Karesansui teien

I have been planning for some time to do a series of posts inspired by Japanese influence.  I hope you’ll enjoy these posts, with interesting facts, fun projects, and even a couple of giveaways later this month.  These posts will be sprinkled around  other post subjects over the next month or so, with gardens, sewing projects, a quilt design, recipes and more, all inspired by Japanese culture.  Today we’ll go back to Cheekwood Gardens in Nashville for a visit to the lovely Japanese garden there.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

Japanese gardens have some common elements, one being the art of building anticipation as you walk toward the garden.  This is achieved by creating curves in the path, or an elevation change to hide the destination and build up expectation.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

Karesansui teien is the Japanese phrase for depicting a pond with sand or gravel.  A glimpse of the dry pond is seen from the path.  Building anticipation with just a partial view is called miegakure.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

The path curves again, and over a small rise in elevation, another glimpse of the garden yet to come.  The stone object on the left is placed in the tradition of catching your attention with a jinriki, a man made object, as a means to mark a place to stop and observe.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

This was the first marker that gave an overview of what was to come.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

In the Japanese garden, only a few man-made objects are placed, and only to draw attention to a view or a feature.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

This lantern draws attention to the entrance to the pavilion.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

The marker describes the Shõmu-en style garden, meant to be viewed from only one place.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

Notice the play of light and shadow, that will change as the day advances.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

A pattern of ‘ripples’ is raked into the gravel around the stones called aranami-mon with straight line patterns in a checkerboard called ichimatsu-mon.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

It is a quiet, contemplative place.  Note the stone wall on the right outside the pavilion, meant to hide the garden from view from the pathway.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

Visiting in a colder month, some of the deciduous trees had lost their leaves, and the beauty of their forms could be appreciated.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

One last look at the garden, with the stones along the edge.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

Leaving the pavilion, a bamboo grove lines the pathway.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

Carefully placed stepping stones define the path.  An Oribe Lantern is a stone lantern placed in the garden to mark a place to stop and observe.  The stone lanterns are named for a 16th century warlord and tea ceremony master responsible for designing stone lanterns for gardens.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

Japanese gardens are designed to make the observer slow down, contemplate the surroundings, calm the mind.  To appreciate the beauty of simple things, see each element on its own  and as a part of the whole.  I think it is this more than anything that draws me to this style, appreciating the little things, observing the beauty all around us.  Konnichiwa! (good day!)

At home, it is the ideal time for planting seed beds now, and I got busy on that project this week too.  The red amaryllis doesn’t look like it will bloom this year, so I may repot it when the weather gets warmer.  The hyacinth bulb gave me a small flower spike, in my favorite white.  It had such a lovely fragrance.  Other than that, not much going on in my garden yet.

Do you enjoy Japanese gardens?

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home



Take Me Away!

19 thoughts on “Karesansui teien

  1. Ann P

    Beautiful! I am so looking forward to your posts on Japanese culture. Our son and his family just moved from Chicago to Japan for 4-5 years. I need to learn all about it. Thank you.

  2. Shirley

    Thank you for sharing your pictures. I visited Cheekwood Gardens several years ago and have always wanted to return, and I did today through your pictures:)

  3. Jennifer Rauch

    Well you’ve done it again! I thought I’d breeze thru your photos, really didn’t have much interest in a Japanese garden, tho I’ve seen my fair share here in the states. But. . . I was captivated at the first photo! Didn’t think a winter look would be so interesting, but I went thru those pictures twice already! Glad I gave it a try!

  4. somethingrosemade14

    I really love your post today and learned a lot about Japanese Gardens. I’ve been to several but now want to visit one soon in Spring. You write the very best posts.

  5. I love to go to the Japanese garden we have at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. It is so beautiful ♥ The whole place is and I can spend and entire day there. Their Iris display in the Spring is breath taking. Thanks for sharing your visit with us.

  6. Deborah Meyer

    Very beautiful. I’m sending this post to my friend, who is Japanese, and I’m sure she will enjoy it as well. Thank you, Carole.

  7. Sue Munn

    Beautiful! If you ever have the chance, visit the Frederick Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It’s a huge place, with a museum, very large sculpture garden, and several special gardens. Their Japanese garden is spectacular…..we spent a couple of hours just in that area. We went to Grand Rapids for the AQS show in August…good excuse to visit the area!

  8. sharon schipper

    So serene and beautiful. I loved the gardens in Japan, but mostly in monuments and parks. Private homes had very few opportunities in the city because of the lack of yard space, but often every sq inch was filled with pots and plants… Our friends had a large garden in the back filled with bonsai and a (NOW!) hundred year old wisteria over their pergola that was so beautiful, they had a special party beginning of May for its full bloom. And the gravel water art: such a subtle art and requiring such agility and balance to do the gravel raking without messing another part of your work. Inspiring. Oh, and the National Arboretum in Washington DC had a Japanese garden in the 80’s, with 300 year old bonsai on loan from Japan. I wonder if it’s still there? they had a large koi pond and typical Japanese plantings, the arboretum is a haven of quiet in the midst of DC.

  9. Brenda Ackerman

    Hello Carole; I enjoyed every part of your post today! I have no memory of visiting a Japanese Garden before. So reading and seeing the pictures you have shared was an amazing treat. I do hope that I get to have the pleasure of visiting a Japanese Garden in person one day, because you have shared in such a way that it makes me want more. I therefore am really looking forward to your future posts on Japanese Culture! Have a splendid day Carole!

  10. What a pretty garden. I enjoy the pond that is not a pond! Such a treat to look at these photos one such a miserable day of sleet and rain. I have nothing new growing. I need to wait for more light before I can start propagating and repotting some of my succulents. Have a good one!

  11. Rosemaryflower

    Carole, these photos are beautiful
    This does look like a nice garden to walk around. I love the gravel pattern. I suppose 2.5 year olds are prohibited from the area hahaha
    That is rather an interesting fact that these adorable concrete lanterns are named after a Warlord/tea ceremony master. Just wow, …. I think.

  12. Rita C.

    This is absolutely wonderful, Carole. I love gardening, and the Japanese concept of gardening is quite spiritual. Thank you for sharing this.

  13. I always love a good garden tour and this place looks beautiful! I wonder how hard it is to keep people (kids) from touching that gravel area. I think I would be tempted myself! I always love seeing the wonderful places you find. Thanks for linking up to Take Me Away this month! Enjoy your weekend!

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