Moss – Love’em or Kill’em – and Japanese Gardens


Moss is either loved or hated in the garden. People very often passionately rake it away. Why not to look at it as blessing to your garden? Its kinds are very difficult to recognize – you need proper book for that and magnifying glass. I don’t remember since when I love moss. I think since always. Soft, fragile and moist. In my garden moss is welcomed everywhere. I try to grow it on my stones as well. Few months ago I covered them with yoghurt dilluted with water 1:1. No great effect yet, just little greenish something appeared.

You can appreciate moss beauty especially in the winter – when it is lush green and so soft to walk on. Grows in the lawn in the shadow? Great! I don’t need to move it. Grass is weaker and weaker in these spots, and moss patches are larger and larger… and more and more green. Moss reminds me my second big and earliest garden fascination of Japanese Gardens.

I look for tranquility and harmony in the garden. In the smaller gardens it is even more important to not overload it with too many different plants.


I like them for meditative and tranquill character. I remember that in communist time in Poland there was not so many books about landscaping and Far East – that was of my special interest at that time. I made friends with the owner of the shop selling used/old books. Whenever something about Japan appeared on the shelf I was getting a phone call and I immediatelly run to the shop to see it.


There is six features as a synonym for an excellent not only Japanese but landscape garden.

According to the ancient book of gardens, there should be six different qualities to which a garden can aspire.

They are grouped in their traditional complementary pairs, they are:

spaciousness & seclusion

artifice & antiquity

water-courses & panoramas.

As the specialists say “it is difficult enough to find a garden that is blessed with any three or four of these desirable attributes, let along five, or even more rarely, all six.”


Yet there is such case in Japan.

Its name is “Kenroku-en” which means “garden that combines six characteristics”, which is named by Sadanobu Matsudaira, a feudal load in the present Tohoku district (northern part of mainland Japan).


Plants recommended for Japanese gardens:


Trees and shrubs

Acer plamatum, Acer japonicum, Acer ginnala, Amelanchier canadensis, Cercis chinensis, Chamaecyparis obtusa, Cornus kousa, Cryptomeria japonica, Gingko biloba, Pinus nigra, Pinus thunbergiana, Pinus densiflora, Magnolia kobus, Magnolia stellata, Prunus cerasifera, Prunus mume, Prunus serrulata, Prunus armeniaca, Sciadopitys verticillata, Tsuga canadensis,


Trees and shrubs of medium size

Acer palmatum ‘Dissectum’, Spirea japonica, Chaenomeles japonica, Chaenomeles lagenaria, Euonymus alatus, Enkianthus campanulatus, Forsytia x intermedia, Forsytia suspensa, Juniperus chinensis ‘Armstrongii’, Kerria japonica, Mahonia aquifolium, Pieris japonica, Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Syringa vulgaris


Small shrubs

Buxus microphylla, Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana’, Daphne cneorum, Ilex crenata, Juniperus chinensis ‘Blue Vase’, Pinus mugo ‘Compacta’, Rhododendron obtusum, Rhododendron kaempferi, Spirea japonica, Spirea bumalda, Thuja occidentalis ‘Globosa’, Viburnum carlesii


All these plants are accompanied by different kind of grass, moss, perennials, bamboo, ivy that might be chosen according to the climate zone.


If you are interested to read more please visit http://wwww.ewainthegarden.blogspot.com

Passionate gardener.

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