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The Gardens of Japan Book Review


Released by Frances Lincoln, The Gardens of Japan is a must-have title for those who love Japanese gardens. This book is by renowned garden writer Helena Attlee. It features around 130 lush color photos by award winning photographer Alex Ramsay. These oversized pictures do justice to the breath-taking beauty of the gardens.

This exciting book introduces 28 of Japanís most exquisite gardens. These include a number of temple gardens as well as other types, such as stroll gardens.

There is a comprehensive profile of each garden with complete details on its history, design, and creation along with particular details and features that visitors will see in the garden. Readers can enjoy a virtual tour and learn which plants are used and their significance in Japanese history. The gardens are shown at the height of perfection.

Many of these are contemplative gardens. This book has numerous examples of raked gravel gardens. Mosses and special kinds of stones feature prominently in a number of these garden designs. Though many of these are dry gardens, water plays a pivotal role in certain ones, particularly the island gardens. Many of the profiled gardens also feature familiar Japanese motifs, such as bamboo and picturesque wooden bridges.

In addition to learning about the individual gardens, readers can also enjoy an in-depth look at the history of Japanese gardening through the ages. The introduction explains how the gardens have evolved over the years due to foreign, cultural, and political influence. The introduction highlights the different aspects of garden design that are unique to Japanese gardens.

In reading this book, the one thing that struck me in particular was the reverence for the garden plants. A careful look at these gardens shows that the plants with trees in particular receive special loving care to keep them healthy and thriving. As they get older, the trees receive special attention. For example, the trunks are carefully wrapped to protect them and prolong their life. Trees that are leaning precariously are provided with special supports.

Mosses are especially popular in some of these gardens. Flowering trees, particularly the flowering plum, are particularly important. The author provides a complete background on the significance of the flowering plum and the blossom viewing ritual associated with the tree. The author also quotes from ancient Japanese poetry.

Attlee is a celebrated writer and author of other books on gardening, including The Gardens of Portugal.

This also gives the locations and contact information for each garden. The appendix also provides contact information for the Japanese tourist offices. At the front of the book is a map showing the locations of the gardens.

For the purpose of disclosure, I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher.
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Content copyright © 2013 by Connie Krochmal. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Connie Krochmal. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Connie Krochmal for details.

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