An Asian garden in North Rosedale

Every year, though perhaps not in 2020, I see more gardens than I have time to share. That’s why our armchair garden tour brings us close to home with this small but standout garden in North Rosedale from Through the Garden Gate 2017.

Beside the side door, a miniature raked-sand garden in a yin-yang pattern shows what you can do with a theme, even in a tiny, tiny space.

I got the impression that this lovely garden is a DIY. As the tour program describes it, “From the Zen garden at the front, to the dry river bed along the driveway to the quintessential teahouse garden at the back, this garden reflects the owner’s meticulous research and love of Japanese culture and style.”

One of the smallest waterfalls ever. (A secret: The grass is fake. But it was hard to tell at ankle level.)

In the narrow strip between neighbours, a path winds beside a river of stones, expanding the sense of space. Below, you look from front to back, then back to front.

Reinforcing the Asian theme, simple details, such as the bamboo fencing and stepping stones set in limestone gravel, have the ring of authenticity.

Can you see the edging of upright pavers along the bed? An idea borrowed from Japanese gardens.

The planting scheme is also fairly simple, with grasses, hostas, ferns, pine trees, and Japanese maples in key locations.

Bright light makes the waterfall in the centre hard to see. From it, a stream weaves through the garden.

Step across the stream on the wooden arched bridge (or sori-bashi), with its characteristic red railings, and here’s what you see on the other side.

A yin-yang patterned mosaic is styled in the shape of fish.

The shady back corner is brightened by the screen of a tea house. The stream widens to a small pool and, across the way, beside it is a quiet corner with a bench under another Japanese maple.

This is the point of contemplation from that bench. There are few better messages for us at a time like this: Love. Serenity. Kindness. Strength.

Perhaps, when I chose this garden for our tour, I’d subconsciously recalled this message.

Hoping that you and those close to you are experiencing all four. As my husband has always ended his music blog, Be well!


  1. Thank you Helen for sharing the photos of the Japanese garden. Your explanations of each photo were very helpful. I was reminded of my trip to Japan to see gardens which were fantastic.

  2. What a treat, to read about and virtually visit such an interesting garden. I liked what I saw very much but wonder if the space felt crowded or the theme pushed too far.

    1. It didn’t feel particularly crowded or overdone, Pat – and crowd control on the tour day helped keep foot traffic at any one time to a minimum.

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