A Bonsai and Bamboo Garden In Norway

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On a very memorable trip to Norway it provided me with the chance to visit perhaps the most northerly tropical garden area in Europe.

It sits on the gulf stream and palm trees grow happily in this pasrt of Scandinavia. It is also the perfecr climate for a large Japanese garden.

Just off the coast of Stavanger is this truly remarkable garden, that you MUST visit should you ever be in the area. The garden spreads out over 20 acres and features a bonsai and bamboo garden area complete with rocks, ponds, waterfalls and a lot more.

I have put together a series of photgraphs from my visit on Pinterest and you can see the photographs by CLICKING HERE.

Look closely at the spacing of the elements – less is more in a Japanese garden and the use of shrubs, plants, trees and rocks very sparingly merely adds to the viewing pleasure and can give you some really good ideas for your own Japanese garden space at home.

This Norwegian Japanese garden oasis has everything in it  – Koi, water features, bamboo, Acers / Maples, rock formations, Bonsai, beautifully chosen and positioned low level shrubs. A very important Japanese garden in Europe and it was a pleasure to visit.

Simplicity and balance is the key for a relaxing and eye catching beautiful Japanese garden! You can get some really good ideas for designing and creating a Japanese garden from my latest book on the subject. It is FREE and called ‘7 Quick TIPS To
Inspire You To Create A Japanese Garden’ CLICK HERE to claim your complimentary copy.

How To Turn Your Garden Japanese – A Little Knowledge Gets Great Results

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‘How to Turn Your Garden Japanese’ – 11 Simple & Easy Ways to Do It’ is a book that has been specifically written to provide knowledge, inspiration and practical ideas and tips for turning your garden Japanese.

The beauty of a Japanese garden space is that it doesn’t have to be large at all.

You can create a Japanese style garden in small, medium and large spaces depending on your ambition and budget.
Japanese gardens are steeped in hundreds of years of history and the book gives you an insight into their origin and development over the centuries to the present day.

Ingredients in a Japanese garden are key to its authenticity and there are many ways that you can introduce them into your garden space.

From shrubs, trees and plants through to ornaments and pathways. Gravel spaces with stones and rocks more popularly known as ‘Zen gardens’ – Karesansui in Japanese – meaning a ‘dry water’ gardens.Sometimes in the West they are referred to as Zen gardens.

The gravel which is often raked signifies a moving body of water for example.

This book gives you 11 ideas for turning your garden Japanese on a budget and if you crave a calming, serene and stress-free garden space it could well be the starting point for your own Japanese garden or Zen garden.

Japanese gardens are beautiful and memorable to the eye and if you create one it will be the envy of your family and friends.
Author Russ Chard has written books on the subject and has websites that help people get ideas and choose the right look for their Japanese garden space.

For more information and help starting your own Japanese garden project visit www.turnyourgardenjapanese.com

How To Build A Japanese Zen Garden – {Help to create a Zen garden}

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In my experience, one of the most popular styles of Japanese garden that people seem most interested in building at home is a Zen garden – in Japanese Kare-sansui.

They have signature ingrdients like stones, rocks, gravel and moss but of course you may choose to loosely build a Zen style garden…a big difference with a lot of options!

This video will tell you some good news regarding your dreams of a Zen garden AND watch it to the end we have a FREE book for you!

Japanese Garden Ideas – A Trip Around A Self- Built Japanese Garden

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I went to visit a guy called Steve at his home to take a video trip around his Japanese garden.

He lived in Japan for many years, loves Japanese gardens and never had any formal design training.

He got all his knowledge from asking people who know about Japanese gardens how to do things…this is the result.


Bonsai : EVERYTHING You Need to Know To Get Started In One Little Book

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Bonsai originated in Egypt, made its way to China and then through cultural exchange and trade links became very much a part of Japanese garden culture.

It can be tricky to do correctly, you can keep them outdoors and in certain cases indoors and we have put together ‘The Little Book Of Bonsai’ to make everything easy to understand and crystal clear in plain English.

Discover the beauty of Bonsai!


Find out more at amazon’s Kindle store by CLICKING HERE

The Little Book Of Bonsai

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Bonsai is an artform that originated in Egypt before moving ( probably as part of trade routes) to China.

The art of growing and cultivating miniature trees then arrived via China in Japan, which is the country that is most associated with Bonsai trees today.

New book ‘The Little Book Of Bonsai’ will tell you pretty much everything that you need to know about Bonsai in plain English. It is not a huge technical book but it is a short book – around 14,500 words, that explains all aspects of Bonsai and successful growing indoors and outdoors.

For the next 36 hours you can get a free copy via Amazon’s Kindle store – CLICK HERE to get your FREE COPY.


Japanese Gardens and The Art Of Placement ‘Feng Shui’

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“The Ancient Art of Placement” called Feng Shui (pronounced phung schway) literally means ‘wind’ and ‘water.’  The Chinese believe this cosmic energy, called Chi or ‘the green dragon’s cosmic breath,’ is the life force energy that pervades human existence.  The basic tenet of Feng Shui is to capture this vital energy creating balance and harmony in our environments.  Feng Shui is predicated on the core belief that we, the earth, and every living thing on it are interconnected.


Feng Shui is the oldest form of gardening dating back several millennia to China.  It is based on the philosophy that man and nature must live in harmony with one another and that all life is infused with the invisible energy called Chi. This force circulates throughout our environment and is essential to our well-being, health, and happiness.  The Chinese sages believed that any man-made feature could affect the flow of Chi so established the rules of placement that are central to this philosophy.


In the Feng Shui garden, balance and harmony are the key factors.

Balance and harmony are achieved by careful attention to detail and the balance of Yin and Yang energy.  Yin energy includes the earth, rocks, ponds, plants, flowers, and trees.  Yang energy includes the home, brick, wood, nails, and other solid construction.  The fundamental characteristics of Feng Shui gardening are:


  • Curved lines rather than straight allow natural energy to flow more easily.


  • Feng Shui gardens are never crowded.


  • Feng Shui gardens are designed to look as natural as possible.


  • Mixing shapes and sizes is a vital element in Feng Shui gardens.


The Chi, or cosmic energy, needs to flow freely and smoothly through its surroundings in order to create harmony and balance in the garden.  Yin and Yang together constitute the two forms of energy central to the concept of Feng Shui principles and define the quality of the energies in any space.


Yin energy constitutes the feminine energy and its elements are shadows, darkness, winter, night-time, wet, soft, receptive, passive, negative, inner, north, creation, earth, and is symbolized by the moon.  Yang energy constitutes the masculine energy and its elements are light, openness, vigour, growth, summer, daytime, spirit, dry, hard, active, positive, sky, heaven, south, outer, energetic, and is symbolized by the sun.  Yin and Yang energies are complementary to each other.


The Feng Shui of your house influences your life from a personal point of view.

The Feng Shui of your garden influences the outer aspect of your house and influences the more public view of your life.  The front garden is more Yang while the back garden is more Yin and the private side of your life.  The best way to examine the Feng Shui of your garden is to treat your entire property as a single unit.


Plants that exhibit Yang energy include large-leafed plants that create a powerful presence and create good Feng Shui when placed beside water features such as a pond or fountain.  These plants contrast nicely with feathery foliage plants such as ferns.  Plants that exhibit Yin energy include ferns that help to dissolve any negative energy in the garden.  Hanging plants will lift energy or allow energy to flow.  It is a good idea to hang baskets around areas where you like to socialize.  Window boxes encourage beneficial Chi toward the home.

The principles of Feng Shui can be seen in certain types of Japanese gardens but it is a personal decision whether you wish to follow the aspects of Feng Shui with yours.

2 Rules Of Thumb


Consider planting plants with symbolic meanings, such as peonies (Paeonia), which represent nobility, or pomegranates (Pomegranate), which represent fertility.


Japanese gardens are all about reflecting the seasons, try and use plants and trees that highlight different seasons or cast interesting shadows at different times of day. Feng shui should take into account the placements in your garden in relation to the different times of day.


To find out how to create a Japanese garden we have put together a one stop package to help you CLICK HERE to find out more.

FREE BOOK – Learn How To Easily & Quickly Create Your Own Japanese Garden

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We have a very popular FREE Japanese garden design book , that will tell you the basics and a bit more about creating your own Japanese style garden at home.

You may wish to go the more traditional route or you may be looking to simply build your own Zen garden.

You can create a Japanese garden in whatever size space that you have available becuse the beauty of Japanese gardens is that a lot of them reflect landscapes in miniature.

This book is ideal for beginners or if you are totally new to the world of Japanese gardens BUT it will also help you if you are a little more experienced too.

Make sure that you grab a copy, it is easy to do just CLICK HERE

Stones, Rocks And Sand In Japanese Gardens

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Stones & Rocks in Japanese gardens

Stones and rocks are essential elements to every kind of Zen Garden and are symbolic representations of real or mythical land forms, while this is not their only role. They can also be used as stepping stones, paths, groupings, central stones, and many other types.


The first Stone Grouping to be introduced into Japanese gardens was the ‘Shumisen’ – a collection of stones representing where the Buddha lives (this is placed in the centre of the garden) along with his disciples which are the smaller stones around the Buddha.

Centralized traditional Stone Groupings can essentially be called:

a. The “Buddha Stone” (Mida Buhtsu)
b. The “Goddess Stone” (Kwannon)
c. The “Child’s Stone” (Seishi)

Yet there are 5 basic types of stone groupings that bear a name, purpose and meaning in Japanese Zen Gardens. These stones and rocks can be used in many combinations.

Look at how stunning a small Japanese garden can be with the use of ‘dry water’ and Stones/ Rocks


Positive stones are:

1. The “Soul Stone” (Reishoseki), which is low and vertical.
2. The “Body Stone” (Taidoseki), which is tall and vertical and always represents a God or person.
3. The “Heart Stone” (Shintaiseki) or “Flat Stone” which is flat, as the name implies, and is used as a central stone.
4. The “Branching Stone” (Shigyoseki) or “Arching Stone” which has a wider top than base and connects other stones together.
5. The “Ox Stone” (Kikyakuseki) or “Reclining Stone” which is always used in conjunction with the Branching Stone.

Negative or bad stones are:

1. “Diseased Stones”, which are stones that are withered or have a misshapen top.
2. A “Dead Stone”, which is a stone that is a vertical stone used as a horizontal one and vice versa.
3. “Pauper Stones”, which are unaffiliated or unconnected to other stones in the garden.

Stones that should NOT be placed in Zen Gardens, as they may affect the Feng Shui element of the garden, are those that are cut, broken or de-formed.

Stones moreover shouldn’t be placed at right angles to buildings along their axial line and should not be placed near verandas, as this also disrupts the Feng Shui.

Sand in a Japanese Garden

Although a traditional Japanese garden insists on the use of water in its display, contemporary Zen garden owners don’t always have the capacity of adding water to their gardens.

Thus, sand or white gravel is used as a substitute for water and this is why “dry landscape gardens” (Karesansui) are very popular.

Lines formed when raking the sand can depict the flow of rivers and streams but usually a larger mass of water – a sea.

A Relaxing Zen Garden
Note The Raked Sand To Depict Water or ‘Dry Water’

Japanese Zen style gardens may look simpler to create and compared to a larger Japanese garden space with many elements they probably are BUT just because this style of garden is in a small space does not mean that time and effort should be put in with an attention to detail to get the best results.

Take a look at our ‘All-in-One Japanese garden design package’ that we have put together for helping you create your dream Japanese garden including expert interviews, design book, Zen garden book and a classic Japanese garden landscaping lecture from Ken Honda that will tell you all about the history and elements of Japanese gardens CLICK HERE to find out more.

Good luck with making a Japanese garden – beautiful serene havens of calm and nature working in harmony.

Japanese Zen Gardens – A Calming Simplistic Spiritual Haven Of Beauty

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Japanese Zen gardens or Japanese rock gardens as some people call them are actually in Japanese called ‘Karesansui’ translated into English this means ‘Dry Landscape’.

These types of Japanese gardens are hugely popular to visit and many people see a dry landscape garden as a really good option for a Japanese style garden at home.

Our book explains all about them , it is worth learning about them before you start creating one…


         Japanese Zen Gardens

If you have ever wondered ‘What is a Zen garden?’ then this new book will tell you everything that you want to know.

‘Karesansui’ or as we in the West call them ‘Zen gardens’ are beautiful Japanese gardens steeped in history, religious meaning and a visual simplicity that is so striking.

They are serene, calming and a perfect space in which to relax or meditate.

There are many styles and many ingredients, Stones, Rocks, Moss, Sand, Gravel, Plants and Shrubs,Lanterns and Ornaments.
Japanese Zen gardens is a book that introduces the reader to the subject and presents the options available for anyone wishing to build their own garden space at home – however large or small.

Of all the Japanese style gardens that you can create Zen gardens because of their apparent simplicity are becoming more and more popular around the world and building one is not as difficult as you may think.

With a little knowledge and following our step by step instructions with pictures you will discover how straight forward it is to build a Zen garden in your yard or garden.

Japanese Zen gardens are serene havens of tranquil beauty and the perfect antidote to a stressful world.
The author Russ Chard has written and published Japanese garden books, articles and videos for the past 10 years.