The Q&A Archives: Japanese Gardens

Question: I'm a 10th grader in Janesville, Wi. researching Japanese Gardens for my Social Studies class. Next spring we are going to plant a Japanese Garden in one of our courtyards. We need planting ideas, appropriate plants & seeds to use etc. We would appreciate any help you can offer.

Answer: No Japanese garden would be complete without one of the beautiful varieties of Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum). There are many, many varieties, all breathtaking. Try a variety with the word 'dissectum' or 'lace-leaf' in the name. They are particularly gorgeous. <br><br>Another tree of Japanese origin is the Japanese Cherry. Their botanical name is Prunus serrulata and, once again, all varieties are beautiful. There are also different varieties of Japanes Iris which would be great. There are a few features you could add to make your garden more of a classic Japanese garden. Have you considered a small pond with or without goldfish? Statues are nice and are also an important element. There are many statues of pagodas, dragons, and historical Japanese figures available in gardening catalogs. Stones of different size, texture and color are used often in the Japanese garden. Remember, the Kapanese garden is one of order and simplicity. It is the opposite of the English "cottage garden". One piece of advice from my personal experience, stay away from almost all varieties of bamboo. Except for a few (and I mean very few) dwarf varieties it is HIGHLY INVASIVE.

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