Paris dedicates garden to Nelson Mandela

Mandela inaugurated a garden in Paris

Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoë and South African minister of culture Paul Mashatile  inaugurated the “Nelson Mandela” garden in the center of the capital last December 19.

A plaque for Mandela was unveiled as famous African saxophonist Manu Dibango played and French actor Didier Bezace read extracts from Mandela’s writings.

“We are very happy to be here and we will continue to work with the French people and strengthen our cooperation and perpetuate what Nelson Mandela has taught us,” said Mashatile. The garden is located in a perimeter still under construction, as part of the redevelopment project des Halles, which will be completed in 2016. But about half of the 4 hectares of greenery is now open to the public.

via Mandela inaugurated a garden in Paris.

A South African stone garden named as heritage site

Nukain Mabusa’s rocky ‘Garden of Flowers’ – News – Offical site of Kruger Lowveld Tourism

South African artist Nukain Mabusa, buried1981 in a grave that had nothing but a reference number engraved on it, is posthumously receiving due recognition. A self-taught artist, he became known for his “Garden of Flowers” which became a tourist attraction during his lifetime.

His “garden” – more rock than blossoms – consisted of boulders that he painted with bright colours and geometric shapes. Mabusa described how, if one stood on the crest of the mountain, the rocks look like flowers tumbling from heaven – hence the name, “Garden of Flowers”.

Since his death the garden has been recognized as a highly unusual and important work of art. Now weathered by the strong African sun over the years, it has been selected by the South African Heritage Resources Agency to be restored to its former glory.

via Nukain Mabusa’s rocky ‘Garden of Flowers’ – News – Offical site of Kruger Lowveld Tourism.

Recommended reading: “Philosophy in the Garden” by Damon Young

Why did Marcel Proust have bonsai beside his bed?  What was Jane Austen doing, coveting an apricot? How was Friedrich Nietzsche inspired by his ‘thought tree’?

Damon Young explores one of literature’s most intimate relationships: authors and their gardens. For some, the garden provided a retreat from workaday labour; for others, solitude’s quiet counsel. For all, it played a philosophical role: giving their ideas a new life.

This book reveals the profound thoughts discovered in parks, backyards and pot-plants. It does not provide tips for mowing overgrown cooch grass, or mulching a dry Japanese maple. It is a philosophical companion to the garden’s labours and joys.

via darkly wise, rudely great: Philosophy in the Garden.

Updated post: NZ Japanese garden is going into “storage”

Japanese garden at the Auckland Zoo

Auckland Zoo plans to remove a Japanese garden gifted by a sister city 24 years ago to make way for Tasmanian devils.

Former head gardener at the zoo Stephanie Hay says the move is an insult to Japan and the people who were involved in the garden’s design.

via Garden is going into storage |

“It’s probably a bigger insult to continue having a Japanese garden that won’t be well taken care of. Commitment to regular maintenance is part of what makes a Japanese garden the real deal.”  

Update: Auckland City Mayor Len Brown is to apologise to the Mayor of Fukuoka and the local Japanese community for the demolition of a Japanese garden at Auckland Zoo – a gift from sister city Fukuoka 25 years ago.

Mr Brown faced a small but rowdy protest at the first council meeting of the year, but it was a diplomatic issue that got him off to a bad start with official business in 2014.

The mayor refused speaking rights to the Friends of the Fukuoka Friendship Garden, whose pleas to retain the Japanese garden at the zoo he rejected last year.

Mr Brown tried to push the group off to a committee to speak, but they turned up in large numbers, including prominent members of the Japanese community, leading to a backdown by the mayor.

Read more here: Mayor to apologize over zoo’s Japanese garden

The hills are alive… with koi at the Portland Japanese Garden

Koi at the Heavenly Falls

It is wonderful to think about creatures so smashingly colorful as the koi amidst the monochromatic landscape of an unusually cold Portland winter (although the koi themselves might be in warm, watery seclusion right now like the rest of us). It’s almost like thinking up a piscatory version of those winter mood improvement lamps.  Here are the latest tidbits on these beautiful aquatic denizens at the Portland Japanese Garden, as verified by PJG senior gardener Adam Hart:

Q. How many koi currently live in the garden? There are 35 koi in the lower pond and 16 in the upper pond. There are also 12 koi currently off-site, which we expect to return to the garden by the spring of 2014.

Q. Where did the koi come from? The koi in the upper pond came from a group that survived a large winter storm in 2008. This group includes koi from Niigata (the primary source of prize koi in Japan) and other koi whose age and origin are unknown.

We added ten new koi to this group in 2011. These koi were bred from Japan and obtained through a local koi dealer (All Japan Koi). Another batch were released in 2012 (see photo) from the Kodama Koi Farm in Hawaii.

The current school of fish in the lower pond was added in the summer of 2013. These koi were donated from a private collection in Portland.

Q. How old are the koi in the garden?  They range in age from 3 to 25 years old. In the Northwest, the average koi life span is approximately 30 years. In general, koi can live anywhere from 25 to 100 years, depending on their quality of life. The longest living koi on record lived 225 years.

Q. What do the koi eat? The koi in the garden are fed specially formulated, nutritionally balanced koi food pellets. These pellets are made primarily from fish meal and wheat germ. Koi can eat a variety of food like melon and greens but we do not feed our koi such things because of enhanced water quality issues. At the height of their activities, they are fed five times a day.

Q. How do you keep predators away? Occasionally, we have predators visit the garden such as raccoons, blue herons and hawks. Most of our koi are too big for the birds to carry away. The pond edge is steep and the ponds are deep which makes it difficult for the raccoon to wade into the water and catch the koi. Providing hiding places, such as under bridges and rocks, is also helpful in keeping predators away.

Q. What time of the year do the koi spawn? Spawning occurs during early summer. The ideal temperature is 68 F. Most of the eggs and the young will be eaten up by the larger koi, which is natural. We do, however, expect to see some of the young survive in the future.


A Franco-Japanese-Anglo garden gets a new lease in life


A Japanese garden and a formal French garden are the polar opposites of each other in terms of symmetry, or lack of it, but the Shinjuku Gyoen garden is supposed to be a hybrid. Is it the English influence?  Via   Shinjuku Gyoen to return to prewar look with makeover help from France – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun.