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One of the greatest Japanese Zen monk garden designers, Muso Soseki, lived during the turbulent Kamakura period from 1275 to 1351.  Creator of many highly influential timeless gardens such as Saiho-ji (Moss Temple Garden), he was renowned for developing the art of traditional Japanese Zen gardening.  Throughout his life and practice, Soseki believed strongly in the concept of ‘Flower Mountain’.


A poetic image, Flower Mountain is used to summon up a vision of an ideal place and time, to open people’s minds to meditation and the pursuit of understanding, to the World of Taihei – The Great Peace.  Soseki believed that you must trust in the existence of this place, that it was crucial to trust in the hope of peace.




Project Team: Haberer Group Engineering, Phase One Landscapes, Semple Brown Ar­chitects, Spectrum General Contractors, TMW Stonemasons, Sadafumi Uchiyama/Advisor, & Zen Center of Denver/Client

Safely enclosed in this small and complex garden oasis, paths meander offering peaceful contemplation, quiet places to sit and meditate, and private areas for ceremony. Completed in 2020, Desirae D. Wood led the landscape design and construction of the temple landscape and karesansui zendo garden (dry landscape meditation garden) around the new temple building using local stone, native and adaptive plants, and is currently aiding its establishment and maintenance.

Seated on a raised deck which runs the length of the meditation hall, one gazes across a high mountain dry lake where majestic stone peaks rise from the water’s edge. Spiraling out from a hidden source within the clefted rocks, a thin dry water­fall cascades down and gently flows into the placid lake. The lake’s edge stretch­es the full distance of the scene disappearing at times into small coves. Subtle elevated stone paths lead across the golden lake; one curls behind the mountain peaks to their base forested green where a hidden shrine awaits. A second path passes beneath the far side of the mountains to the mouth of the waterfall, while yet another leads to a luscious alpine purple and white flower meadow. A sense of nature within the city; Flower Mountain offers a philosophical respite, an ease and vitality one can absorb.

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