Japanese Tea Gardens – Create Your Own Japanese Sanctuary | gardening

What is the difference between a Japanese tea garden and a Japanese garden? A tea garden is often associated with residences and are essentially paths leading to a Japanese tea house. They are often much more secluded and private, reflecting the process of leaving our ordinary world and lifestyle and entering into a special a place.Many Japanese gardens are meant to be viewed from a certain perspective or observation spot, while tea gardens are often more geared toward the experience of walking through a garden and taking in the atmosphere. Of course there are strolling gardens (Kai-yu shiki), but again the process is different. The best view of a tea garden is after passing through the entrance gate and entering the tea house grounds. Machi-ai, or waiting benches, are also great places to sit and take in the experience before continuing on the tea house.In a tea garden, or Roji in Japanese, the detailed placement of stepping-stones is meant to keep your focus on the ground, not letting the mind wander to far from the path. On a practical level, these stepping-stones, which are raised above the soil line, are there to keep your feet from getting dirty after it rains.These Serene Gardens are meant to bring about the image of a mountain pass or a stroll up to a hermit’s house deep in the woods. It often conflicts with the more refined, elegant, and tightly pruned Japanese garden often seen from a temple porch, imperial palace, or art museum. It doesn’t mean that there is no pruning done, but the selected shrubs and trees are pruned a little more naturally.In general, I would suggest that Japanese gardens tend to be about 75% evergreen (plants that keep their leaves all year) and 25% deciduous (plants that loose their leaves in winter). Of the 25% deciduous materials the majority are probably Japanese maple trees. Bright, attention-grabbing flowers are rarely used. Especially in the tea garden, a rustic natural look is desired so flowering trees may be used but still kept to a minimal use. A white flowering Dogwood is a great example of an elegant tree that would fit well in this type of garden. Azaleas are often highly sculpted in the general Japanese garden, but are left a little rougher in a tea garden.Because the focus of a Roji path is on experience, the process of walking through often leads one to smaller outside rooms, creating a small journey for the person. There are often many curves, which intrigue and keep you guessing as to what is to come around the next corner.That being said, contemporary tea gardens sometimes push the limits of what is acceptable in a traditional tea garden. I believe that modern architecture of the Japanese home is also influencing the way many contemporary garden designers create their gardens. In Japan we are seeing more open style tea gardens with less shade. A more modern garden may very well compliment an avant-garde Japanese tea house.Authentic Japanese garden landscape companies such as Serene Gardens are great places to look for ideas on Japanese gardening. A good site will have Japanese garden tips, ideas, and products that will help you build the type of garden or interior space that fits your lifestyle.

Online Poker Tips – Your Bad Diet Is Costing You Money at the Poker Tables | Poker tips

Those of us who have chosen online poker as our full time career will understand how easy it is to get into a lazy routine sitting in front of our dual monitors every day 6 days a week, with diet consisting of sandwiches for lunch and Chinese take-aways for dinner and all other junk fund in between as snacks. Not only is this incredibly unhealthy for us in the long run, it will also affect how we perform on a daily basis at the poker tables.The problem with a diet high in refined foods is the sugar rushes, cravings and low energy levels plus the additional ‘bonus’ of gaining extra weight when we don’t pursue any outdoor activities to burn off those large calorie intakes. However exercise is a different article for a different day. Today I’m going to focus on food and explain from my personal experiences what I found helpful diet-wise.I began to notice my energy levels were dropping recently when I fully tore my ACL in my left knee, so I was unable to go on my three times a week jog. Once that occurred I found myself eating more food which was very easy to prepare. Food that doesn’t take long to prepare usually means it is not that good for you. Any food that you just take a wrapper off and put in a microwave is simply not good for you!I found that my usual 2 poker sessions of 4 hours per day were becoming very hard to complete. I would end up shutting down my poker tables after two hours as my concentration levels were dropping alarmingly quick. So I decided that if I can’t go running at least I can make an effort with my diet.I cut out as much wheat as possible from my diet and only allowed myself 2 slices of whole – wheat brown bread per day (Before I used to eat up to 10 slices of white bread a day!). I replaced normal pasta with gluten free pasta made out of rice flour. You cant even notice the difference! I gave up alcohol unless for a special occasion but usually about once a month on average.I then looked at my red meat intake and reduced this down to 1 serving of red meat per week and replace all my other dishes with either poultry or fish. Now I love eating curries so this worked out well for me as I could prepare lots of healthy curries using chicken, turkey etc but I also wanted to increase my intake of vegetables on a daily basis. I had the idea of eating raw carrot sticks during a poker session to keep my energy levels up. Vegetables are slow energy releasing highly complex foods which are great for keeping hunger pangs away.However I got sick of eating the raw carrot sticks so instead I drummed up a recipe for a raw vegetable smoothie which I could drink during a long poker session. Well all I can say is that the addition of the raw vegetable smoothie alone boosted my energy to a level I had not experienced since my childhood days.The ingredients are simple1 small head of lettuce
Large handful of broccoli
Large handful of cauliflower
Large handful of carrots
Large handful of sweet potato
Large handful of celery
Cup of organic apple juice
Ground cinnamon for extra flavouring (as much or as little as you want)
Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
3/4 pint of waterChop all the vegetables into smaller pieces so the blender can handle it and blend on medium power for 30 seconds and high power for 60 seconds. Add more water if the consistency is too thick. This will make about 1.5 pints of fresh raw vegetable smoothie and store in the fridge and serve chilled. Drink some for breakfast and then also during your poker sessions.You will notice the difference immediately. Your mind will stay alert for longer, you will have a more positive mind set and your cravings for sugary snacks will diminish. All this means you will play your poker ‘A’ game for longer which equates to more money in your pocket in the long run. I hope you have enjoyed my unconventional online poker tips!


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