubs, cleaning up leaves, removing the thick layer of mulch I put down around my roses and tender perennials.  Finally I think we may have turned the corner and I took off the burlap coats that I bundled some of my newly transplanted roses and hydrangeas in last fall. I think the Boxwood that I have now transplanted 3 times made it thru as did my new Oakleaf Hydrangeas.

Use garden supports to create winter interest and structure.

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Be whimsical

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Always when planning your garden start with the structure of the property!  In reality 20% – 50% of your garden should be evergreen and shrubs.  Remember we talked a few weeks ago about planting for winter interest.  We need to think of our gardens as a year round canvas.  A low maintenance garden might include 40% evergreens, 35% deciduous shrubs and 25% perennials, ground covers and bulbs. Try planting in masses of 9 -50 for broad sweeps of color, texture and pattern.

The goal is to create layers of interest throughout the year. Vertical elements will frame the garden views. Pay attention to the view from your windows.  Where do you most often see your garden from inside.  Create focal points around these axis points when creating major elements of your landscape, patios and walls.

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Out the kitchen window

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Pay attention to the traffic flow throughout the garden. Of course, you must remember sun and shade and check your Zone when selecting plants. Create different rooms in your garden so there is always something just around the corner and consider a separation of public and private space.  There should be a reason to continue to meander through. Collect pictures that speak to you style, feelings and the light in your space.  Dream as big as possible then evaluate your site. If you have an amazing view try to frame it, almost like a photograph!

If you are starting from scratch, I recommend a qualified garden designer.  Like any renovation the job is always bigger than we anticipate and a knowledgeable professional can guide you thru the pitfalls.  Remember that plants take time to mature. I usually tell people it takes 3 years for perennials to start to reach their full potential.  If a plant is really struggling maybe try it in a different spot.  Is it getting the correct amount of light and water.

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Hydrangea ‘Pink Diamond’ on left with Loosestrife

 

Remember that every property has its assets and limitations created by sun and shade, soil and water.  There are always plants that will thrive in each condition.  Match the plants to the site and include ornamentals.  Instead of all your containers being on the porch move them out into the flower garden where you can add some height and dimension.  Plants requiring special needs can find a home here.  Don’t forget to mix vegetables into your flower beds.  No one says vegetables all need to be in a separate bed!  I mix my herbs, especially  sage, oregano, rosemary and chives into my beds. Last year I experimented with Kale and loved it!  The dark green leaves were an awesome contrast to the surrounding plants and help hide some struggling shrubs that I transplanted, yet again!

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Artichokes

Pay attention to the labels.  We are all guilty of going to the garden center and falling in love with this and that only to realize we have brought home something that will not work in our landscape.  Full sun means sun for the greater part of the day, typically 6 hours or more.  Daylilies for example.  Shade can be a little challenging.  We see full shade, part shade, dappled shade, light shade, so confusing right!  Full shade really means full shade for the entire day.  Plants that need full shade often get scorched when sunlight fades them out. When considering part shade morning sun is always preferable as it is not as strong.  Avoid afternoon sun when possible. Light shade means 2-3 hours of shade during the hottest part of the day. There are literally many, many plants for any given situation. Just like with painting, preparation is key.  If you take the time to properly prepare your garden beds you will find success.

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Try to get out and visit public gardens to see what combinations they have on display. Note how the plant is growing.  Is it in shade, sun, water, very moist conditions. Remember that foliage is truly important as no perennials or shrub blooms all year. Plan your garden with a succession of bloom by selecting plants that bloom at different times of the season and then sit back and enjoy the show!

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