The Japanese rock garden or “dry landscape” is also known as a Zen garden and creates a miniature landscape with rocks and pruned trees. It’s relatively small and surrounded by a wall. The Classic Zen Gardens were created at the temples of Zen Buddhism in Kyoto, Japan during the Muromachi Period. Nowadays, Zen gardens are also associated with Japanese culture and many people grow them to experience inner peace: A place of peace and refuge, sometimes used to meditate and relax from daily worries.
Growing your own Japanese Garden: Elements of the Zen Garden
A typical Zen garden consists of sand, plants, rocks and a wall. Each of these elements has deep symbolism; sand is used as an incorporation of water, while rocks serve as symbols of mountains, islands, and animals. A zen garden should be surrounded by a wall – a symbol of partition between the outside and inside world’s; the sand is usually set in a curvy shape and plants together with rocks are placed on top of it.
If your house has enough space on the outside you could build your Zen Garden there; otherwise, it could be planted indoor as well: you could grow many plants, vegetables, and fruits inside of your home. First of all, find out what you want to plant then choose an appropriate space: make sure it has enough sunlight and ventilation from outside (note: the best way to grow it is near a window). Second, decide which plants you want to plant and consider if they are suitable for your home environment. If you struggle where to find an appropriate kit, you could find it on Amazon:
- Eve’s Zen Garden Wooden Kit, Everything you needed to create your own Zen garden. Relieve Stress and Relax: it includes a complete kit to create a zen garden; it also has a black wooden container, fine sand, wooden rake, polished stones, figurine and zen garden guide all these cost around 15-20£
- Zen Garden with Inspirational Word Black Executive Sandbox New Age $27.88
- Mini-Zen Gardening Kit 5.06€ (before 5.99€) on bookdepository.com
Your garden can be a way of showing your creativity and release your mind from negative emotions. The ancient Japanese discipline of Zen was used by Buddhists monks to reach spiritual enlightenment. Cultivating a zen garden is one of the most stress-relieving activities that calm after a long day of work. The Book of Meditations describes the purpose of cultivating a zen garden: “ The purpose of cultivating a zen rock garden is to open your mind to see more than what is before you” (Toysmith 2001).
Here are some of the most common plants for your Zen garden
- Lavender is a plant used in beauty products and teas, and they say the most fragrant lavender is the French one. It’s a type of a fast-growing herb, so make sure you have enough space in your garden or pot. Plant it in a roomy pot near a sunny window;
- Aloe Vera is known for its medicinal properties. How to plant it: Fill the bottom of your pot (1/3 full) with small pebbles, potsherds or marbles. Fill the remaining 2/3 of your pot with loose, sandy soil-cactus potting mix or a mixture of 2 parts sand to one potting soil. Through the winter, water the aloe vera once or twice a week (yourzenlife.com).
Build your zen garden into a wonderful place of relaxation after a stressful week.