The Art of Japanese Gardens: Designing & Making Your Own Peaceful Space (Paperba
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Often gardeners become so enslaved to the work of maintenance and transformation that they neglect the meditative potential of their green space. Worrying over the details, the whole picture is sometimes lost. This is an attitude Herb Gustafson hopes to check in The Art of Japanese Gardens, a beautifully photographed book that creates in the reader a longing for total silence. Photographs of tranquil bridges, bright spidery Japanese maple leaves, and shimmering ponds are accompanied by unpretentious philosophical asides like "Our gardens can become a profound representation of the universe as a whole," and "We must pause to reflect on our journey thus far." Gustafson is not a stickler for historical detail: his notion of a "Japanese" garden is a hybrid of styles, some ancient, some modern. Chapters include "Boundaries," in which a variety of fences, walls, and gates are presented along with accessible descriptions of construction techniques. The third chapter explores that great dreamlike element of the traditional Japanese garden: the constant sound of running water, artificial streams where "we sit and are relaxed by the never-ending flow."