Evolution of an azaleas tamamono

        A tamamono shrub is a half-sphere, as we can see in the gardens in Japan, that is to say the height at the center is half of its total diameter. There is much made ​​in Japan from azaleas, but can also be realized with boxwood, yew, juniperus, charcoal, etc …

azalea tamamono maintenance pruning japanese garden japanese pruning niwaki shrub

Here is our tamamono made ​​from one year to nurse in its cup and in full bloom.

azalea tamamono maintenance pruning japanese garden japanese pruning niwaki shrub

azalea tamamono maintenance pruning japanese garden japanese pruning niwaki shrub

And once the flowering is finished, here is after its first maintenance pruning… In order to obtain forward a true half-sphere.

azalea tamamono maintenance pruning japanese garden japanese pruning niwaki shrub

azalea tamamono maintenance pruning japanese garden japanese pruning niwaki shrub

NEW ! Introduction course to the creation of Japanese garden

        You are visiting the Drôme, in France …? You have half past one to you ….?
Create a mini tsuboniwa on the theme of tsukubai or place of purification in a rocky scenery tempts you…? I suggest you to follow an introduction course.

course introduction japanese garden tsuboniwa tsukubai

Call me to make an appointment, get yourself a pair of garden gloves to come to discover this traditional Japanese art and live a moment of communion with nature, a source of inner peace.

Black pine niwaki – Structure pruning

        Three years ago now, at the corner of an aisle, I fell in love with a beautiful black pine with a sinuous trunk abandoned by customers and last figure staying on a platform of a nursery. So I was bringing it to “Shizen no sei” Garden and installed carefully to nurse in a very large pot.

niwaki, japanese pruning, structure pruning, black pine

And this year, I have felt that he was ready … and me too ! The inspiration was to go ! The expression of a single gesture, a creative spontaneity, a moment of eternity … Knowing wait for the perfect moment for the meeting …

niwaki, japanese pruning, structure pruning, black pine

I have decided to let it grow a little and I think I will realise the mass of vegetation head this autumn, in order to create a wide one. It obviously needs to put on weight, which will require as usual and this every year, a careful work in the spring and fall … And patience … But the structure is there …! There is no doubt that he will keep all its promises …!

Yes, this is what it had…!!!

niwaki, japanese pruning, structure pruning, black pine

Midoritsumi – pine buds pinch

        Late spring is the perfect time for part of the pine maintenance pruning in niwaki cultivation. It is the action of pinching buds (also called cones, candles …) or process “midoritsumi”.

This action favours a second vegetation in the year, however, less important, but it is sought result in the context of a denser vegetation. These buds are removed entirely or in part according to where they are located, if they are many in one place or not, depending on the total thickness of the vegetation, to obtain a compact and uniform mass.

This action can be done incidentally by hand, between the thumb and forefinger, if the bud is small in diameter and when it is very tender. However, this time is very short. When one cultivates many niwaki and large figures, when the size of the candle is more important and/or they have begun to be stiff, it is preferable to use sharp tools, specially designed for this, running efficiently work with a more clean and neat result.

The Niwaki et niwashi.com shop has selected for you two new products perfectly fitted to the action, with a matching leather cover that provides you security and ensures the longevity of your tools.

Secateur-shears 180mm

buds pines japanese garden midoritsumi niwaki japanese pruning tools pinch spring secateur shears scissors japanese pruning maintenance

Okubo scissors 180mm

buds pines japanese garden midoritsumi niwaki japanese pruning tools pinch spring secateur shears scissors japanese pruning maintenance

To watch the video about the pinch of pine buds, please join the e-learning Platform of JAPANESE GARDEN INSTITUTE.

The clouds pruning is NOT authentic Japanese pruning !

        In the West, especially in Europe, we hear a lot the term “clouds trees” to describe these beautiful plant sculptures that come directly from Japan. This name, certainly very poetic, but absolutely not existing in the Japanese islands, was not a problem at the beginning.

Frederique DUMAS - original authentic japanese pruning niwaki versus clouds pruning

I let myself when I have started, seduce by this charming name, I have even carried it in my books, and I dare say it, I regret today. Why? Because in fact, it characterizes a type of plant sculpture which is only a Japanese INSPIRATION pruning. The jumble done by media and neophytes, obviously does not help, mislead people and take away from the genuine and authentic Japanese pruning.

For those who thirst for authenticity, it is important to separate the “clouds pruning” of the genuine niwaki growing. To do this, here is a succinct sketch that will help you to differentiate at a glance, a real authentic Japanese niwaki of a simple Japanese inspiration pruning.

