When you tour a Japanese garden led by a wonderful 20 year old dog, your wanderings are slow and considered, but that's how the Japanese would want it, I think. Slow, considered, restful, quiet, peaceful, relaxing. Yes, definitely the right way to wander.
Boston and I have been friends for around 15 of his 20 years. He's now elderly and frail, but can still smell chicken from the other end of the house and manage a very loud bark when his food bowl needs replenishing. He's almost blind and very doddery, but he was a fun tour guide on my visit to Toowoomba.
I've known his slave for much longer. They make a quizzical pair. Giant man, small dog. Dedicated to each other. I love them both more than I can measure.
Together we explored the Ju Raku En, The Toowoomba Japanese Garden, at the University of Southern Queensland.
Ju Raku En - long life and happiness: Boston epitomises the garden's ethos.
The gates are red and welcoming.
The paths narrow, leading to who knows where.
The vistas are spectacular.
It's hard to know why the lake was named Crowd of Ducks Lake.
One family captures our interest.
The Jonathon Livingston duckling of the family (Every family has one!) explores the lake alone, oblivious of the rest of the family's route. Brave, young thing.
One, dad I think, offers a ballet display.
Apparently there are turtles here too, lots of them, but they dig into the mud for winter.
The gardens are clipped and cropped and trained in that disciplined Japanese way.
Bare branches contrast with the clear winter's sky. The early new growth of some heralding spring.
And there is bamboo.
And Japanese lanterns decorated by lichen.
And winter blooms.
And raked gravel paths.
And reflections which bring memories of Monet's garden.
And gurgling streams.
Boston certainly knows where to take his visitors,
Will you add these gardens to your bucket list?
Know of any other Japanese gardens I need to visit?
Or gardens in general?