Placement of other Objects, Stones and Plants

If we do not count the planting we only have few "other object", including ornaments, remaining in the build phase.
That is objects not yet discussed in one of the other chapters and not being plants. Here we show you some of the most prominent objects that needed some special attention during their placement, to say the least.
We do not in length discuss placement of plants (Plants and planting in Tsubo-en) as there is already plenty of that type of information available on the Web and it often is very obvious.

Placement of some remaining objects such as those discussed in miscellaneous garden ornaments and small objects is briefly shown here.

This stone is now part of the Tsukubai facility, a composition of rocks, plants and a chouzubachi (ceremonial stone water basin) in the front garden, close to the front entrance door.

In Netherlands rocks are rarely found. This is an original stone in that it was found close to our house in this ground that was "taken from the sea" only around 1942 (also see: Where we live). It is said to have got here from Scandinavia during the second last glacial period (200,000 year ago), transported by a glacier. This is how we got it in place with the two of us after its deliver by the worker who had found it.
These heavy special purpose stones (see: Paths, Roji) that lay in the ginshanada where put in place with manpower and only lay on a thin layer of sand just enough to level them. 990120
The Buddhist triad is together with the "Oribe-path" (see: Constructing Paths and Terraces) the only element that is built using the "Sand and cement mortar" method (see: Lay "hard functional" Paving). 990122
To the left of the front entrance, beside the drive: Hõray, "symbol of the islands of the Blest" (Taoist myth), [2, page 27] sometimes represented as mountainous islands, "houraiseki".

Here "the five Islands of immortality" to be.
Each of the 5 cubes was composed of 4 young Buxus plants. Have a look at the front garden compartment to see how this developed.

This gravel area is one of the extensions of the ginshanada.
The O-karikomi in the main garden seen from the back with the work in progress "hidden terrace" in the foreground.
This photo was taken mid 1999 only weeks after the Buxus where planted. As you can see these where bought rather big. Even then after 10 years the karikomi "sculpture" is just getting shape. The shrubs where carefully positioned and planted in accordance to a pre-defined groundplan.
At the time of garden construction, early 1999 this stone was placed and put on its flat side with help of a tower wagon.

The stone itself is pure black and white and weights about 1000 kilogram.
The happy owner unchaining the stone. It was laid on a bed of 10 cm (4 inch) of sand.

This sand bed also helped to remove the belts used to place it. This shows how the stone was initially positioned (see the lessons learned below).

17th August 2008:

Mount Sumeru erected after 10 year of "dormancy"

Mount Sumeru or Shumi-sen, symbolized by the upright heavy rock is one of few stone arrangements, ishigumi, in Tsubo-en. This is the mountain at the center of the World in ancient Hindu-Buddhist cosmology. Its prominence is emphasized by some everlasting snow that seems to cover it (The virtual guided tour updated).

This is the new placement, August 2008.....
Some plants need to grow and reshape...
Chapter Tsukiyama reflects the new situation.

At the time of garden construction, early 1999 this
stone was put on its flat side by a tower wagon.
Here with a blooming Wisteria sinensis (2007).
We found this stone at a local stonecutter. At the time (1999) there where two of them. This was the larger one with the best shape and proportions for our purpose. They had been ordered by an artist who decided not to buy them.
To not set it upright had two reasons. My wife, Marijke found it far to prominent. At the time, I could live with this compromise to at least have this magnificent stone in the garden, and to better fit with the proportions and scale of the planting at the time.

However, with the maturing of the planting this more and more continued to rankle.... that is with me.
After three full days of hard labor on my own, to move, lift, erect and turn this stone on the 17th of August 2008, we have already learned to treat it with respect.
Only at the last day, to be able to turn it with the right side to the pathway and Ginshanada, without letting it fall, I got help from a neighbor.
Ingenious but dangerous construction to lift it!
This had to be done in an existing garden with no room for machinery and even little space as such (see photo). Also it was a one time job. I did not have "a large wooden tripod and a two-ton capacity chain hoist", and I did it all on my own.

If you need to do this you should consider to do it the traditional Japanese way using a tripod. See the link in Links related to object placement.

One gets very inventive.
I found this exercise a challenge not only for my physical powers (being a 62 kilogram (136 lbs) guy) but even more so for my intellectual skills....

Nonetheless I damaged my glasses. Wonder if this would have happened if we had properly carried out a "Ground breaking ceremony" 11.


After this the only thing left was to turn it 90 degrees....

After uplifting it and moving it (to the right, it had to go into this hole (photo below) that we first filled with a layer of drain stone. Reson for that is the idea that it would then be easier to turn the stone into its proper direction.
Considering all this we now regard this stone as our, or better the Tsubo-en, "Iwakura" or "Iwasaku", a rock or "rock seat", venerated as divine. Although we are no Shintoists nor Taoists, we think this beautiful stone at this dedicated location is worthy to house a kami.

What was very surprising is that I only now found out that our Mt. Sumeru shows near resemblance with the mountain at the center-right of a Japanese monochrome ink landscape depicted on page 118 in the book "Zen culture" by Thomas Hoover (1977) [5]. Not only the shape but also the coloration of black and white.

For the full background on this history see: Mount Sumeru.

(Re-) Placing the Left garden hedgerow

To the far right on this photo you see how the hedgerow in the left side compartment looked.
Some fifty percent of the Ilex (hulst) planted some eight years ago had died by 2008.

Conclusion: Initially planted too deep (by a professional) !

Removing the hundred "old" plants, of which 50% was still alive was a hell of a job that was left to a professional with the right equipment.
1795 1796

And this is the result with the 100 specimen of Thuja occidentalis "Braband", after a professional job.

The plan is to clip them straight almost like a wall.

What did not work well

Here we document what went wrong with regard to the infrastructure.

  1. To acquire and place the "Sumeru" stone was a compromise between me and my wife. I wanted it and she not. The compromise was that we bought it and placed it, but it was placed laying flat rather than standing up. In this way it was found to be less dominantly present.
    However after 10 years I (Piet) got a problem whit this situation. Now the plants had grown to different proportions and this beautiful stone laying flat ! I could eventually convince Marijke that the stone should be erected. And this is what I did. It took however a lot of work, three days, and a lot of pain and risk. While if we had placed it this way right from the start it would have been an easy job with the tower wagon.
  2. In our case it was about the hedegerow in the left garden but it applies to every plant: Be aware not to (have them) plant(ed) too deep.
    Some fifty percent of the Ilex (hulst) planted some eight years ago had died by 2008.
    Conclusion: Initially planted too deep (by a professional) !

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