Create a Verdant Indoor Eden with Miniature Moss Gardens: Book Review

February 26th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Miniature Moss Gardens: Create Your Own Japanese Container Gardens

These last few weeks of winter can be the longest and gloomiest of the season. Just when the witch hazel begins to bloom, five inches of snow will fall and smother her glorious, golden petals. Late February and early March is my favorite time of the year to fantasize about a warm-weather escape. But when jetting off to a tropical island isn’t in the realm of possibility (raising my hand here), a weekend staycation filled with indoor gardening projects is often just the ticket.

Miniature Moss Gardens, by Megumi Oshima and Hideshi Kimura, has inspired me to ignore the sleet and snow, and focus on the fresh scent of potting soil, sheet moss and ivy. Looking to bring new life to your winter-weary interior? Perhaps share the hope of spring at your office? There’s nothing like a pop of green to remind us that soon our season will change. This beautiful how-to book is filled with indoor garden projects ranging from the simple (tea cup houseplants and tiny moss balls), to the complex (bonsai, tray landscapes or terrariums!).

Hanging Kokedama with Ivy

Bring Life to a Tabletop with Kokedama Beauty

Thrifty Container Garden Idea: Recycle an Old Teacup

I review many beautiful, inspiring garden books —but to be honest, few of them offer the detailed, step-by-step instructions required for true horticultural success. Miniature Moss Gardens is far and away one of the best how-to gardening books that I’ve seen in a long time. Authors Megumi Oshima, a plant consultant and interior designer with her own gardening shop, and Hideshi Kimura, a bonsai master and instructor with more than 20 years experience in his art, take the time to explain how moss grows, what it needs to thrive, and why it makes a great house plant. Not only are detailed supply lists and project instructions included in this book, but tips for maintaining your living creations are also provided for long-term success. Horticultural geeks like myself will be delighted by the inclusion of a moss identification and location guide as well as propagation tips —perfect for gardeners of all ages.

For garden-enthusiasts, there’s nothing like getting your hands covered in warm mud to banish those winter blues. Create a hanging kokedama for a gloomy window or tray garden for a lifeless countertop — it’s the perfect way to bring a little springtime energy into a room and share a bit of natural beauty with a friend. I can’t wait to play in the potting soil with my copy of Miniature Moss Gardens.From Bonsai and Kokedama to Dish Gardens and Terrariums, Miniature Moss Gardens will Show You How to Create Your Very Own, Japanese-Style Containers for an Enchanting, Indoor Eden 

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A copy of this book was provided by Tuttle Publishing in exchange for independent, un-biased review. No other compensation was received. The Gardener’s Eden is not an affiliate of Tuttle Publishing, but is an affiliate of Amazon.com.

Article copyright Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden, all rights reserved. All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used, reproduced or reposted elsewhere without written consent.

Do you enjoy visiting The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through the affiliate-links here. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to The Gardener’s Eden, and will help with site maintenance and web hosting costs. Thank you!

Plow & HearthGardener's Supply Company

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Visionary Landscapes: Japanese Garden Design in North America

December 3rd, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

A curving, dry stream at the Hoeschler Garden. Design: David Slawson. Photography: David M. Cobb, courtesy of Tuttle Publishing.

The calming nature of Zen gardens and the allure of Japanese-style has been enchanting and seducing landscape designers and gardeners throughout the wider world for well over 150 years. Stepping into a Japanese-inspired courtyard is the perfect antidote to a day spent in crowded subways, noisy streets and stressful work environments. We crave quiet and order —two areas where traditional Japanese garden designs excel— as a counter balance to our increasingly chaotic lives. But how can a North American gardener successfully integrate elements of the Japanese design aesthetic without feeling forced or veering toward kitsch?

Visionary Landscapes: Japanese Garden Design in North America, Kendall Brown’s latest book —featuring the work of five contemporary garden designers; Hōichi Kurisu, Takeo Uesugi, David Slawson, Shin Abe and Marc Peter Keane— addresses this question. Filled with beautiful and inspirational photographs by David M. Cobb, Brown’s book highlights Japans’s design influence upon North American public and private gardens in settings ranging from urban corporations and penthouse rooftops to community hospital gardens and secluded forest clearings.

Sculptural ranges and serene expanses: a garden of stone at the Education First Building in Cambridge, MA. Design: Shin Abe. Photography: David Cobb, courtesy of Tuttle Publishing.

Shin Abe’s work (pictured above), which may be seen in many public spaces, including The United Nations’ Peace Bell Courtyard in Manhattan and the Education First building in Cambridge, MA, is striking in its natural, calming-effect within urban hardscape. The designer’s sculptural use of natural stone shapes and textures, paired with disciplined plant selections, creates a sense of serenity in noisy, chaotic, city environments. It is within these urban spaces where the Japanese design aesthetic often works so well; bridging the hard-edged and the man-made to the balancing, grounding forces of nature.

Although all five designers push Japanese-inspired garden design forward —distilling and fusing Asian inspiration into the North American landscape— the work of David Slawson (top image), and Marc Peter Keane (image below), seems most successful in the more natural environment.

From a design perspective, I often find it more difficult to successfully introduce man-made elements to nature, than to introduce natural elements to man-made environments. Knowing which aspects of Japanese garden design will translate to natural, North American environments demands a solid understanding of both. Marble chips, clipped azalea and lanterns? Risky. Moss-covered paths, local stone, artfully-pruned, native trees and reflective water bowls? Right on. Lawson and Keane have found a contemporary balance.

The sensation of movement, captured in stone. Bridge view: Tiger Glen Garden, Ithaca, New York. Design: Marc Keane. Photography: David M. Cobb, courtesy of Tuttle Publishing

Visionary Landscapes: Japanese Garden Design in North America is an excellent introduction to the history and art of blending Japanese-inspired design ideas into urban and rural gardens on this continent; a beautiful book and a great gift for the gardener on your list who is looking for a bit of contemporary, Japanese-style landscape inspiration.

Visionary Landscapes: Japanese Garden Design in North America. Kendall H. Brown, with Photography by David M. Cobb

A copy of this book was provided by Tuttle Publishing in exchange for independent, un-biased review. No other compensation was received. The Gardener’s Eden is not an affiliate of Tuttle Publishing, but is an affiliate of Amazon.com.

Article copyright Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden, all rights reserved. All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used, reproduced or reposted elsewhere without written consent.

Do you enjoy visiting The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through the affiliate-links here. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to The Gardener’s Eden, and will help with site maintenance and web hosting costs. Thank you!

Plow & Hearth

Gardener's Supply Company

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