A journey through space, time, and aesthetics
The defining feature of the Humes garden is its path, inspired by the intimacy of a mountain trail and based on a Buddhist metaphor for life’s journey. The ascent up the mountain and the twists and turns of the path represent the process of self transcendence. Arriving at the mountain peak, the view is unobstructed; “enlightened being” has been realized.
The path down the mountain represents the return to the valley and the actualization of “enlightened being” in life. The journey ends at the tea house by the pond, a respite from the travails of everyday life.
The winding progression of the path creates an experience that unfolds one step at a time, heightening the sense of discovery. Existing land contours and the garden’s major structural elements—old-growth trees—determined the path’s direction and expansion and contraction of the path and the placement of stepping stones encourage visitors to take pause and change pace as the traverse the garden. Transitional stages of the garden experience are marked by three rustic gateways that provide sheltered vantage points and convey passage.
The garden’s palette includes plants repeated throughout the landscape to convey a sense of naturalness. Plants are used more for their relation to the whole, rather than for their individual beauty. The garden’s native forest remains mainly intact, but selective editing creates greater visual access and an immediate and direct connection to its distinct form and topography. Some volunteer plants are left in place to heighten the garden’s wild beauty and to highlight nature’s ecological processes. The understory is composed of a mix of native trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants and their Asian counterparts.
Flowers are used sparingly as subtle accents and seasonal grace notes, while signature Asian plants provide the most significant Japanese touch. Bamboo, Japanese cedars, Hinoki cypresses, Japanese maples, ferns, and mosses grow throughout the garden; with moss serving as the most important groundcover, providing continuity, depth, and a sense of age. Shades of green are emphasized and evergreens are given precedence as they provide the garden’s year-round structure, depth, and a sense of tranquility.