Japanese Tea Gardens – Create Your Own Japanese Sanctuary | gardening

What is the difference between a Japanese tea garden and a Japanese garden? A tea garden is often associated with residences and are essentially paths leading to a Japanese tea house. They are often much more secluded and private, reflecting the process of leaving our ordinary world and lifestyle and entering into a special a place.Many Japanese gardens are meant to be viewed from a certain perspective or observation spot, while tea gardens are often more geared toward the experience of walking through a garden and taking in the atmosphere. Of course there are strolling gardens (Kai-yu shiki), but again the process is different. The best view of a tea garden is after passing through the entrance gate and entering the tea house grounds. Machi-ai, or waiting benches, are also great places to sit and take in the experience before continuing on the tea house.In a tea garden, or Roji in Japanese, the detailed placement of stepping-stones is meant to keep your focus on the ground, not letting the mind wander to far from the path. On a practical level, these stepping-stones, which are raised above the soil line, are there to keep your feet from getting dirty after it rains.These Serene Gardens are meant to bring about the image of a mountain pass or a stroll up to a hermit’s house deep in the woods. It often conflicts with the more refined, elegant, and tightly pruned Japanese garden often seen from a temple porch, imperial palace, or art museum. It doesn’t mean that there is no pruning done, but the selected shrubs and trees are pruned a little more naturally.In general, I would suggest that Japanese gardens tend to be about 75% evergreen (plants that keep their leaves all year) and 25% deciduous (plants that loose their leaves in winter). Of the 25% deciduous materials the majority are probably Japanese maple trees. Bright, attention-grabbing flowers are rarely used. Especially in the tea garden, a rustic natural look is desired so flowering trees may be used but still kept to a minimal use. A white flowering Dogwood is a great example of an elegant tree that would fit well in this type of garden. Azaleas are often highly sculpted in the general Japanese garden, but are left a little rougher in a tea garden.Because the focus of a Roji path is on experience, the process of walking through often leads one to smaller outside rooms, creating a small journey for the person. There are often many curves, which intrigue and keep you guessing as to what is to come around the next corner.That being said, contemporary tea gardens sometimes push the limits of what is acceptable in a traditional tea garden. I believe that modern architecture of the Japanese home is also influencing the way many contemporary garden designers create their gardens. In Japan we are seeing more open style tea gardens with less shade. A more modern garden may very well compliment an avant-garde Japanese tea house.Authentic Japanese garden landscape companies such as Serene Gardens are great places to look for ideas on Japanese gardening. A good site will have Japanese garden tips, ideas, and products that will help you build the type of garden or interior space that fits your lifestyle.

Investment and Growth Opportunities Emerging In Greece | investing

Greece is a beautiful European country for vacations, but it is also an exciting place for investment and business expansion. The geographic location puts businesses in touch with an active European market ready for high quality products and services from around the world.This consumer market is growing steadily and is currently growing with upwards of 140 million buyers from the Eastern Mediterranean and Southeast Europe. There are no trade barriers to these consumers and Greece is a member of the Eurozone and the European Union. If you are interested in expanding your business to a new area of the world, you will find that some sectors of business have extremely competitive advantages in Greece.When the Olympic Games came to Athens in 2004, investments were made in the travel and communication infrastructures. This investment has benefitted the people of Greece and has made the country ripe for investment. The natural resources found within the country also contribute to its emergence as a hot investment destination.New Investment Legislation Affecting Real EstateIn order to maximize profit on the emerging Greece market, the country has adopted new investment legislation known as the Strategic Investments programme. The most recent legislations passed were designed to stimulate economic recovery within the country by offering incentives for “strategic investments.” One area that will be impacted by these incentives is residential permits for real estate.The Strategic Investments programme will allow select real estate investments to be fast tracked with administrative assistance, favourable conditions for planning, and other entitlements while proceeding through the permit process. In order to qualify for this entitlement, an investment needs to be deemed suitable by a government committee setup to evaluate investments.Another change is the offer of a long-term residence permit visa for third-country citizens who invest more than 250,000 Euros in real estate. This visa will allow the investors and their family members to travel freely between Greece and Schengen Area. This Fast Track legislation is something worth taking advantage of, especially since the real estate prices in Greece are currently bottoming out.Progress and Change Happening NowDecisions for global investment are typically made by weighing a variety of factors, including:

Stability

Timing

Location

Potential

Opportunity
Today’s investors are paying more attention to Greece due to the massive structural overhauls happening within the country. The people of Greece have demanded change and progress for many years, and today they are starting to benefit form those demands. The country is becoming friendlier to business, and many international investors are eager to get involved with the transformation of the country.The World Bank and the World Economic Forum have recently released studies indicating Greek progress in terms of eliminating structural barriers and overcoming regulatory shortcomings. These studies also highlighted positive changes made in the education system, technological preparedness and infrastructure throughout the country.When you combine these positive changes with the Fast Track legislation currently passed for strategic real estate investors, it is easy to understand why the country is seen as a hotspot for investment.Greek Growth In Other SectorsThe tourism has grown substantially in 2013, pulling in upwards of 17.5 million visitors by the start of 2014. This shows a dramatic boost in confidence on the part of tourists, and that is leading to even more interest from investors.As tourism and real estate investment boom, Greek is also becoming known as a geostrategic location for the logistics sector. Many large companies are moving their operations into the country, and that is only encouraging more growth and more investment due to favorable forecasts for the long term and impressive measurable benefits for businesses. Some of the well-known companies currently investing in Greece include:

