Field Trip: Morikami, Part II


Morikami

When I look at a garden — any garden — I find myself looking at it from two perspectives.

Morikami

The first, of course, is a celebration of the plants and colors and textures and combinations — much like in my previous post on Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, in Delray Beach, Florida.

An example of cloud pruning, in which trees are trained to resemble clouds.

An example of cloud pruning, in which trees are trained to resemble clouds.

The second perspective has me looking at the nuts and bolts — or in the case of Morikami, the bamboo and twine — of gardening. Through careful pruning and the bending and training of branches, gardening at Morikami is as much a tribute to nature as it is to the dedicated hands of the gardeners.

Bamboo is used as a support to train a branch to be more horizontal.

Bamboo is used as a support to train a branch to be more horizontal.

As I strolled along the paths and bonsai pavilion of this sub-tropical Japanese garden, looking at how something was growing rather than what was growing, I had to think of the gardeners’ hands that have worked in this garden since its opening in 1977.

The covered path.

The covered path.

Bamboo poles and twine help to create the arch.

Bamboo poles and twine help to create the arch.

The arch in training.

The arch in training.

One of the many bonsai specimens.

One of the many bonsai specimens.

Bamboo, as you might imagine, plays a large role at Morikami — not only as a plant whose stalks click and clack against one another in the wind, but also as tools to help the gardeners create their visions.

Bamboo plays a big role at Morikami. This is the Shishi Odoshi, or "Deer Chaser." Water pours from the upper bamboo into the lower bamboo, which, when filled with water, swings down and strikes a rock below. The water pours out, and the process starts again.

This is the Shishi Odoshi, or “Deer Chaser.” Water pours from the upper bamboo into the lower bamboo, which, when filled with water, swings down and strikes a rock below. The water pours out, the lower bamboo swings upward, and the process starts again.

Bamboo fencing.

Bamboo fencing.

Using harvested bamboo to support growing bamboo.

Using harvested bamboo to support growing bamboo.

How lovely to be an old bamboo stalk at Morikami, to still be useful and valued.  It reminds me of the Ray Bradbury quote at the start of Part I, an philosophy that we should all leave something behind when we die, such as a painting or a garden.

It seems only fitting, then, that I should close my Morikami field trip with another quote, this one from Sarah Kay, the poet.

“Some people read palms to tell your future, but I read hands to tell your past.  Each scar makes a story worth telling.  Each callused palm, each cracked knuckle is a missed punch or years in a factory.”

The scars on a living bamboo stalk, telling the story of who was here.

The scars on a living bamboo stalk, telling the story of who was here.

They are also indicative of time in a garden — of planting and weeding, pruning and staking, growing and creating.  The gardeners of Morikami — and gardeners everywhere, for that matter — have those stories in their hands.

A Streetcar Named Dracaena


Dracaena fragrans

“Oh, look,” whispered the sweetest of voices on the slightest of breezes each night when I stepped outside. “We have created enchantment here.”

I thought I was alone, but the powdery scent of perfume had me thinking otherwise. The voice was quite feminine, I imagined, and absolutely southern — dripping with refined charm and long, slow vowels.

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Bloomin’ Update 55: Flapjacks For A Sunday Morning


Kalanchoe Flapjacks

There’s something special about Sunday mornings. It’s a time that’s built for reading each section of the newspaper, undertaking the crossword puzzle, and lingering over a breakfast that’s a bit more intricate than an eat-and-run weekday meal.  It’s a moment to pause and breathe.

For today’s Sunday breakfast, I’m serving up some flapjacks.

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