In the heart of London amidst the fast paced lifestyle that just goes with living in a major city, a haven of tranquillity sits on the roof of a house of healing. The Great Ormond Street Hospital in the Bloomsbury district of London offers patients and others who happen to discover this contemplation garden the opportunity to take a quiet break and relax. It is called the “Bridge Over Mountain Stream” garden.
Visitors do not enter the garden, but rather explore the dry landscaped Karesausui style garden from benches outside the area. The garden gives the impression of a stream flowing from the mountains down to a pool on a lower level. A path of stepping stones leads the eye back up to the mountain, with stone lanterns helping to guide the way
Another roof top Karesausui style Japanese garden was built in 2001 at the School of Oriental and African Studies. The Kanji character for forgiveness is carved into the garden’s granite water basin. The garden uses sandstone rectangles, free form pieces of green slate, silver gray granite chippings that are raked to represent water and slabs of basaltic rock representing a bridge over the water feature. Larvikite stones from Norway represent islands. This garden is located in Russell Square in London and is frequently used as a backdrop for receptions, small plays and for weddings.
Leave it to the Irish to combine their love of horses with their appreciation of lovely gardens. At the Irish National Stud in Tully, County Kildare, a Japanese Garden created between 1906 and 1910 now has the distinction of being the finest in all of Europe.
Designed by the father and son team of Eida and Minoru, the gardens represent the “Life of Man” from birth to death and the possibilities that life offers along that journey. This is a kaiyu-shiki, or strolling garden. Pathways lead over a curved, bright red Japanese bridge, naturally formed stepping stones, and past stone lanterns and quiet ponds filled with water lilies. An authentic Japanese tea house is on site. In one quiet nook a waterfall cascades over small steps of stones, half hidden amongst branches of evergreens and bright reddish-purple sprays of colour from Japanese Maples.
Another unexpected find is on the Powerscourt Estate in Enniskerry, County Wicklow. In 1908 a Japanese garden was added, sitting just south of the Triton pond of the original estate gardens. Laid out on what was once bog land, this garden features pathways past a pagoda, stone lanterns and over several bridges as it winds back and forth over a babbling brook. The garden is laid out in two circles, the inner one asks that we reflect upon our inner selves and the outer one encourages discovery of the world we live in. The gardens feature Japanese Maples, Chinese Fortune Palms and azaleas.