Posts Tagged ‘Japanese Garden’

A Gathering of Light Tea Ceremony

Join us in participating as a guest of a traditional demonstration in the Way of Tea where you will enjoy a bowl of matcha tea and a sweet.

Sharing in a brief learning opportunity of “heart meditation” to increase understanding and awareness of the pleasure of presence.

Surrounded by a beautiful clear sunlit garden, a gentle summer breeze lets you rewind yourself, and find your core self with a bowl of matcha tea.

Hosted by Fountain of Love and Compassion in the Osmosis Meditation Garden.

Horticultural Garden Tour

Join us in a 1.5 hour-long guided tour of the Osmosis Kyoto-style Meditation Garden conducted by Osmosis founder Michael Stusser and tree pruning expert Michael Alliger.
Receive an in-depth look at the underlying Zen themes built into the rock arrangements and pond layout, as well as information about the planting themes and plant materials.
Tour followed by Cedar Enzyme Footbaths, tea and snacks.
Admission: $25. Book a service for that day and get $20 off any service. Space is limited to 14, make your reservations in advance. 

Horticultural Garden Tour

Join us for a 2.5 hour-long guided tour of the Osmosis Kyoto-style Meditation Garden conducted by Osmosis founder Michael Stusser and tree pruning expert Michael Alliger.

Through a labyrinth of plants, stones, and water, the garden tells an ancient tale of liberation from the everyday concerns of the world. Visitors will be treated to an in-depth look at the underlying Zen themes built into the rock arrangements and pond layout, as well as information about the planting themes and plant materials. The garden has been built over a period of many years and was designed by the preeminent landscape designer, Robert Ketchell, of Britain.

Tour includes Cedar Enzyme Footbaths, tea and snacks.

Admission: $25. Book a service for that day and get $20 off any service. Space is limited to 14, make your reservations in advance. 

Spring Garden Journal 2018

japanese garden master pruner

By Michael Alliger

The clouds, cold and late rains seem to do what they can to stanch the onset of spring yet plums begin blooming on Valentine’s day as usual and cherries to flower by April with a host of magnolias in between. Our California natives join the fray in the form of pink-flowering currant and blue ceanothus. We meet again the urge of the world to become itself and we gardeners see to our preparations: tools are sharpened, irrigation supplies are inventoried, fertilizers applied and the weeding begins!   

Spring Pruning

magnolia at Osmosis

Spring pruning of deciduous trees like dogwood and Japanese maple usually begins around April 15th once the new leaves have come out and hardened up, that is, acclimated to sunand weather. The goal of Japanese garden pruning is to maintain an appropriate size (human scale) while instilling a look of age. This look is often a stylized version of much older trees that have been subjected to their environment’s gifts and trials: rain, snow, wind, heat, and drought. While much control and refinement is done in winter, spring follow up pruning is critical to maintaining this vision. While managing size by cutting back ends is paramount, inner foliage is thinned showing the intricacies of branching and the interplay of light and shadow.

Sheared Plants

pruning at OsmosisSheared plants are a staple in a Japanese style garden and proper shearing is an art. Along with stone, they are a fundamental grounding element bringing stasis amidst change.  While sometimes overlooked, low sheared plants, called tamamono (horizontal oval in shape) can be many. The hard-edged contour is an integral counterpoint to the more natural forms of other trees and shrubs. In Japan, azaleas largely fill this need. Here at Osmosis, for ecological reasons, we use replacements such as escallonia compacta,  dwarf berberis and euonymus microphylla. Once new growth emerges they look shaggy, blurring the crisp edge so important to their function.  Consequently, a round of shearing is necessary in spring addressing some individuals 2 or 3 times as needed.

Of all plants in our garden pines are the one group allowed to look somewhat unruly in spring.  Their new shoots emerge from buds beginning in

pruning at Osmosis

February and elongate into a tubular shape known as candles.  Though there are many approaches to pine pruning, at Osmosis we allow the candles to extend fully until needles unfold from them.  At this time they are removed (cut or snapped off by hand).  This technique controls size while the subsequent summer growth is used to develop foliage density and limited incremental extension.

