That's how Charlie Dagit described the gardens he visited in Kyoto and other Japanese cities more than 20 years ago, and it aptly describes the sensibility he strives to achieve in his garden in Gladwyne. I visited Charlie and his wife Alice in the fall of 2010 for a piece on Japanese-style gardens.
Charlie emailed recently to say hello and attached several photos of the steep hillside garden behind the house, which he designed and helped build in the 1970s. They brought back memories of a happy time spent exploring the plantings and paths, water basins, rocks and stone benches that loom above the busy traffic below.
Not sure I felt a "spirit of sacredness" up there, but "serenity and oneness with nature" definitely apply. And, in this suffocating, prematurely-summer heat, I'll add one more characteristic: cool. Cooler, rather.