News and Events

Botanical Buzz - Japanese Maple

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Escape from the noise and chaos of the world in the tranquil Japanese tea garden (roji) in Shoyoen, Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden.

The purpose of the roji, which traditionally means alley way or path, is to help release the visitor of their worldly cares and prepare them, mentally and spiritually for the tea ceremony. 

The roji is in two parts, an outer and an inner roji. The Japanese Tea House sits within the inner roji.

The roji is designed to re-create the quiet atmosphere of a retreat deep in the mountains (shinzan-no-tei).  Solitary visitors often seek out the roji to read, meditate or simply allow themselves to re-connect with nature.

A Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) provides a focal point within the inner roji. Although it is at its most striking in autumn, the mass of new, distinctively-shaped, pretty green leaves celebrate the arrival of spring in the roji.

Japanese maples are native to Japan, North Korea, South Korea, eastern Mongolia, and southeast Russia. They are small, slow growing deciduous trees with a graceful shape and beautiful autumn colour. 

They have been cultivated in Japan for centuries and there are many different cultivars with widely varying leaf shape and colouration. Near the bridge in the Sensory Gardens are fine examples of Acer palmatum Atropurpureum which has magnificent bronze-purple, feathery foliage.

In Japan, Japanese maples are of significant cultural importance and strongly associated with “peace” and “calm”. They are often found in traditional Japanese gardens where they may be aesthetically pruned to accentuate their natural beauty.

Japanese maples regularly feature in Japanese literature, legends, poetry and art. The maple leaf and the cherry blossom, symbolising autumn and spring respectively, are the most important seasonal motifs in Japan.

Shake off your worldly cares and re-connect with nature at Shoyoen, Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden.
                                                                                                                                By Ian McAlister & Karen Hagan