japanese garden


The Japanese garden in Russia

Japanese gardens. Hardly anyone feels indifferent to their charm. They are intricate and simple at the same time, where the talent of a man and divine natural beauty go together. They fascinate by their openness as well as mystery which even the Japanese themselves are not able to reveal. These are the gardens where the sensuality of a thin twig can cause a wave of deep feelings or memories and a rock, sunk in white sand, reminds us of the organization of the universe. We look at the pictures of a garden as if drawn by a talented artist and a thought comes to mind: Id like to wake up in the morning and sit on this terrace with a cup of coffee, watching drops of dew rolling down a trembling leaf. Id like to scrutinize every vein of this gloomy rock each time discovering something new, listen to the sound of water pouring out from a bamboo pipe, watch the raindrops falling down into the pond or the first snowflakes covering a small lantern with snow-white crystals. Yes, Im craving for this garden!

However, at this very moment you hear: Only the Japanese can create a Japanese garden!; A Japanese garden in Russia? Thats ridiculous!; How is it possible to make a Japanese garden if Japanese plants cant survive our winter?; A Japanese garden is filled with symbols. Its a temple where ordinary people cant enter! Then, youll be shown some strange pictures from the Internet, where a place with one or two lanterns is proudly called a Japanese garden. You end up losing heart as your dream will never come true. In the morning you drink coffee in haste, after that you go into your lovely garden in blossom, but this is not the place youve been dreaming of

I went through it at one time when I was not sure whether I could do this. However, a strong desire to have a Japanese garden forced me to make up my mind. Getting more and more interested in Japanese gardens, I met new people, who loved those gardens and were not afraid of creating them. There were those who overcame their doubts. Some people were still halfway, others could boast of their first success. Some of them had the whole gardens, whereas others could allot a tiny piece of land for it. For some people gardening is a hobby, while some are professional landscape designers. Looking at these gardens you start to understand that you dont have to hide the 15th rock to make it less visible, as in temple garden Ryoan-ji, or know the rules of a tea ceremony perfectly, its not necessary to be run off your feet looking for a real stone lantern or pagoda. Its enough just to love nature as much as the Japanese do. You should be able to see something in it, something youd like to create in your garden: try to hear the music of a waterfall and make a stream to reproduce the sound; remember the outline of hills or mountains and imitate them in your garden placing the rocks in a particular way. Perhaps, you are charmed by the deserted sea coast and youll discover some of its features in a gleam of crushed stone, wet after rain.

Not all the gardens Id like to show here were initially thought of as Japanese. Some authors only wanted to drop a gentle hint about the oriental style, but they werent planning to make a Japanese garden. So what do these gardens have in common?

I compared the photos trying to work out a formula for creating a Japanese garden in Russia. The size of a garden isnt important at all. The area of the gardens, mentioned in this article, varies between 1 are and 1 hectare. The size can rather influence the type of a Japanese garden or, to be more precise, its approximation to a definite kind. Large territories can be turned into stroll gardens as it is done in Svetlana Chizhovas garden. Smaller gardens might have a dzen hue as Elena Glubokovskyhs place. Elena Astashkinas garden looks like a hermitage one. Sometimes a part of a big garden becomes Japanese, as it is done in the gardens of Alexander Tolokonnikov or Natalia Zhukova. Both gardens are tea gardens in essence, besides in Alexanders garden tea ceremonies are held. The tiny Japanese nooks (1-1.5 ares) bear some similarity to tsubo due to their conciseness, privacy and purpose. These are the Japanese nooks made by Tatyana Matroussova and Nadezhda Agulova.

Could the choice of material be the common feature? Without doubt, there are such elements as stone and water in each garden. Some people prefer water, some authors use more stones and somewhere a landfilling plays a role of water. Japanese plants or plants which are like them also make these gardens look similar. However, a gazebo, bamboo, lanterns, paths, bridges or islands are not seen in all the gardens. Thus, the elements are important, but not essential.

It wouldnt be true to say that all these places are the same from the point of view of relief. Elena Astashkinas garden is on the slope of a hill, whereas the hills in the gardens of Svetalana Chizhova and Alexander Tolokonnikov are artificial. The gardens of Elena Glubovskaya, Natalia Zhukova, Tatyana Matrusova and Nadezhda Agulova are located on a flat surface and only small islands create a rolling landscape.

Why did I define these gardens as Japanese and was so fascinated with their charm that decided to tell you about them? Ill try to explain it. The Japanese are known to have a special attitude to nature. They dont only love it but also associate themselves with nature. That might be the reason of a strong influence of Japanese gardens on us. Although they are created by a man, the gardens seem to be absolutely natural: we can catch the familiar pictures of nature, amazing landscapes, ever seen during our travels or in childhood, in the silhouettes of hills, rocks or ponds.

Im sure its not enough to draw a plan, grow some plants and put the rocks as well as just make a pond or a stream, lay step-by-step stones or find a suitable place for a lantern. Only those people who have felt the incredible beauty of a Japanese garden and fallen in love with it have a chance to create a masterpiece which can be called a Japanese garden. This is the very quality that brings the authors of the gardens together. A comprehension of nature, a sense of beauty and, of course, talent let them make amazing places, the gardens expressing the creators personality.

And here I am trying to imagine myself as the owner of these gardens

In one garden Id sit in the gazebo in the morning, watching the sun lighting up the rounded contours of shrubs. Or another garden Id come here in the rain to see big raindrops making up bubbles in the pond. Then Id reach out my hand letting a shower of rain wet it as if revealing its secret for me. That is the place where Id like to find myself at sunset, sit on the steps muffled in a warm cosy tartan. Where I wouldnt think about anything. I would just stay there together with a sleeping garden, getting absorbed into a deep night.

At first, I wanted to show some photographs and say a few words about each garden. I asked their creators some questions, but their answers turned out to be so fascinating that I realized saying a few words means saying nothing. So I devoted a separate chapter to each garden.

Lets have a look at these unbelievably beautiful gardens, made in Russia by professional designers and amateurs who have one common feature and this is an incredible love for Japanese gardens. Each place is unique. I truly hope that an acquaintance with authors experience could help you choose your own way and create your masterpiece.


The garden of

Gleb Uspensky

Japanese garden of

Alexandr Tolokonnikov

Japanese garden of

Elena Astashkina

The garden of Gleb Uspensky

the garden of Alexandr Tolokonnikov

the garden of Elena Astashkina

Japanese garden of

Tatjana Matroussova

Japanese garden of

Natalia Zhukova

Japanese garden of

Nadezhda Agulova

the garden of Tatjana Matroussova
the garden of Natalia Gukova
the garden of Nadegda Agulova

Japanese garden of

Svetlana Chizhova

The Japanese garden of

Irina Andrianova

Japanese garden of

Elena Glubokovskih

the garden of Svetlana Chigova
The garden of Irina Andrianova
the garden of Elena Glubokovskih


Reviews and comments



I am extremely grateful to all the authors for the photos of their gardens.

I want to thank Olga Sumarokova, a talented artist, for her illustrations of the gardens in the Chinese style of painting.

I want to say thank you to Tatyana Nikolaevna Matroussova for her professional advice on Japanese gardens.

Irina Andrianova


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