A Bit of Japan in the Netherlands

November 20, 2013
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East meets west in this quaint Japanese-style garden located in the Netherland city of Gouda (yes, the same town famous for its cheese).

Normally to travel from the Netherlands to Japan, you’d have to cover a distance of more than 5,700 miles. But for Netherlander Ramon Smit, a trip to Japan is as easy as stepping out into his own backyard. While the distance is short, it took Smit over eight years to complete his journey.

Japanese Gardens for Today

March 01, 2013
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The other day I was told about a Japanese garden in the hills near my home and had the chance to visit it. It was magnificent, complete with swimming pool, raised beds for vegetables, a spa, and much more. But what was Japanese about it? It was serene and finely crafted. There were highlights, like plants and sculpture, that stopped you in your tracks and made you want to study them.

Art + Botany: Japanese Panel Paintings at Kew

July 21, 2011
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I'm always drawn to objects in which the human and the natural elevate one another. The exquisite 19th-century Japanese panel paintings from Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, now on display in a show curated by five London museums, tell a fascinating story about nature and culture.

Crazy Plant Trend of the Day: Japanese Wisteria Tunnel

April 10, 2011
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Here in the United States, many of us are familiar with sakura matsuri, or the cherry blossom festival that occur around the world during this time of year. But after the cherry blossoms fall, Japan has another beautiful floral celebration fuji matsuri, or the wisteria festival. Here are some photographs of the amazing wisteria tunnels that bloom in Japan, generally flowering from mid-April to mid-May.

Botanic Notables: The Largest Genome

July 06, 2010
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A genome is an organism's hereditary information—its DNA—and Biologists have been studying them since the early 20th century. Genome sizes vary a lot, and the numbers can be very surprising. To wit, the record for largest genome goes to ... a plant! A rare flowering plant called Paris japonica has a genome 50 time longer than that of humans, and the longest known genome of any organism.

Now and Zen: The Portland Japanese Garden

February 01, 2010
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Some seek out the Portland Japanese Garden as an oasis, it’s true. For sure, Portland residents slip into the garden’s deep-green embrace to escape earthly cares. And absolutely, the layering of deftly sculpted form and texture — of noble stone juxtaposed against curvaceously sculpted branches — is meant to draw you away from the mundane and material onto a higher plane. But retreat isn’t all this place is about.

Japanese Tea Garden

April 23, 2004
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Visitors walking through the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park will discover a tranquil environment of both natural beauty and artifice. Every turn of the stone pathway unveils a splendid surprise: the 9,000-pound Lantern of Peace, a large bronze Buddha and a clipped hedge in the shape of Mount Fuji. Enhancing the garden’s large collection of sculpture and stone are the plants, shrubs and trees that have been carefully selected and arranged within the landscape.

Photo by: Cl1

Green Gulch Farm and Zen Center is about groundwork. In this haven, matters of the earth and things elemental to the human spirit sit well together. Dedicated to benign human intervention within a protected wilderness, the farm, formerly a cattle ranch, takes in 115 acres of coastal scrub, old oak forest, streams, marshlands, sandy beach, and farmland. It is a jewel in the crown of Golden Gate National Recreation Area.