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     Marijke & Piet.

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Maintaining ‘the five Islands of immortality’ gravel ‘sea’


After Trimming ‘the five Islands of immortality’ topiary box, the ‘sea’ in which they float needs a tidy-up.

Not only do we need to clean it from any leafs and debris left after trimming, we also remove weeds and mosses. Then we need to flatten the gravel area. Sometimes the soil has worked its self up and needs to be compressed. Then the last thing to do is rake the gravel area level and flat, with or without, wave-patterns, depending on mood and some other conditions.


This is an exercise that we execute a couple of times per year. For sure after having trimmed the box but also when required at other times.

It alway is a struggle not to trow away any of the small gravel pebbles. In particular when removing dead leafs some of these will mix with the leafs. I hate it to see them end up in the trash container. I always have the feeling that I am punishing them while they are dedicated and have been trying to do a good job. Hence I spend some (but too much)  time to sort them out before I empty the container in the bin.

This must be my Taoist disposition. Not sure if traditionally these  tiny little stones all have a resident spirit or kami (神) but to me it feels that way.

Related: The front garden compartmentShrubs, Training, clipping and pruning, The Ginshanada, Regular cleaning-up, Constructing sand and gravel rakes, Raking training. Improve your raking skills.