The Wisdom of Zen Gardens
For many, the word ‘zen’ refers to feelings of relaxation and peacefulness but in actuality, Zen is a Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism that practices meditation. Meditation is an exercise used to focus the mind on a particular object, activity or thought. This mindfulness training is a long process that Buddhists will perform regularly in order to achieve a clear mental and emotional state.
The link between the slang use of ‘zen’ and actual meaning of it is quite different, as the slang is a passive feeling, whereas the real definition is to take part in an activity that works to transform the mind into a deep concentration.
What are zen gardens?
Also known as Japanese rock gardens, zen gardens are carefully crafted to symbolise mountains and islands, and the gravel is raked to mimic the flow of water. You will also typically find moss, bamboo and colourful trees in a zen garden. Although a very simple construction, a zen garden is extremely well maintained and is perfectly controlled with regular pruning, weeding, sweeping, raking, etc.
Symbolism and wisdoms of zen gardens
A zen garden symbolises purity, which is communicated through the swirls or lines in the gravel of the rock garden, this is done to help one find clarity of the mind. The purpose of a zen garden is to provide meditative inspiration for those who maintain the landscape, and for those who view it. The goal of zen practice is to rest your mind so much that you reach a state of ‘no-mindness’.
Symbiosis between gardening and life
As mentioned in our previous article, there are many health benefits of gardening and it is well-known for its positive health effects, and perhaps that’s why zen gardens have become popular amongst many who aren’t part of a Buddhist monastery. If gardening is known to have a positive effect on those who go forth with greenfingered pursuits – then what better reason is there than to build a zen garden for yourself? It’ll need regular maintenance and care, and is likely to evoke feelings of mindfulness and tranquility.
Zen garden design ideas
Sand, gravel and large stones/rocks will provide you with the basics needed to sculpt your very own zen garden. Switch out your grass for sand or gravel and place large rocks in a satisfying pattern. Large vertical stones are supposed to represent trees and flattish, wide stones are supposed to signify water, so you may wish to utilise them with this in mind. Remember to embellish your garden with lush flowering trees, shrubs and bamboo for the finishing touches, but do not plant too many as you want to be able to maintain them and prune them on a regular basis.
Build your dream garden with a little help from Court Farm. We have a whole range of products such as plants and landscaping materials to choose from and a cafe/restaurant on site too – so you can have a nice, leisurely stroll through our garden centre. Alternatively we offer professional garden care services so for expert help and advice, speak to our friendly team who will be able to offer you assistance via phone or our online contact form.