COSCO

HP

Phillip Morris

ZTE Corporation
Why would these companies and many other consider moving their operations to Greece? They are investing in the reformation and progress being made and the promise for the future that comes along with the Greek transformation. Investors from America, China, Germany, France and many other countries are now confident in the country’s ability to emerge as a substantial world market, and they are showing their support in the form of major investments.Innovation In All SectorsIt is the tremendous promise and potential of Greece that continues to draw attention from the global investment community. With time, the country will fully reestablish trust with all major investing countries in the world due to the substantial opportunities for profitable investments within the reformed country.The long-term goal for Greece is to restore the economy through innovation in all sectors. The transition to an economy based on knowledge is underway, and the economy is being completely restructured in order to bring greater investments and as much profitable change as possible.For example, there is great excitement over the TAP pipeline. This pipeline was designed to bring natural gas through Greece and has started the era of energy within the country. There is also great excitement over the hydrocarbon deposit search which started with implementation of RES. The results of both of these projects are incredibly optimistic.Dedication to Business2013 was the year of reform, with 18% more reforms being passed by the end of the year. This is the second highest percentage of reforms achieved since the financial crisis erupted. That shows that the hard work dedicated to creating a friendly business environment is starting to pay off for Greece.Business was traditionally handicapped in this country due to regulations that worked against businesses and structural problems. As those issues are combatted with modern reforms, the culture of the country is coming back to life and businesses are thriving.The Doing Business report released by the World Bank each year ranked Greece number 72 in the world for 2014. That is an excellent improvement from the rank of 89 which Greek received for 2013. This ranking includes 189 countries and uses 10 measurements to determine how easy it is to set up and operate a business within those countries. The research includes start-up costs for new businesses and how long it takes to establish a new business with the countries.The report also ranks countries in terms of smaller categories. In the category of establishing a business, Greece ranked 147 for 2013 but jumped up to number 36 for 2014. Greece was also ranked number 52 in the category of trading across borders and 80 in the category of protecting investors. This reflects the substantial change occurring within the country and the business-friendly culture emerging from those changes.You can also see the reformation of Greece in the improved export performance. A national exports strategy has been adopted with a goal of improving the export of goods to 16% of GDP before 2015. There is hope that this can be accomplished despite the fiscal adjustment, overarching reform and devastating austerity that has occurred in recent years.Light on the HorizonAccording to all recent data, Greece is definitely emerging from the crisis with positive reformation. While the Greek people have gone through substantial strife and the country has been in a state of decline for many years, there is light on the horizon. There is hope for a profitable future as growth continues in all sectors and investment picks up.In order for the trends toward positive change to continue and a successful reformation to occur, international investment is needed in Greece. The privatization programme continues to unfold, and there are tremendous investment opportunities in all industries, including real estate, logistics, tourism and infrastructure.For example, the Port of Piraeus is destined to become a European world leader in the logistics and transportation hub. In the next several months alone, a long list of projects will begin due to the push for privatization occurring within the country.The mission trip of the Prime Minister of Greece, Antonis Samaras and his delegation of business leaders who traveled in May to China, can be considered as a sign of great things to come in the future for Greece. More than 450 business-to-business meetings occurred during this trip, and a tremendous show of support was given in the form of a long list of signed agreements. Chinese investors showed great support for and confidence in the Greek economy, and they have committed to both trade and investment.American investors have also shown interest in investing in the Greek economy, as was witnessed by the August meeting between the Prime Minister and United States President Barack Obama. Discussions on this trip covered a variety of concerns and American investors showed interest in exploring all sectors of business within Greece. This shows how wide-reaching the investment opportunities in this country currently are for international investors.Keep Your Eyes on the FutureThe next few months will be telling for the Greek economy. Interest from international investors will continue to mount, and many successes stemming from the reformation efforts should be witnessed. This will demonstrate how much confidence international investors actually have in this emerging economy.Greek was once a consumption economy, but it is now becoming an economy reliant on export and global investment. The economic reforms currently being made will push this economy beyond the devastation of recent financial crisis and help it overcome for the sake of the Greek people.Private wealth is increasing not only in Greece, but in many other emerging countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China. These economies are becoming mobile and are emerging on the world market rapidly. This not only makes Greece a great place to invest your money and expand your business, but it also makes this country one of the best places to live.The Greek are happy, motivated and productive people because of the favorable climate that brings sunshine most of the year. The natural landscapes of the country are breathtaking, and the hygiene and health conditions of the country are favorable for all humans. The local residents love where they live, and they pleasantly coexist with the many tourists exploring this corner of the world.All trends point up for Greece, and that is why so many international investors are currently looking to this country for investment, business success and even migration.


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