To the Japanese, all are combined using carefully observed rules, and all have allegorical meaning.
Well, according to the ancient chronicles
“In the spring of the year 74 AD, The Emperor Keiko put a few carp into a pond, and rejoiced to see them morning and evening".
The following year, "The Emperor launched a double-hulled boat in the pond of Ijishi at Ihare, and went aboard with his imperial concubine, and they feasted sumptuously together".
(Perhaps this was the first Japanese garden picnic, and a bit of sumptuous ‘feasting’ with his imperial concubine certainly beats my crisps on the lawn !)
"It is a good omen to make the stream arrive from the east, to enter the garden, pass under the house, and then leave from the southeast. In this way, the water of the blue dragon will carry away all the bad spirits from the house toward the white tiger."
The tranquil, serene area of normally white or grey gravel signified purity, a place to welcome and contemplate your God, while bridges were said to symbolise the path to paradise.
Over the centuries different influences subtly changed the gardens, for example Zen Buddhist monks escaping the Mongols in China, but the essential character remained.
Japanese gardens are a place for peaceful contemplation, a place for meditation and reflection.
And definitely a place you make sure your mobile phone is switched off !
What’s all this Japanese garden history got to do with us !
Well we have a bit of history of our own, so we thought what a great idea to combine the two.
“She’s talking in riddles again”, I hear you muttering.
(Although now you mention them, riddles may also help you carefully tend your gravel.)
What I’m on about is that way, way back in the early 17th Century people started making things in a workshop in Cumbria – and a father and son, John and Graeme, are still making hayrakes in that same workshop today.
Hand made by craftsmen, this Japanese rake will ensure the gravel in your garden is always immaculate.
(And I find simply using of John and Graeme’s handmade rakes is a peaceful, tactile exercise in itself !)
It was the nearest gravel he could find !
John and Graeme designed them, and each one is individually hand crafted, so your rake will be quite unique.