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Fostering Report

Date of issue:2020/4/3

Seasonal Garden Care Diary: March

Hi there!

Yamagata Aritomo, Murin-an’s original owner, has left us the following words:
“To rely on moss is dull, so I am determined to plant grass”

 

Duke Yamagata did not care for moss. Instead he created the bright lawn space that is a characteristic feature of Murin-an’s garden. Research holds that when Murin-an was first completed, only the perimeter around the teahouse was moss. Kyoto has a high level of humidity throughout the year, a climate that moss enjoys. Gradually, moss began to grow inside Murin-an’s garden too. Whereupon Yamagata, instead of disdaining the moss, amenably accepted it as a natural change. (“It is also splendid having wildflowers I do not even know blooming amid the lush moss.”) There are at least around fifty species of moss that we know of that have been confirmed growing naturally at Murin-an. (Text: Miyako Hamasaka)

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Date of issue:2020/3/3

Seasonal Garden Care Diary: February

Hi there!
On the stone memorial inside his garden, Murin-an’s original owner, Yamagata Aritomo, records the following words:

「“It is also splendid to have flowers whose names I do not even know blooming amid the lush moss.”

With the coming of spring each year, there are 39 wildflower species that bloom on the bright lawn space in Murin-an’s garden. Generally speaking, these are wildflowers that usually would be removed as weeds. Following the words of Murin-an’s stone monument, however, we perform lawn management that carries on the intentions of Yamagata Aritomo, that lover of unknown wildflowers, in creating his garden. (Text: Miyako Hamasaka)

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Date of issue:2020/1/28

Plucking Pine Needles in Early Winter as a Shared Ritual: Murin-an’s Case

December 2, 2019 (Mon.)

Randomly glance upward in Kyoto during November-December and you will often see gardeners busily plucking needles on top of pine trees. This is the work of removing any old needles still remaining on the pines’ branches. The reason needle plucking is performed intensively at this time of year is that old needles that have turned brown finally stop appearing, so that the work becomes easier. There is, however, a deeper reason behind all the busyness. Needle plucking also means preparing to greet the New Year. It is done to finish up pine tree care by year’s end so as to welcome the New Year in a proper and well-ordered state. Thought of in this way, needle plucking might also be called a ritual for gardener and guests, who welcome the New Year together so that this year they may share the garden once again.

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Date of issue:2019/11/6

Improvement Cutting at Murin-an in Late Summer: The Gardeners Who Protect the Boundary Between Cultural Property and the Public

August 26, 2019 (Mon.)

Although we typically look at gardens from the inside, you could say that the garden trees seen from outside the garden are another important factor determining its landscape. These trees have the important role of mediating between garden and society. For example, Japanese blue oaks have a broad leaf width and thus also have the role of screening the garden from the outside. They are often used on the sides of Japanese gardens that face public streets. Therefore, on August 26, 2019, we decided to cover the improvement cutting done on one of Murin-an’s Japanese blue oaks. The weather in Kyoto on this day was clear and sunny; we report here on work that was performed amid punishing heat.

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Date of issue:2019/10/13

Tending to the Stream in Autumn: The Secrets of the Sounds of Water from Murin-an’s Cascades

October 15, 2019 (Tues.)
Today is yet another lively autumn day in Murin-an’ s garden. We report here on how we take care of Murin-an’s stream and the ringing sound of its cascades.

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Japanese gardener picks moss
Date of issue:2019/7/15

Caring for Murin-an’s Moss in Summer: The Stilly Quiet Moss and its Soothing Nature

July 13, 2019 (Sat.)
With summer reaching its peak, today is another lively day in Murin-an. It is right about this time that the garden’s moss exudes it beauty.

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Japanese Gardener and Pinetree
Date of issue:2019/5/13

Candling Murin-an’s Red Pine: The Quiet Communication Between Garden and Gardener

Monday, May 13th, 2019

Of the many enchanting scenes that Murin-an shows us, the scenery from its main house can be said to be the most important of all. Proudly standing in the center of that scenery is a lone red pine tree (known in Japanese as an akamatsu). This pine tree is positioned near the middle of a slightly elevated mound in the garden’s center and features an asymmetrical shape with tilting branches that hang prominently over the pond. Hence, regardless of whether seen from the main house or during a stroll through the garden, this pine tree plays the important role of creating a feeling of change in Murin-an’s scenery while also helping to maintain its overall balance. In this report, we introduce the finger pruning performed for this red pine’s candles on May 13 (Mon.). While candling is a necessary task for any garden pine, it is particularly essential to establishing this tree’s presence in Murin-an’s garden.

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