Monday, March 22, 2010

a skilled and experienced gardener

So this is one of the stories about the trip to Kyoto this past Monday.
There we saw one old man at "Ken-nin-ji" temple in Kyoto.
There are some gardens of different sizes inside the huge temple grounds and this man was working in its main garden covered with mosses sitting while picking tiny maple buds in mosses one by one with his tiny tweezers. Since he was working right beside the walkway we're on, I just can't help stopping and start talking with him about how to take care of mosses.
He looked surprised when I started talking to him. I'm pretty sure visitors likely refrain from talking to the gardeners at work.
This old man, however, was nice enough to stop for a while and talk about his job and he answered some questions I made. I was so happy that he enjoyed talking with me about the topic.
I learned some new knowledge from him.
A ground condition is so important to grow mosses and once soil gets so hard as years pass by, mosses likely get damages because drain empties very slowly. According to him, at Kenninji temple, they use very well-drained soil best suited for mosses. Guess what? One of the best is very fine crashed used-roof tiles. It is amazing and already shows an eco-life, isn't it?
This is almost impossible to change garden soil completely in an ordinary house like ours. But what he recommended to me is if some part of mosses run dry, I should groom them and repeatedly cover them with good dry soil and water them. Wow, it sounds very difficult and naturally need lots of tries and errors.
There are some other tips he told me. Such as to use a rake made of good and dried bamboo. It's so impressive he thinks bamboo cut down in October makes the best results. He said so proudly "That is the best! And you know the difference." He added "Groom the surface every day with a bamboo rake and don't forget to water them twice a day in the morning and in the evening. Good luck!"
My daughter smiled at me saying "Mom, you can start it from tomorrow." "Well, well, well-----" (the reason is here)
Oh we had a wonderful talk with a nice and kind master of gardening.

Kenninji temple was founded about 700 year ago and is reagarded one of the important Zen sect temples in Japan. Official site is here.


Anya said...

Looks very unique :-)
Thanks for sharing ....



Absolutely adore the 'zen' garden...would love to visit Kyoto again some day! Wonderful artisans~Love it!!

Dionne said...

Wow. A lot of hard work must go into any garden as lovely as this. That was so nice of him to stop and talk to you. What a sweet man.

sassy said...

sounds very difficult. a sweet man to share his secret gardening tricks with you! Octobet msut be a good month! In Canada moss usually grows naturually on the north side of trees deep in the forests of evergreen trees of the north.

Maki said...

Awe I'm so glad I've found you or should I say you've found me!!! So beautiful and just looking at your photos make me so homesick:( Thank you always for sharing our cultures to the world!!