The garden of Nadezhda Agulova

 

The Japanese gardens in Russia

The area of the garden is 1.5 ares

The beginning of its creation is 2006

Talking about Japanese gardens, Nadezhda once put forward an interesting idea that in every garden one could hear the music which special for this very garden. We might use this feeling as a criterion: if the music you hear is cheerful, something goes wrong but if its sad, everything is all right. The person, who loves Japanese gardens, might understand what Nadia speaks about. Sad music doesnt necessarily mean melancholy or suffering, its rather the Russian translation of a term mono no aware (empathy toward things) which was in the basis of Japanese art of Heian period. These are the feelings you experience while admiring nature. The feelings mixed with some bitterness because you realize how fleeting these moments are and how ephemeral and changeable life is. The expression mono no aware acquired the meaning of deep melancholy (Nitschke). That was the atmosphere Nadezhda wanted to create in her Japanese garden. She didnt follow strict canons in the making, but she trusted her intuition. However, Nadezhda didnt ignore the theory, admitting that first one had to read a lot of literature on Japanese gardens to get these feelings.

The garden of Nadezhda Agulova

Everything started quite prosaically. There was a completely neglected land with clay soil on a territory of 25 ares where hardly anything could grow. Feeling tired of mowing grass, Nadia decided to plant there some bushes and shrubs and cover the rest of the territory with gravel, making it easier to look after the garden. Her friends gave her a Japanese lantern as if they were reading her mind. A short time later Nadezhda got interested in Far Eastern plants and then in Japanese gardens. She bought books, looked for information in magazines, took part in the Internet discussions.

The garden of Nadezhda Agulova

The garden of Nadezhda Agulova

Hidden behind tall trees, the place was great for delicate plants, besides quite a big pond provided them with humidity vital in summer. Maples mandshuricum and alder imperialis take the part of Japanese maples here. There is a maple pseudosieboldianum, willows and spiraea not far from them. The most amazing thing is that maples ginnala are trimmed in a shape of a half-sphere. Nadia also gives shape to pine trees. In spite of absolutely flat surface, the trimmed shrubs create an illusion of islands on a meandering gravel path-river, now getting narrower, now flooding. There are no blooming plants in the garden, except for rhododendrons and irises. A reserved attitude towards colours is one of the most important principles of a Japanese garden and Nadia has always tried to hold to it. On the other hand in autumn the maples intensify a feeling of sad charm which was appreciated by Japanese artists and poets.

The garden of Nadezhda Agulova

Nadezhda said that it was essential to make this place harmonious, make it fascinating not only for her but for everyone who comes round and admires it. She added that it wasnt so difficult to copy a lovely picture, but it was much harder to fill it up with feelings and meaning. Thats why the plants had to be transplanted again and again, the rocks had been put in different places several times and various ways of trimming had been tried until Nadia became satisfied with the result completely. She was especially afraid of overloading the garden with Japanese details, thus achieving an adverse effect. So the lantern in the garden is there only because its a present. In fact, Nadia pictures a beautiful big rock, overgrown with maples, pines and azaleas, there but she hasnt found one yet.

The garden of Nadezhda Agulova

The garden of Nadezhda Agulova

The garden of Nadezhda Agulova

As the place is in the form of the right angle, you are not able to see the whole nook from one point, there is always something hidden behind the corner. Unfortunately, the photos show only a part of the garden, while the other one isnt ready yet. I think itll be interesting to see the results in future. Moreover, I know about Nadias plans to create an island of turtle there.

Even though this place looks Japanese for me, I cant define any signs according to which the garden could be referred to this or that type. Nadia just wanted to drop a hint about the Japanese style. I think she has managed to do it as we really see half-tints and gentle hints. There is one thing which has attracted my attention. Its a picture of a Japanese garden on Nadezhdas monitor. This is Isui-en garden in Nara.

Isui-en garden

It consists of two parts, which used to be two separate gardens. The part which Nadia likes was created at the end of the 19th century by a rich merchant, a follower of one of the most well-known Japanese tea ceremony schools-Urasenke. So there are several tea houses and paths leading to them on the territory of the garden. One of those paths goes across a big pond, while others are formed around it. The pond is made in the form of a character midzu i.e. water. The name of the garden itself means a garden, created on water. At first sight, Nadezhdas Japanese nook and Isui-en seem to have nothing in common as theyre different in size, meaning and perception, but the techniques used in both gardens are similar.

The first thing which caught my attention was a way of observing Nadias garden. Actually, there were two of them: walking around the garden or admiring it from the opposite side of the pond, where there are big tree trunks put down on the ground and used as benches. In this case the garden looks like a panoramic picture framed by tall trees. If you look at it from a distance, the pond seems a part of the Japanese nook, thus adding 40 square metres to its area. The picture changes every season. In spring lilac irises look like butterflies hovering above the rich juicy greenery. In hot weather when the pond dries a little, it resembles a bog overgrown with reed and sedge. In autumn the pond fills up with water again and the maples on the other side flash brightly, covering the gravel with an orange carpet. In winter cereal crops play the leading role. The frozen sheaves rise above the icy surface of water. If we have a look at the photos of Isui-en garden, it will become clear that a place on the other side of a pond is the most convenient for observation and we perceive the picture just as we do it in Nadias garden.

The garden of Nadezhda Agulova

The garden of Nadezhda Agulova

The garden of Nadezhda Agulova

Another detail which the two places have in common is a borrowed landscape. Insui-en is considered to be one of the most famous gardens that employ this technique. Three mountains are included in the composition and the forest there looks as though it is mixed with garden trees, thereby, erasing the borders between the background and the foreground and enlarging the territory. Not only did Nadia use the tall trees of the garden next door, she didnt cover a part of the fence with a bamboo screen as well, because of which the garden seems to extend further.

The garden of Nadezhda Agulova

So the place is a successful attempt to combine a stroll garden and panoramic garden, which could be admired from a place specially organized for it. A Japanese garden for me is a territory which makes my whole garden more charming. All my guests come to see if there is something new there; my grandchildren like visiting it and throwing stones into the pond. Of course, my garden is very young, but Im sure it will look more natural with the years. The rocks will be covered with moss, the rhododendrons will grow up and I hope to form the pine trees. Im planning to expand my garden as well, says Nadezhda. Well, well be waiting!

The Japanese gardens in Russia

Photo: Nadezhda Agulova

Text: Irina Andrianova

 

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