Fencing Lessons From Japan

The best of fencing, at the Japanese Garden.

By Kristin Belz February 11, 2013

The Portland Japanese Garden is celebrating its 50th birthday this year, and instead of bringing it an ice cream cake with fifty candles on it, we're making a series of visits to the garden to look and learn from what is on display there everyday. Last week we took a tour of paving; this week we focus on fences. 

Like the paving we saw at the garden, the amazing variety of fences use just a few materials – bamboo, wood, and twine to tie together the pieces. But in the Japanese tradition, these limited materials yield unlimited creativity, with repetition (practice in fence making over years) and careful attention to each individual site. The fences use the same materials, but no two fences are alike.

Still to come: talking with the gardeners about philosophy, knot-tying, and life at – and in – the garden.

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