The garden of Elena Glubokovskih

 

The Japanese gardens in Russia

The area of the garden is 20 ares

The year of the beginning of its creation is 2007

Initially, Elena was planning to preserve the plants which had already been in the garden (pines, Erica, Andromeda, Labrador tea). She was just going to add some rhododendrons and junipers. But life itself made corrections. Erica didnt survive childrens run and walk, it didnt feel comfortable among the pine trees, even to add plants was a problem as few of them could grow in sphagnum. Gradually, Elena gained some experience of living in the country. As the idea of the garden had changed, a new plan was required. Elena began to create her garden with organizing the space. She drew the pictures of something more voluminous in her mind, so the hills appeared. The paths were laid in the places where it was convenient to walk and the benches were put in the coziest nooks of the garden. Little by little the contours of a garden came through a young pine forest. It was a Japanese garden...

The garden of Elena Glubokovskih

Why Japanese? Elena turned out to feel close to esthetics of this type of gardens. She had been collecting the photos of beautiful gardens for a long time before she decided to make her own. Looking through them from time to time, she always got rid of those which she was bored with. As a result, she had the photos of Japanese gardens. Elena admires Saiho-ji (Koke-dera). Im not surprised that the Japanese garden of moss made a strong impression on her. The nature in the part of Leningrad region where Elenas garden is situated looks similar to the scenery of famous Saiho-ji. I still associate Elena garden with Koke-dera: huge pine trees, soft cushions of moss, reflection of fern in a pond and mysterious paths bring up the same feelings of peace and romantic sadness as in that well-known garden in Japan. Its no accident that Elena likes Shisendo, Korin-in, Kenning- ji, Kodai-ji which are in most cases dzen gardens: they are either tea gardens or temple gardens of 13th century. The only exception is Shisendo which belongs to the type of hermitage gardens of Edo era, but it also has a dry landscape.

The garden of Elena Glubokovskih

Elena garden cant be considered as a mere combination of separate parts. Throwing a glance at the photos, you cant help feeling its integrity. The composition of the garden includes artificial mounds with grown-up pine-trees on them. There is a blue ribbon of crushed stoned river, flowing through them, which emphasizes the rounded contours of the banks. At first, there was a beautiful peatbog, overgrown with a fence of baldish young pine-trees. In Lenas words, making the soil more suitable for gardening was the hardest part. Having lived in the city for all our life, we couldnt even imagine that there might be a country house without land. We felt shocked when we realized what had been bought- 2 metres of sphagnum on snow-white quartz sand. But soon we got all excited. Sand, gravel and soil plunged fast into peat and hardly anything could grow there. The 60-centimetre hills sank as low as 40 centimetres, moreover, it was happening unevenly, so Elena failed to make a shape. It took several years to create favourable conditions. There was plenty of peat filled with sawdust and soil, brought there, besides the ground was generously covered with a thick layer of birch leaves in autumn until it became possible to start gardening.

The garden of Elena Glubokovskih

Picking the plants, Elena took into account the peculiarities of her garden. Nowadays rhododendrons, euonymus, cranberries, blueberry, junipers and pines feel excellent there. Ferns and moss make the image of a forest corner more vivid, while the dense thickets of irises emphasize the naturalness of the pond. The pond (about 7 square metres) doesnt only have a decorative function, its also the drainage. Elena used neither polythene nor concrete to line the pond, thats why the banks look very natural and dont need to be decorated with stone. A small wooden bridge looks as though it invites you to admire the calm mirror-like surface of water, in which tall trees are reflected.

The garden of Elena Glubokovskih

The garden of Elena Glubokovskih

The garden of Elena Glubokovskih

The pine trees, which have grown prettier over the last few years, provide a rare shade, where the middle and low tiers of planting are flourishing. Elena said that selecting plants and the shape of hills was the easiest and the most pleasant thing. Green nearly always dominates in her garden. Only spring, the time of blooming rhododendrons, irises and humifuse plants, is an exception. At this time the garden is coloured lilac. Then these bright colours appear in autumn, when the foliage of euonymus and spiraea is tinged with different hues of yellow, orange and red as it should be in a real Japanese garden.

The garden of Elena Glubokovskih

The garden of Elena Glubokovskih

Looking at Elenas garden, I feel as if I am looking at the photos of dzen Japanese gardens. Despite being made by a man, the landscape seems absolutely natural, a quiet and cozy place for seclusion, contemplation and rest. At the same time we wont find any lanterns, statues or gazebos which are characteristic of a Japanese garden. There are hardly any rocks here but landfilling. There is one more exception- a stone pyramid. Ive been interested in it for a long time. Elena told me that there was only one rock there at the beginning. One day her younger son made a hat for it, he put two small stones on the top- a flat one and a round one. The composition looked so harmoniously that Lena left everything without any changes. This pyramid always draws my attention. Every time Im looking at the photo, I believe it isnt put there by accident, it keeps its secret. Perhaps, the stone compositions in Japanese gardens took on special significance after their creation. Who knows?

The garden of Elena Glubokovskih

The garden of Elena Glubokovskih

The garden of Elena Glubokovskih

Thinking about all this, I realize this place is a Japanese one, although there are no obvious characteristic of a Japanese garden there. It is Japanese in its essence, I feel some mystery and sadness, which is typical for dzen gardens, there.

Elenas garden gives rise to various associations. Someone can see a calm river, confined between two banks and ready to overflow at flood time. Others think it is a forest landscape with a bog where a cuckoo is about to sing. Maybe the garden looks so amazing because of a light open area near a wooden house, surrounded by a mysterious forest. Im sure everyone will draw their own analogy, as for me, its a garden of a foggy morning somewhere in the mountains or near a temple in the wood. You could forget about everything there, plunging into deep meditation and enjoying smells, sounds and images. You could stroke soft moss or, having touched a branch of a pine, feel its delicate aroma. Its a real dzen garden...

The garden of Elena Glubokovskih

The garden of Elena Glubokovskih

Elenas garden isnt completed yet. She is planning to finish or change something. For example, next year she is going to decorate a well, which hasnt been used over the last two years. Its necessary to cover the ground with moss in the shade and humifuse plants in sunny places, in time. There is the chance that some garden compositions will be changed. Some thoughts occurred to Elena after doing a three-month course in Japanese gardens conducted by Natalia Burmistrova in 2011. That course also included a two-hour workshop with Jamada Midori. In the Botanical garden of Saint Petersburg Jamada explained the principles of creating tsubo. This incredible woman provided an explanation for those things which couldnt be taken from books She was a genius! Her manners were unaffected, she was easily understood and we could feel an enormous love for Japanese gardens and a profound respect for us. Even though it was a workshop in tsubo and Elenas garden had nothing to do with it, she picked up plenty of useful information. First, she finally understood that her ideal garden is a Japanese garden. Second, everything must be organized in a convenient way and any area might be beautiful. Elena shared some information with me. Here are the rules which could be quite useful while creating a garden:

- Bushes trimmed in a shape of the sphere add more volume.

- The beauty of openwork foliage makes a stronger impression when there is an object it throws a shadow on.

- Winding paths broaden the space.

- You glance at the smooth surface and slow down if the fence is trimmed in a way alternating flat and rounded shapes.

master-class of Jamada Midori

Knowing Lena, I have no doubt that soon well see the realization of fascinating ideas in her amazing garden. Ill be looking forward to new photographs!

The Japanese gardens in Russia

Photo: Elena Glubokovskih

Text: Irina Andrianova

 

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