Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Waiting for red October

This is Charles Dagit's garden in Gladwyne. It's very green, designed in Japanese style, and it's been an ongoing project for this modernist architect who was transformed by a trip to Japan almost two decades ago. Working from the experiences he had there at traditional temples, shrines and gardens, and studying books on Japanese garden design he bought at a Kyoto gift shop, Charles has slowly created what you see here - 3/4 of an acre, with paths, lanterns, statuary, rock settings (using rocks from the property), stone bridges and concrete water basins he cast himself, ponds and waterfalls and lots of green plants. One exception: Seven Japanese maples dot the hillside above his house. We're waiting for the maples to change color and provide pops of red that we can photograph for my story. Nature will not be rushed! So we probably have another week or two to go. Meanwhile, Charles is enjoying fall in this contemplative garden, which he shared with me last week. We rambled along the stone and pebble paths, zigging and zagging around the hill, listened to the soft ripples of the ponds and waterfalls that he designed and dug out along a natural swale, and observed the changing light through the trees. He's made this a place of meditation, working with the contour and character of his land. Japanese? Yes. But gardeners everywhere know this language.

Waiting for red October

This is Charles Dagit's garden in Gladwyne. It's very green, designed in Japanese style, and it's been an ongoing project for this modernist architect who was transformed by a trip to Japan almost two decades ago. Working from the experiences he had there at traditional temples, shrines and gardens, and studying books on Japanese garden design he bought at a Kyoto gift shop, Charles has slowly created what you see here - 3/4 of an acre, with paths, lanterns, statuary, rock settings (using rocks from the property), stone bridges and concrete water basins he cast himself, ponds and waterfalls and lots of green plants. One exception: Seven Japanese maples dot the hillside above his house. We're waiting for the maples to change color and provide pops of red that we can photograph for my story. Nature will not be rushed! So we probably have another week or two to go. Meanwhile, Charles is enjoying fall in this contemplative garden, which he shared with me last week. We rambled along the stone and pebble paths, zigging and zagging around the hill, listened to the soft ripples of the ponds and waterfalls that he designed and dug out along a natural swale, and observed the changing light through the trees. He's made this a place of meditation, working with the contour and character of his land. Japanese? Yes. But gardeners everywhere know this language.

Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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