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Fostering Report

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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Japanese Gardener and Pinetree
Date of issue:2019/7/16

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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