Frederique DUMAS - original authentic japanese pruning niwaki versus clouds pruning

As I have already explained to you, the “clouds pruning” is only plant sculpture and not the real niwaki growing because it has a huge contradiction. Its vegetation is certainly densified, feature encountered on trees with a lot of maturity, but its branches are at an angle or vertically, which is only found in young trees in nature.

On the real niwaki, the main branches supporting the masses of vegetation are at least horizontally or cascading down. We can tolerate 10% to 15% of total branches with a starting + or – vertical, then which “horizontalizes” itself. Beyond that, it is classified as “clouds pruning”. This is achieved by the horizontal bracing. In fact, the kind of varieties with a non-erected bearing (Juniperus, Taxus …) as shown below do not exist in Japan (one, moreover, is “disheveled”!). These are European cultivars, or very French. Of course we can get niwaki with our endemic varieties, but only using the techniques of niwaki growing.

Frederique DUMAS - original authentic japanese pruning niwaki versus clouds pruning

So, there is no reason to not practice “clouds pruning”, if that likes … Some of these achievements give great subjects. But do not pretend that this is a niwaki !

And when you are faced with such beauty reproducing what we can see in nature, at least have the respect not to call it a “clouds tree” …

Frederique DUMAS - original authentic japanese pruning niwaki versus clouds pruning

Creation of a Nobedan paved walkway 行の延段

        The Nobedan is a paved walkway with a Japanese configuration. There are three particular styles and within these different styles, all variants are possible and conceivable.

nobedan, japanese paved walkway, granite, natural stones, japanese garden

Here, we will look at making a gyou type nobedan or gyou no nobedan, indicating that it is …

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Get inspiration…

        After five days of training, a little rest …
A beautiful walk in a wild place near my house ! This has not prevented me from enjoying to draw inspiration from nature, always with the same ingredients … Mineral, plants and water !
A divine place on a sunny morning … Lunch at the water’s edge on a small beach of granite pebbles, semi-shade, half sun … With just in front of me, a tiny waterfall that sparkled in the light.

As I like to repeat to you constantly, Japanese garden wants to be the purest reflection of nature … Everything is there, before our eyes … We just have to re-learn to watch !

Granite wonder with a moss patina…

Arrangement of stones lining the river bed…

A mix of quiet areas and waterfalls…

Beautiful double waterfall, twin or mukai ochi in Japanese…

A stream bed…

Nature has the gift, talent, to teach us the beauty … as long as we wanted to let us do !
To enjoy, to consume without moderation …

Tsuboniwa impermanence

        After entering in this tsuboniwa, how not to remember always and still humid air of dew and scented fragrance of mosses which float in the dark, rain or wind, or the leaves of trees shining in sunlight … Time of spiritual refreshment, spent in a small corner of nature, in constant companionship of the poetry of natural phenomena and constant cycles of life.
Permanence in impermanence. No doubt, the tsuboniwa is precisely the type of essential space to a healthy and balanced life, at all levels … physical, emotional and vibratory.

(Here is the video link in case if your browser does not display its insertion.)

I realize for you, or I teach you on the site of the “NIWAKI Inspiration ZEN” School or I coach you in your garden … As you want. Contact me.

Internship of tsuboniwa creating

        Last week, has taken place at the School Niwaki Inspiration ZEN in the Garden “Shizen no sei tei-en”, the first course of the year dedicated to the achievement of a genuine tsuboniwa, like these created by the famous Japanese gardeners, always with the same principle … The essence of the nature rendered in a smaller space !



As always, this training is based on ancient rules with lots of method and structure, including lessons of Sakutei-ki, energy principles of Fusui and specific concepts to the Japanese landscape aesthetics … The lower lantern of yukimi type was deliberately chosen, so that its light comes to “be reflected” in the water of the stream flowing metaphorically around the strip of land covered with moss.

And as usual, only happiness …!

There is a short walk full of magic!

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Niwaki and spring snow

        Spring is slow in coming … This year, he is very lazy !

niwaki nature pine japanese pruning

Extraordinary and abundant nature, creative in the soul, with inexhaustible inspiration, giving us this beautiful wild niwaki in his great universal garden, having first taken care to dress carefully each of the needles of an ice sheath as a winter makeup …

niwaki nature pine japanese pruning

Another horizon, another vision under dim light … Lot of emotions !

niwaki nature pine japanese pruning