viennabelle: (Harem Girl)
[personal profile] viennabelle
Well, I'm in recovery from an insane month and a half. The fiscal year has changed. I got off work today at 5 pm for the first time in 9 weeks...

Last weekend, when rain, clammy coldness and the swine flu stood in the way of getting off to the Renaissance Festival, I headed to a local aquatic plant club (GWAPA) meeting. The funny thing--this started as DH's hobby--but slowly I've got engaged in it. I was truly inspired several years ago when DH organized a big convention for the hobby and I got to meet--and watch--legendary aquascaper/photographer Takashi Amano in action making an aquascape (and apparently his staff liked me too--photos of me appeared several times in his Japanese aquarium magazine <G>).
Amano's approach is drawn from the art of Japanese garden design--iwagumi. Since then, I've immersed myself in practically every Japanese gardening book I could find--and while I don't really understand the cultural/philosophical context (lots of Confucianism mumbo jumbo mixed in with deliberately esoteric Japanese philosophy references)--I have managed a rudimentary understanding of three rock design.

It involves a "father" rock, a "mother" rock and a "baby" rock, selected and positioned in an asymmetrical manner. To keep it balanced, elements are structured using a golden triangle--though in a garden, the effort is to bring this arrangement from multiple (360 degrees) viewing perspectives. It's challenging.

That's why a little tank (a "nano") is good for me. I'm just not ready for five rocks (n.b., there is never four rocks, God forbid...).
Despite my learning difficulties, I love making and viewing beautiful miniature landscapes. Interestingly, the Amano approach has not appealed as much to DH--but he loves that I dabble in it.

A year and a half ago, I bought a fancy 5 gallon rimless tank from Japan, along with what is considered a high-tech approach to growing underwater plants: a C02 system, a very good filter, a high powered light and lots of chemicals. By the way--before the fertilizers make folks squeamish, bear in mind one thing: there is no runoff, so the terrestrial concerns about contamination are different (although I would not want to eat these plants). All of these chemicals are nutrients the plants need to grow and can't get out of tap water. The art comes in getting the right balance between them.

Once I was able to assemble everything I needed to plant it, I started experimenting--and found I could get decent results. However, I'd caught a bit of blue green algae and in the work insanity this fall, I let it slide. Sunday, with a bundle of plants bought at the club auction, I realized it was the opportunity to start something totally new. So, I took everything out and replanted it all. Here is a quick snap of what I ended up with on Sunday (btw, it's clearer when you click into the actual shot):

Not bad. Yes, there are little problems I see with the rocks--but I am pretty satisfied. In a few weeks, the plants will green up and grow in...the water will settle and I can add in fish. I will have a new underwater garden. In my living room.

And in the aftermath of so much work, that is a very good thing!

Date: 2009-10-03 04:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That's lovely - even without fish!


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