After the rain lifts, the stream around Murin-an’s three-stage waterfall gets oak leaves and dead cedar twigs blown by the wind stuck in it. When large leaves and twigs get tangled in the rocks, little leaves and twigs start to accumulate there. We clean the stream periodically so that its surface can reflect the garden’s scenery like a mirror. On a warm day, you can now also see black snails (kawanina) moving along the surfaces of the rocks.
Due to concerns regarding the coronavirus disease, the following Murin-an events have been canceled.
Murin-an will post further notices on its web page with respect to events scheduled for April and thereafter.
Our entire staff hopes that the day will come soon when we can gather in the garden and see all of you again.
2020/3/3, 3/10,3/17,3/24,3/31: Zaifu Tea
2020/2/29, 3/7, 3/14,3/21,3/28: Murin-an Miniature Moss Garden Making
Ueyakato Landscape recently introduced Professor Dirk Junker of Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences and twelve of his students to 350 years of Japanese gardening history.
Starting from Nanzen-ji Temple’s Sanmon Gate, we first guided them to the Suirokaku Aqueduct. We then showed them around Nanzen-ji Temple‘s abbot hall garden and Murin-an.
Amid mildly cloudy weather, there was both rain and sunshine, and everyone enjoyed seeing the changes in the gardens’ expressions that accompanied the fluctuating weather.
During their three and a half week stay in Japan, these students experienced studying and field trips all over Japan, yet some of them told us “we want to try long-term study in Japan!”
During the morning of February 23 (Sun.), we held a weekend guided garden tour of Murin-an. We explained the kinds of fruit seen in the garden and the uses that they are typically put to, while also discussing Murin-an’s characteristic features and the differences between the garden today as compared to the past. It turned out to be a day where the wind felt chilly, and we thank our guests for enjoying the garden with us until the very end of the tour.
On the afternoon of February 22 (Sat.), participants in this event helped Murin-an’s head gardener take care of the garden’s plants. There was pouring rain in the morning, but it stopped by the time this seminar started, bringing everyone a great sense of relief.
The seminar started indoors with a demonstration of how to prune fir trees and cut their branches to give them a natural look. Everyone took pictures of the gardener while he showed them how to keep a cut wound from looking conspicuous.
After observing how living things in the garden are pruned, participants experienced how to remove bamboo sheath and dead branches by hand when caring for kuma bamboo grass and square bamboo. Because there are many living things on the ground, we were worked carefully as we did our pruning work..
This being a rainy day and the last seminar for this series, we had participants cut off the dead steams of iris flowers. Our head gardener said, “We left these as part of the autumn and winter scenery. But since spring will be visiting soon, let’s cut them.” Thus, we all removed these long stalks with bulbs on one end of them.
Fostering Studies Series no. 4 starts in April! We hope to see you there!
The rocks in Murin-an’s garden come in all sorts of colors. Because muddy water caused by rainfall and algae make them fade, periodically polishing the rocks is one of the tasks of garden care. As our gardeners worked carefully on polishing rocks, starting with ones upstream, Murin-an’s head gardener smiled as he said, “This passes the test.” They wrapped up this watery work amid temperatures that stayed quite chilly even past noon.
During winter, Murin-an’s moss comes apart in several places and the marks where holes are opened in the ground stand out. Torn areas are refilled early in the morning when the garden is cleaned. The culprits behind this moss tearing are wild birds (pale thrushes) that migrate north in spring and cause this condition while they catch worm and scarab beetle larvae. When they return to the continent fully nourished, the task of refilling the moss is finished. But we sure do wish they’d clean up after themselves once they’re done eating.
On the afternoon of February 5 (Wed.), we held a kimono wearing class on the second floor of Murin-an’s main house. At today’s kimono wearing session, we also had some participants who came for a trial lesson who learned how to wrap a sarashi (bleached muslin fabric) around the kimono. After putting on kimonos, we learned about the etiquette of deciding what to wear according to the occasion, one of the basic principles of dressing properly.
On the afternoon of February 11 (Tues.), Murin-an held “Salon in the Garden: Incense” with the cooperation of Shoyeido Incense Co.
In Japanese, to smell incense originally meant “to act on” it, and to act upon incense meant focusing your nerves on it. At this salon, however, questions and conversations, and sometimes even laughter criss-crossed each other as people encountering incense for the first time enjoyed themselves. While you could probably say the same thing for Murin-an’s garden, each person has their own way of experiencing incense. Even a smell simply described as “sweet,” is expressed as “erotic,” “juice coming out of fruit,” “powder makeup,” and many other ways. We hope everyone will try looking for the incense that is the one for them.
Amid the fierce cold, there was a Japanese Wagtail walking around Murin-an’s shallows and looking for food. Even when the garden was covered by snow, this bird walked around energetically and chirped a chirp sometimes heard during the breeding season. The look of this bird letting out large chirps and searching for food as it endured the cold gave us the feeling of what it’s like to survive the severity of nature.