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Ryōan-ji Temple

"When the mind is at peace, the world too is at peace".  P'ang Yun  The Rock Garden
The Ryoan-ji Temple was once the country estate of the Tokudaiji Clan. In 1450 it was bought by Hosokawa Katsumoto who converted it into a Zen training temple. Neither the origin nor the meaning of the rock garden is definitively known though according to the brochure, Tokuho Zenketsu, a Zen monk, may have created it around 1500. The rectangular garden has 15 rocks (both large and small) sitting on moss and look like islets amidst white gravel. It can be viewed from the portico of the Hojo which was the former residence of the head priest. There are stairs leading down to the stone garden where you can sit awhile and meditate on the significance of this creation. But at midday the intimate portico becomes too crowded and meditating or taking an unobstructed photo may present a challenge.
Tatami room
The Hojo has several tatami rooms divided by sliding doors called fusuma. These doors a…

Garden Aspirations

We all dream of having a beautiful garden. Preferably without weeds. Just flowers in bloom and green grass all year round. Which is why I just love to see the seasonal floral display at the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Las Vegas. I know I will never be able to plant healthy blooms such as those at Bellagio on hardpan soil. But I have great expectations anyway.


These larger than life lady beetles are made of hundreds of red carnations and are surrounded by a sea of mums and kalanchoe.


And the frog prince reigns contentedly amidst yellow, red, and blue flowers anchored by a pavilion draped with stars and stripes banners. The frog prince is appropriately clad in what else? - kermit chrysanthemums, reindeer moss, green coffee bean and sheer moss.


A little whimsy goes a long way. Bicycles with floral baskets tossed idly against a wooden railing and a ticket booth signal lazy days ahead. Message: don't rush. Just enjoy the long, hot days of summer under the shade.
Ca…