A month after returning from this wonderful trip, I've had a chance to reflect on what I've learned and how it will impact me. I've also added photos, especially to the later days of the trip. If you have read the blog in the past, you may want to just click through the photos.
First, I've learned to appreciate the history behind this art form. While the designers of gardens back in the 1600s may not have realized the value and importance of their work, we do, today! We can see their influence in gardens designed more recently.
Second, Douglas emphasized over and over how the design of a garden is important, but more important is the upkeep. My final photo is symbolic of all it really takes--boots, a broom, and a rake. Of course, it's more complex than that, but Mr. Saito at the Kyoto Heian Hotel maintains the beauty of his garden daily with these simple tools (in addition to professional pruning, electrical and plumbing assistance).
Third, I have a greater appreciation for the impact that gardens can have on us. We should make them a part of our daily existence, not just visit them on special occasions. We are truly part of nature.
Of course, now I want to go back to Kyoto and study more and visit more of the gardens. I'm interested in seeing contemporary gardens to determine how they reflect the designs that began so long ago.
Lastly, this trip made me appreciate the Portland Japanese Garden even more, with its short history but dedicated garden directors and gardeners whose skill and commitment keep it so beautiful.