Launch of new Japanese Garden course with renowned landscaper, Robert Ketchell – Summer 2018

Mar 02 2018

Make your garden a sanctuary at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons

It would be difficult to find a poet who hasn’t opined on the changing seasons, it is equally relevant for gardeners, be they amateur or professional, who wait with eager anticipation for the first signs that the earth is thawing.

Raymond Blanc OBE is no different and along with his garden team, waits patiently for spring to arrive, taking time to remember the different destinations he has visited and how these trips during different times of the year have coloured his visions.

When East and West meet

His visit to Japan in the early nineties was one such occasion, which ignited his imagination and inspired him to create a Japanese Garden in the environs of the 15th century Belmond Le Manoir.  Captivated by the Japanese tradition of Hanami, a longstanding practice of welcoming spring (held between March and May), which is also known as the ‘cherry blossom festival’, Blanc wanted to bring part of his Japanese adventure back to the UK.

The Japanese Tea Garden at Belmond Le Manoir entices guests to become more mindful as they explore, crossing the oak bridge to find sanctuary and was influenced by Taoist, Buddhist and Shinto traditions.  The /2 journey that Raymond and team took to create this scape is perfectly captured in his book Le Manoir and now you can find out more about the traditions and practices involved with creating a Japanese garden.

Working with leading expert, Robert Ketchell, landscaper and gardener, who has dedicated most of his life to learning more about the art of gardening, both he and Raymond explored the possibilities of East and West joining hearts.  Ketchell studied in Japan and discovered that gardens are an art form at the deepest level, a vital healing space that can help with the stresses and strains of modern living.

Tradition and innovation

The new Japanese Garden course at Belmond Le Manoir will explore Japanese garden traditions – from their origins to the present day, covering typical and atypical influences, which have stood the test of time. Giving guests an overview of gardening practices over the last 1000 years, it will also juxtapose practical considerations with the joy of the freedom of design expression, which when married together create scapes that are truly unforgettable.

Guests will also get the chance to take a walk around the Japanese Tea Garden with Robert, who will explain the importance of utilising traditional Japanese design principles in order to create the perfect space outside of Japan.

They’ll also get the chance to create a small ‘trayscape garden’ using gravel, small stones and plants to build confidence and skill.

The Japanese Garden course at Belmond Le Manoir takes place on the 24 July 2018 and 21 August 2018 and costs £235 per person.  The day includes tea and coffee on arrival, materials and guidance to create a ‘trayscape’ garden and a delicious lunch with accompanying wines, coffee and petit fours.


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