Kyoto gardening

Surrounded by mountains with a freezing climate in the winter and hot in the summer, Kyoto,  formerly the imperial capital of Japan, is home to some of Japan’s greatest gardens. 

We were treated to an evening of beatifully composed pictures which told the story of Stephen’s experience as an apprentice with the renouned traditional landscape firm Sone Zoen in Haradari.

Stephen described a different world, a world where gardeners wore two toed turtle boots to reduce damage underfoot to moss gardens, where pine plucking was an annual task (Japanese red pines were plucked of the previous year’s needles), where gardens (including courtyards) served to remind one of the landscape rather than be ‘used’ and where every task was completed with patience and reverence. 

It was a fascinating evening which gave us an insight to another approach to ‘gardening’

Stephen Tate is based in Langport, he is a gardener and writer