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View to the studio after Sawara trees removed

View to the studio after Sawara trees removed

We just had a number of large sawara cypress trees removed, opening up the garden, adn crucially giving us light. A blank canvas, great, but a bit daunting. The challenge will be to get a lawn to grow.

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Are lawns not popular in Japan? I have seen Japanese gardens here and in Vancouver where I grew up and it seems gravel/stones/water are all integral with the planting. So just wondering if lawns are not favoured there.

The building on the right I think you mentioned would be a bath house? Do you have that area separate to your main living? or would this be for guests? I hope I'm not asking too many silly questions. I like learning about differing cultures :)

21 Oct, 2010


Thanks for all the questions. Time constraints mean I can only answer them sporadically, and rather singularly, but I hope you'll understand. Lawns in Japan are not common (unless in Hokkaido or the far Northern regions of Honshu). The climate of Hokkaido is much more similar to parts of Highland Scotland, the land much more open and this is why the Japanese dairy industry is based there. From central Japan to Southern Japan it is difficult to grown lawn grass of any description. The main problem is that it is VERY damp during the summer from about July - September, and then the air becomes, conversely, very, very dry in Winter from about December. Most of us humans find it hard to cope; so I'm not surprised grass struggles. Of course, there are various types that have been developed to try to cope with this, but they are not very effective unless you have golf-course type maintenance. Over-seeding (seeding a winter grass over a summer grass each year) is still common. And then of course, you have, as you mention, the weeds which grow prolifically. All these factors, I guess, have led to lawns being a rarity - though I am determined to succeed. A note on the dampness: it is really damp, especially in Hakone. Usually gardening tipsters mention problems of poor quality, dry soil, in mountain locations (we are 800 meters up), but here it is the reverse; the damp air, prolific tree growth, and mixture of volcanic minerals and centuries of leaf mulch, means that different problems arise. I'll try and get round to answering more questions this week, but I'm going up there at the weekend to get my gooseberries in. Getting hold of these was something of a coup because they are not common at all here, and I've never seen them in any food shops, even in expensive 'foreign food' shops. I just hope they will take ok and that the damp does not make them too mildew prone. We shall see. Bw, ptarotuos

21 Oct, 2010


I fully understand, Ptarotuos....thank you for your splendid reply. I'm going to google some of the places and situations that you mention as Japan is not a familiar country to me. Thankfully the internet will soon solve that.

I really wish you much success with your grass. It will definitely be a big challenge...but you do sound very determined! Good luck.


21 Oct, 2010

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