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Showcase garden: Sam Whiskey

Garden Showcase - Fujiyama Japanese Garden by Sam Whiskey 

Situated in the hills of County Antrim, Northern Ireland, this garden has been a labour of love since 1995 when the first sod for the pond was dug. Below is an aerial photo of the area - you can clearly see the extent of Sam's efforts!

image courtesy of Sam Whiskey

Encompassing about 3/4 of an acre it consists of a Dry Garden, Tea Garden, Stroll Garden, and Water and Rock Garden. Below is a Japanese log bridge, since replaced by a Turf bridge. The lantern on the island IKEKOMI-GATA (buried lantern) known also as the Oribe lantern. It does not have any pedestal, being buried directly into the earth.

image courtesy of Sam Whiskey

A planting of Japanese Maples, bamboos, grasses, ferns, Ginko Biloba, Hinoki Cypress, a giant Gunnera, some tree ferns from Tasmania (dickonsonia), Rhododendrons, Azaleas, and many native species add up to an interesting and indeed spectacular garden.

Introduced into Japanese Gardens  for  decorative reasons, the Deer Scarer (below) was an import from the farmlands where it  was used to scare off wild deer and boar.  Water from a feeding spout flows into a hollow bamboo tube which tips forward and then drops back onto a sounding stone.  The resultant clack frightened the deer, and in the garden gives a feeling of solitude.
image courtesy of Sam Whiskey

A number of granite Japanese ornaments complete the picture for the visitor. Below is a tall and ornate lantern with a carved roof and broad pedestal.  It is placed at the meeting of the paths from the Tea Garden with that leading from the rhododendrons towards the Dry Garden.

image courtesy of Sam Whiskey

Sam has also charted his progress through the creation of a Japanese garden, entitled 'How I built a Japanese garden'. It includes everything starter gardeners would need to know from introduction of fish (Beware of the great diving beetle!) to sculpting your own Mt. Fuji. T Here is an extract from his book.

Chapter 6 - The building of a mountain.
'I came on a photograph of a volcano. Not just any volcano, but Mounta Fujiyama. Considered by the Japanese to be sacred, Mount Fuji was reproduced in miniature in stone on the photograph in front of me. I didn't like it in stone, it appears a little stark somehow, but what if i built it out of rubble and soil, and covered it in moss? Wouldn't that be impressive and cheap? I decided to give it a go. As it happened it turned out to be alot easier then i though.'

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