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Advice about a Japanese garden

chris.elsdonchris.elsdon Posts: 35
edited 20 February in Problem solving
Hello everyone,

New member here. I’m an ex-pat Brit living in Japan. I’ve just bought a traditional house here and it has a lovely Japanese garden. I would like to look after it myself, but am a complete novice. My inclination was to pay a professional, at least at first, but the good lady wife thinks we have spent enough and try to save for a bit!
I have a few questions about it and I wondered if anyone here could give me any advice or point me in the direction of another forum or organisation where I might be able to make enquiries? I can post a few photos if need be. 
Many thanks in advance for any help or advice. 

Best regards,



  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,538
    How exciting!  Can you join a local gardening club, that might connect you to people who have experience and advice to share?  In the meantime, I would be tempted to hire someone for a month or two to help keep it ticking over until you can learn yourself.  
    Utah, USA.
  • Thanks a lot, Blue Onion! Great idea about the club. I will have a look into that.

    I should have mentioned that the previous owner says that he pays for the gardener to come just once a year in August. That surprised me. I have an image of immaculately manicured Japanese gardens. I could not quite believe that they are just left and only cut back once. He says we therefore have a little while to think about it. It’s about £500. 
    I could perhaps managed the smaller, low shrubs. The different trees are intimidating though. Some are being ‘trained’ and have ropes round them. 
  • Here are some examples of the trees. 
  • chris.elsdonchris.elsdon Posts: 35
    edited 21 February
    Some general views in case it helps. I suppose I’m wondering if I just regularly snip at anything that shoots out, I can keep it looking like this. That may be incredibly naive of me though!  
  • I would definitely not do this without doing a lot of reading first. The art of niwaki involves a great deal of skill and knowledge. There are some good books out there. This isn't just clipping, it's clipping with attitude.

    In your shoes I would stump up the £500 first time and follow that gardener around making notes...
  • Thanks very much, Cambridgerose. I’m slowly building the case for getting the gardener in first. The missus looks like wavering. Your comments will definitely help.

    Much obliged,

  • AthelasAthelas Posts: 5
    I agree, looks like you need to take the time and see the gardener in action, also learn as much as you can yourself at a club or courses. The garden looks amazing — fantastic trees! I’m very jealous!
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 66,086
    edited 21 February
    I agree with the above ... that garden is gorgeous, but just one snip in the wrong place .... aaargh!!! 😨😭 and it could seriously devalue the property ... mention that to your wife 😉
    I wouldn't have thought the clipping has to be done that often ... it's the raking that'll keep you busy. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • B3B3 Posts: 15,766
    edited 21 February
    What a beautiful garden! Certainly not for the amateur, though😕
    You'll have to find £10 a week from somewhere
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • steephillsteephill Posts: 1,589
    Fabulous house and garden, a real work of art. I would keep going with the professional gardner. Another argument in favour is the safety aspect, you would be a long way from the ground trying to prune those trees. You would need to be comfortable working at height and have the right equipment to tackle that job.
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