On a recent trip to Japan I visited Katsura Rikyu, the Imperial villa. Our equivalent may be Chequers. This was my second visit to the garden and it has to be one of the best in world.

I cannot say what the material is made from as the translation did not come across clearly enough to understand. They use this construction to protect Cycads (Cycas revoluta). Cycads are a bit at odds with the concept that Japanese gardens are trying convey. Yet they valued the plants as gifts from and as a inference to, their more southerly islands so that in a few very traditional Japanese gardens you get these wonderful installations during the winter.

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    Part of my extraordinary enjoyment in this work is the wonderful places it takes me. I have been lucky enough to see some not many do and that many would like to. A recent project has made a new entry into my top ten workplaces. We are implementing the first phase in what I hope will become a multi-layered garden landscape built considerately over a few years.