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     Marijke & Piet.

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O-karikomi style Prunus lusitanica, pruning for shape


This topiary, representing a mountain-range or a mountain-scape, gets pruned and clipped in the so called Karikomi style (see: Karikomi and hako-zukuri, topiary technique of clipping shrubs and trees into large curved shapes or sculptures).

As indicated above the “o” prefix in O-karikomi means “large” and it refers to the use of groups of plants. As this structure is composed of some half a dozen of plants it does qualify as an O-karikomi.



Although rather distant, this object is part of the Mountain-range element on the other site of Mount Sumeru.
This O-Karikomi (Prunus lusitanica, common name Portugal laurel) is part of a mountain-scape formed by it and the (small) karikomi to the left. Visually these form one element, a mountain-range.

The Prunus lusitanica is a strong grower and needs to be pruned completely twice a year. In between we take out the strong sprouts so as to retain shape and to enforce compact growing. The new sprouts to be cut away can easily be as long as 22 cm (9 inch). Although the primary reason for pruning has become to retain shape, we still want the back side to get just a little higher.


Here you see the immediate effect of proper pruning for shape. The element has grown into a single structure. This represents a mountain-range in the backdrop with a solitary mountain in front of it, separated by some sort of gorge.


Not only does this create the impression of depth, it also creates a certain tension. The curves formed by the Ginshanada and Tsukijama and the mountain-range follow the same lines and thus reinforce one another, one coming toward and the other going away from the spectator.

This element shows a fine example of the high level of abstraction as an important design characteristic of our Zen-garden (see the explanation in the Introduction-page, the section under the Tsubo-en calligraphy and the main garden O-karikomi).


The photo to the right shows the Buddhist Triad in front of the O-Karikomi mountain-range.

Evergreen trees,
Training, clipping and pruning,
Monochrome landscape ink painting examples,
Approach to realization of a (Japanese Zen) garden,
How to typify, architect and compose a Japanese garden ?