The Japanese garden, full of delicacy, has won the hearts of Western gardeners. Today very popular, it is found everywhere, in town as in the countryside. But to avoid risking false notes, it is better to know how to decipher it. We met Nahoe, a landscaper for whom the Japanese garden is a homecoming. She tells us about the essential elements to create a Japanese garden, the tea garden - another version of the Japanese garden -, and tells us some good places to find inspiration.
: What are the main principles of the Japanese garden?
Nahoe: The Japanese garden is a space where you walk and meditate. Devoid of interference, it reproduces - no matter how small - a natural panorama. Vegetal, mineral, wood and water harmonize there. There is very little lawn there. The Japanese garden is available in different styles and for it to be perfect, you must always be sure to draw a plan and think carefully about its layout. The relief is essential. Also, on a flat ground, it will be necessary to think of creating a model. Finally, care must be taken over the lighting in the Japanese garden. Although always discreet, it is absolutely essential. It is he who will magnify the space.
: Do you have to be a gardening professional to make a Japanese garden?
Nahoe: A beginner in gardening can do wonders. I recommend the tea garden or "Chaniwa" because it does not involve any major difficulties. It is only composed of leafy plants and does not contain any flowering plants. The tea garden calls for serenity. It can be made up of dwarf conifers, bamboo, a Japanese maple - a symbol of passing time - and some ferns. Then add a mineral touch with Japanese steps or a small winding path made of white and black stones. Finally, the space is punctuated with ornamental elements such as lanterns, a wooden bridge, a bamboo palisade, and of course a fountain. Water is an essential element in a Japanese garden.
: In a Japanese flower garden, which plants are best suited?
Nahoe: Iris, water lilies, lotus, camellia naturally find their place in a Japanese flower garden. Add some flowering trees like the wonderful Japanese cherry tree. It is part of this large family of Prunus like Prunus hisakura. The Prunus mume, better known as the Japanese apricot tree, produces pretty, slightly pearly flowers. Do you know that it symbolizes heaven on earth? Again, we can associate with flowering trees some trees with semi-evergreen or evergreen leaves.
: Which Japanese gardens are open to the public?
Nahoe: France has beautiful Japanese gardens to visit. In Maine-et-Loire is the oriental park of Maulévrier. It is the largest Japanese garden in Europe, breathtaking in beauty and symbolism. Very interesting, the bonsai arboretum garden of Mialet in the Gard organizes guided tours. Just as essential, the botanical park of Upper Brittany shelters a sublime Japanese garden. Finally, Chantilly is not to be outdone with its Japanese vegetable garden of the Princes. But there are many others, to see or to review.