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Japanese trees in Shimane

by Bruce Tate (in the weeds)

Trees along the lake. One of hundreds.
« 1 of 6 »

In my first stroll through Shimane, I first noticed the trees. The Japanese are truly tree whisperers.

It's hard to describe what the Japanese can do with their trees. At every opportunity, they bend trees to their will, coaxing the most amazing shapes from the simplest of trees. I saw the first row of simple trees along the side of a lake in Matsue and almost walked right into traffic. I thought these trees were special.


Later, I found the same techniques applied just about wherever there was a tree in a public place. We took a boat tour around the Matsue castle. If you've ever seen the boats in the James Bond movie Live and Let Die, you get the idea.

Sdc10635.detailEven trees over the watercourses were gently guided with a support here, a cut or a rope there.


But these were just warm ups to the trees I saw in the gardens around the Adachi museum of art. The garden is planned for all seasons. In the autumn, the maples provide a splash of red, always strategically placed in gentle groups, that contrast nicely with the green of the trees and the white of the sand. When any tree is too large, it is moved to another home, sometimes even outside the garden. The small trees seem to be in perfect proportion.

Sdc10683.detailSdc10671.detailOccasionally, larger trees provide a depth of field, gently masking what is beyond, but allowing just enough of a window to glimpse the mystery beyond.

Sdc10690.detailOf all of the gardening I saw in Japan, the trees will stay with me the most.


trees, japan, zen gardens


The Japanese are fantastic gardeners. I think my favourite tree is the bonsai, for it's small size and yet incredible resemblance to a huge regular tree.
polbishop commented on 04/12/16
Amazing shots!! Isn't it amazing how perfectly manicured it all is? Such an amazing country, especially from a gardening perspective! Thanks for sharing!
chief cultivator commented on 09/09/09
Those photos are great - I love seeing the gardens!
gardengirl commented on 09/09/09