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Pilates on Pines

Japanese Garden Scenes

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Northleach, 35 Oakden Rd, Drysdale Victoria

Seeking tranquillity through the influence of Japanese Garden Scenes

The large copse of pine trees which surround the entrance and driveway on the northern aspect of the property is a setting which immediately captures the interest of people when they first visit Northleach. However, from the roadside you are not aware of the Japanese Garden Scenes that are present within the 5 acre property today.

Apart from the pines, the property was previously very much dominated by several different varieties of eucalyptus trees, and in some respects resembled an Australian bush setting. However, areas of the property had become somewhat precariously unsafe; many eucalyptus trees being in too close a proximity to the house.

Ground not covered by native trees was fenced off to provide a small paddock and arena for several horses. The large shed situated towards the western aspect of the property served as the stables.

In 2004 I attended an intensive Japanese garden art seminar at Kyoto University. Being afforded the opportunity to trace the history of Japanese garden art from the Nara period 700 AD through to the Meji period (Modern Era)  was an unexpected and wonderful experience. A visit to Nara and other beautiful gardens: Kinkaku-ji, Ryoan-ji, Daitoko-ji, Saiho-ji, and several others, was all the inspiration I needed to begin planning the transformation of the landscape at Northleach. I returned home with a clear vision for the garden; one that I promised myself would feature all the wonderful elements which collectively represent the essence of Japanese gardens.

The garden you see today has taken 10 years to create and nurture; it is still an open canvas. From the outset, I endeavoured to design and create a garden of tranquillity with a Japanese influence, especially so on the southern aspect of the property behind the main house. This area features 2 courtyard gardens, a pond garden and an enclosed dry landscape garden. Bluestone steps connect the main courtyard to the pond garden, and from there, a winding path leads to the dry landscape garden, which from the path, is mostly hidden from view.

The packaged offer of a pagoda and stone lantern at a bargain price from my friend John Sutton at Kyo, was all the incentive I needed to transform the garden area on the southern aspect of the bluestone building. Several existing pines and silver birch trees, and a large sasanqua complement the new aesthetics of this garden area which is divided in two by a pathway, and also features a dry landscape component.

The development of an undulating landscape on the western aspect of the property boasts three very tall eucalyptus trees. The perception I have endeavoured to create with the adjacent dry garden landscape, which features several black pines, is perhaps, in nature, the two landscapes were once connected as one.

Each of the following four galleries of the garden can be enjoyed as a slide show, simply by clicking on a single image.

Malcolm Boulter
December 2015

Galleries