The balance of plants such as nandina, pieris, flowering quince and juniper are pruned as their new growth arises.  These complementary shrubs are pruned in a more general way to add context and a natural feel to the garden.

Spring work can be busy here at Osmosis as in most gardens but the softening weather and vibrant life bring joy to every day!

Garden Journal

japanese garden master pruner

By Michael Alliger, Master Pruner

Autumn 2017

With the softening of the light and cooling of temperatures comes a time for an out-breath in the garden. Autumn at Osmosis brings a relaxing sigh after the hurried intensity of summer. In the calm expanse of golden light, we look back to what has been: the surprises, accomplishments, and challenges; and we look ahead to the opportunities that winter rains will offer.

Here at Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary in Sonoma County, California, Spring was enlivened by deep and late rains. Trees especially came out with a robust vigor. This was an expectation gratefully rewarded. The surprise was that this vigor did not translate into increased health throughout a very hot summer. Many trees seemed inexplicably weaker as the season progressed. Autumn, therefore, brings welcome relief for the garden as well as the gardeners.

Falling Leaves

Bamboo Falling Leaves

Bamboo’s Falling Leaves

Though plant growth has slowed, the rain of falling leaves keeps gardeners busy raking. Raking of the paths and grounds is expected but benches, lanterns, stones and the plants themselves must be kept as pristine as possible. It’s interesting to observe that broadleaf evergreen trees (such as bays), as well as conifers, are losing countless leaves at this time. Bamboo, an evergreen, is dropping leaves at a surprising rate. For good hygiene and appearance groves must be raked and mulched. Pines, redwoods, and hinokis all display an inner browning of foliage that may drop eventually with winter storms if not cleaned by garden staff.

Lack of Rain

Anticipation of winter may stir in us the realization of how long the garden has gone without rain. Lack of rain combined with extremely low atmospheric humidity makes this the driest time of the year for plants. It’s important that irrigation be regularly monitored for accurate operation and that container plants be watered assiduously sometimes being dunked in large tubs or troughs where possible. Again in anticipation of winter rains the garden is freshly mulched with nutrient rich amendment. When percolated in by rain a mulch of composted humus and manure not only enriches to plant growth but helps keep the soil alive with microbes, insects and all manner of healthful fungi.

Fall Pruning

Fall Pruning of Evergreens

Fall Pruning

Garden pruning in the fall hasn’t the pace of summer yet opportunities for care and improvement abound. In Japanese-inspired gardens like Osmosis, many trees are pruned for human scale. This reduction often stimulates a reaction growth which must be addressed. As this growth slows in summer water sprouts on plum, crabapple and persimmon, for example, can be removed or cut back. On Magnolia, heavy summer growth is also removed in preparation for early winter flowering. In addition, fruit tress such as pear, apple and apricot may be thinned and cut back. At Osmosis, we have a large naturalized apple tree growing along the bank of Salmon Creek which is pruned as an ornamental, not to interfere with a vigorous fruit production.

Evergreens are also pruned at this time. Pines are thinned, shaped and cleaned of old needles. The same can be done with various Chamaecyparis.

Nandina

Nandina

The thinning of bamboo groves not only improves appearance by removing dead, dying, and spindly culms but also can help (along with fertilizing) to increase the size of next year’s shoots for added drama. Similarly, drifts of Nandina may be thinned to display their vertical canes from which they get their common name “sacred bamboo”, though not a true bamboo.

Yes, in gardening there is the Zen moment of NOW, but we are also keeping an eye on what has been and what will be. Winter will bring an ideal opportunity for planting and transplanting. Autumn is the time to be looking ahead to the possibility of these, often dramatic, adjustments.

Learn More about pruning Nandina in the following video! Get ready to be inspired!