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Monty Don’s Japanese Gardens – BBC2 Fri, February 15 21:00



  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 5,832
    If you read Monty's article in GW mag he admits in these programs he can only scratch the surface. I find these gardens fascinating but a some of the control is a bit extreme for me. I volunteer at Capel Manor college in Enfield and have done quite a bit of work in their Japanese garden with one of their senior gardeners. The garden at Capel is principally a tea garden and not very big, he is working to make it more authentic.  He has explained to me the main problem with most Japanese style gardens here was they were a pastiche of what those who had seen them, (while  they were on the grand tours, that were popular in the late Victorian & Edwardian period) they saw all these different gardens & took elements from each & mixed them up. The comment by the Ambassador "we have nothing like this in Japan" was a polite reference to the fact that most of these gardens were a mishmash of styles. Red bridges (should only be in imperial gardens) mixed with raked gravel in the middle of pruned shrubs & maples, where there should only be rocks etc.  Apart from Tatton Park one of the most authentic gardens in the country is Shaku rah en in Clackmananshire  Scotland. This garden was considered the best example outside Japan in it's heyday. It suffered severe vandalism in the late 1960's but is being restored now. 
    The props on the trees are for several reasons it may be how they are trained, because they are very old, or it's to protect them from the severe winter weather (snow).
     The element I am taking from my work at Capel is this, we have a lot of Acers in our garden at home  & some were getting too big for the space we have. I am trying to learn how to contain them within an allotted space while keeping them looking naturalistic. This is one particular style, but not the ultra controlled look that some gardens have.  Personally I do not like the conifers that are pruned so they look like footballs on a stick but I can appreciate the work that goes into this.
    AB Still learning

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,308
    I'm glad I stuck with Gogglebox, it was hilarious. 
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Derbyshire but with a Nottinghamshire postcode. Posts: 16,463
    I was away for the first part, so watched both parts consecutively last night. I had always thought I wanted to see Japan at Cherry blossom time, but now I want to go in Autumn for the maples in autumn colours as well. Then there is winter with the ice festival in the North and the macaque monkeys in the hot springs.
    So many places to see, so little time (and money)
  • AuntyRachAuntyRach Posts: 4,770
    I find the programme a beautiful escapism. Autumn leaf colours and tree blossom are two of my favourite highlights in the seasons so this programme was a delight for me. 
    I will admit that I fell asleep, but I was watching in bed at 11pm. Monty’s voice is very soft and relaxing - he should do bedtime stories and podcasts for insomniacs (that’s a compliment). 
    My garden and I live in South Wales. 
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 6,326
    edited February 2019
    I really enjoyed both programmes. I have no desire (or the skill or diligence) to emulate any of it but I found it fascinating. Difference is always illuminating, even if only to make you understand better what you do like when looking at something you don't.

    OH - not a gardener - also really enjoyed it. He is a fan of the 'Stroll Garden' ideas and found it quite inspiring.
    But I live in France and I've never seen it called Peace here. In all the garden centres I have been to it is still Madame A. Meilland.
    Everywhere except France then. 
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • MarlorenaMarlorena East AngliaPosts: 7,118
    As you would expect of the French, but the 'Mme. A Meilland' rose, was intended to have another name originally... in 1945 the Meilland family wanted it called something like 'Field Marshall Alan Brooke'.. after the British General who coordinated the Normandy landings and did so much to relieve France... little known compared to other Generals and Field Marshall's.. he was Churchill's military advisor...  and Mr Brooke politely declined the offer, instead advising the Meillands to call the name 'Peace' as that would catch on more...  
    American diplomat Conrad Pyle then introduced it in the States as 'Peace'... then it took off..

    In Germany it was known as 'Gloria Dei'... 
  • I've just noticed the a corresponding book coming out in May
  • KT53KT53 GloucestershirePosts: 7,539
    I couldn't get on with the first programme.  Far too much about tea ceremonies and the like and too little about actual gardens.  I enjoyed the second programme though.  Whilst watching I was thinking that maybe it's something in the Japanese psyche which makes them almost obsessive about perfection, and later Monty said much the same.  There were some absolutely beautiful gardens, and Monty had the luxury of visiting many of them when they were closed to the public.  I wonder if they are quite so tranquil at the height of the season when the hordes descend.  From watching the way Japanese tourist act when on tours in the UK, and other places, I rather doubt it.
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