Monday, January 31, 2011

Keni's first video blog

Instead of the usual update, I have made a video blog to provide you with a few more recent development of my garden today.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New simplified design

Sorry for the lack of news these past weeks. The day job has been so busy and frustrating that it has been impossible to do anything else other than to come home, plop down the sofa and watch the idiot-box. A real 'metro-boulot-dodo' (French for tube-work-sleep, literally) life I lead... But my spirit has been lifted tonight after re-watching the very funny French film, 'Le diner de con' on BBC 4. Hopefully this show garden will be a life-changing experience!

Anyway, back to the show-garden. We have some development on the design front. Due to difficulties in obtaining and sourcing funds for the construction of the garden, the design has been amended and simplified to fit the small budget. The sketch above shows the front of the garden. This has not changed much. But one major change has been the rock boulders at the bottom of the garden, which has been replaced by a circular display for 'suiseki-inspired' rocks. Suiseki, for those who are curious, is an art form originating from China, where rocks are appreciated for their form and beauty. Other major elements of the garden have been conserved, such as the pond and the major plants (bamboo and irises).

Moving to the main garden (see sketch on the right), the glass platform has been omitted as well. Quotes that I've obtained from suppliers showed that I would need about £5000 just to purchase all the materials without labour cost! That is just too much, and it has unfortunately had to go. As such, the main garden's level has been brought to the same level as the courtyard garden. The main change is like what I mention above, is the circular display. There is also an inclusion of a bench. The first pond has also been re-designed. It now doubles as a water fountain, where the source will be embedded in the middle of a circular stone slab. Water will then flow over the surface of the circular slab, and flow via gutters, into the main pond. Stepping stones will pave the water fountain, giving the visitor a sensation of walking above water.

So these are the major changes to the design. Please leave any comments or questions you may have on the new changes. The changes have been accepted by the organising committee and surprisingly, they are still pretty impressed with the simplified design. What do you think?

I am still trying very hard to find more funds. Writing emails to possible sponsors and calling them has been all that I have been doing the past weeks. It is quite disheartening sometimes, but I guess I just have to keep on hoping. At the same time, I am also right in the middle of planning the construction, figure out how much of the hard landscaping materials that I need, choose them, order samples and hoping that they will arrive!

On top of that, the most nerve wrecking thing must be sourcing the plants. The moss-lawn is proving VERY challenging to source. Anybody knows where I can find three varieties of mosses in the UK? My visits to Saihoji in Japan has been so inspirational that I have to recreate my own 'koke-dera'!

Friday, January 7, 2011


Today I received my first donation! You cannot imagine how proud it made me feel, and how touched I was when I received it. It just means that I have done something right in my social life or that my friends are just very very generous. Either way, it just shows that there is good and kindness in this world yet.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The design from the top

I present you with the top view of my garden design. From this view, you can see that my garden is in a rectangular shape. This shape is commonly found in many sub-urban settings in the UK. I've always found this shape to be challenging to design for. Most of the gardens with such a shape in the UK is planted with two long straight borders on both sides of the long-sides, making the garden looks even longer. The alternative isn't better, where people tend to just create a zig-zag path down the garden to create an 'illusion' of a 'wider' garden. How? Go figure.

Back to my design. The rectangle measures 3.5m by 7m. What I did was to build a tall wall bisecting the garden into two halves. The first half (courtyard) should ideally be slightly raised compared with the second larger half (main garden). Both sections are linked by a perfect-circle doorway, inspired by traditional Chinese landscaping technique. In traditional Chinese aesthetics, a circle/sphere (in 3D) is the perfect form/shape. And such a doorway is often called a 'Moon gate'. The moon gate is often used to perfectly frame a scenery, provided by the main garden in this case. I had wanted to created a very simple courtyard garden, with a very simple moon gate, both of which will contrast greatly with the more elaborate main garden. The two main features of the courtyard garden will be the 'miniature moss mount' and the natural stone footpath leading to the moon gate. The main garden will be composed of two ponds, a cascading water feature and a rock garden at the back.

The planting scheme and the whole design can be summarised by the phrase 'an encounter of the trinity of entities with uncertainties'. I will explain more on this on my next posting.

Donation button is now online!

Acceptance Mark

I am pleased to let you know that you can now place your donation via the PayPal button that you see on the right of this blog. It's pretty easy to do, just click the button and put in your PayPal account details. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also use the button and pay using your credit/debit card.

Thank you for all your contributions!

The journey begins

This blog will now constitute my journey for the construction of my garden design for the up and coming Royal Horticulture Society's Malvern Spring show. The computer simulation you see here is the winning design that I submitted a couple of months ago. I have less than 4 months to build it from scratch with whatever money that I may have.

Via Facebook, I have set up a groupe where I am pleading and begging all my friends to spread the word around our community so that I could find someone kind enough to donate some cash to my cause. Every little helps! So, if you are feeling kind and generous and you love my design and wants it to be built at the prestigous show, please help contribute. I would put your name(s) in the acknowledgements and if it is built, you are all invited to come and celebrate with me and rub shoulders with the English gentry. SHARE this!