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Places of tranquillity

If you just follow your path without looking left or right, this means to me there is no development. The ability to create and express something is in every human being, but not everybody realizes it. I am interested in many kinds of things beside pottery, as Asian arts, fancy music by Arvo Pärt for example, everything concerning fitness sports up to medical issues and most of all horticulture.

Sometimes people ask me what it has to do with ceramic and pottery. I think everything is connected with everything. All these things together determine the development of body and soul.

Men are always like little boys who like to play. I like to play in the garden. As it is not possible in an own garden which doesn't exist, I enjoy playing in other gardens and so it lead me to horticulture.



In a time when all things are meticulously planned, timetables standardized and even creativity becomes stressful, it is extremely important to visit places or rooms which exude tranquillity, relaxation and harmony and help you find peace of mind.

A garden for example can fulfill the needs of modern people surprisingly well. It can be a place of peace, a source of new strength for body and soul. To create such a hideaway for yourself, an exact analysis and preparation is essential. You need to be sure what you want to achieve with the garden. There are many ways to express yourself, from rococo to country garden styles.

It is new in our culture although it has been familiar to people for thousands of years - the meditation garden. If you talk about it many people think it is something mysteriously exotic which is at home only in Asia and defined by tradition and religion. If you take a closer look at the meditation- or Japanese garden it is surprising how familiar its architecture, design and contents are, the elements rock, sand, moss, plants, trees and water in their combination. All those elements ar not especially Chinese or Japanese. Viewing these gardens you inevitably reach a quiescent state of body and mind. This is the key to the mental gate of these gardens. They represent universal aesthetics. This aesthetics are understood by all people around the world. Everybody is receptive for these natural aesthetics, everyone can understand it in his own way and through his eyes enters a world whose representative he is in micro- and macrocosm, with his body and soul.

At such powerful places the human being sees all things of life reflected. He sees the tides in spring, summer, autumn and winter, life and decay all the same. Here he bethinks himself of these things which lead him to a wondrously calm inner state. In this timeless feeling the power of life starts floating involuntarily inwards from outside. Like in a deep recreative sleep, but completely awake and concentrated, body and soul can be recharged like a battery.

The meditation- or Japanese garden means also to experience nature in little space. Even on two square metres it is possible to create such a gem or recreation place. Inner courtyards are predestined for such a garden. But beware of just copying such a garden from a Japanese example. It could easily become an alien part in ones own house that provokes more rejection than admiration.

Among the great arts like music, painting, sculpture etc. is without doubt also horticulture. Like painting or making music, horticulture must be learned, intuition is a gift. The experienced horticulturist will include the environment of the garden. Landscape and house will form a unit with the garden to create. Knowledge about Chinese painting is helpful: "Looking down from above or looking up from deep down are important composing and space-creating  methods in horticulture." The people living there must not be forgotten. Older people for example want a garden with little maintenance effort. Everything must fit.

Here are some selected pictures of large and very small gardens I designed in the last years. These gardens were built just by me and the owner, without heavy equipment.

Foto: Helmut Rüger

Foto: Helmut Rüger

Foto: Helmut Rüger

Foto: Helmut Rüger

Foto: Helmut Rüger


These photographs show „The Garden of the Flowing Stones“


- being without a beginning, coming


being without an ending, going


the river in the bamboo grove -


This is a dry river. The secret lies in the alignment of the stones. The first important thing is that the river comes out under an imaginary bridge and disappears into a cavity, coming and going without a beginning and ending.


The second thing is that I have placed the bigger pebbles edgewise and in every curve of the river the stones change their direction. The fascinating effect of this is that no matter where you stand and watch, you see a different flowing pattern each time.



here are some photographs of a garden construction in its various phases.

This is how the garden looked before.


This garden will be a part of the outside section of a Reiki- and Yoga centre and will be used for this purpose. The only requirements of the garden owner were a wooden deck on which Yoga exercises can be practised and somehow a Yin-Yang symbol.

A garden plan must always be designed first.


Then the construction phases begin.


I have the "Yin-Yang" symbol built into a staircase

The wooden deck for the Yoga exercises was built.

Waterfall with small collection pond.

Small bridge over a dry plain.

The first little party

Now at least ten years must go by before the garden does not look so new anymore. Nature will complete the work.

Translation: Heike van Gunst  

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