Homes Magazine - Page 38 - Asian Inspiration

Homes Magazine
- Page 38
Asian Inspiration

by mike klingaman Baltimore at Home
photos by amy daVis


Step out David Boteach’s front door and a gentle world beckons — one filled with wondrous plants, waterfalls and whimsical bronze busts of fauna peeking over the leafy flora. Here sit two frogs shyly holding hands beside a lily pond; there stands a blue heron looking past a cinnamon-skinned paperbark maple toward a pool of pot-bellied koi. Peppered throughout the pebble-strewn paths, beneath graceful hinoki cypress and a stunning weeping Atlas cedar are a half-dozen stone Buddhas, their benign smiles affirming what is clear to all:


Life is good in a Japanese garden


“I could spend a whole day here,” Boteach, 66, says of the seductive landscape fronting his suburban Reisterstown home. “It nourishes your soul. You sit, turn off the external dialogue and shut everything down. The mind goes to rest; you rejuvenate.”


More than 35 years in the making, the garden remains “a work in progress,” says Boteach. He’s constantly tweaking it, shifting some plants, removing tired ones and scouring both garden centers and the internet in search of rare trees and shrubs that would fit his Zen-like theme park.


“It’s my therapy canvas and a labor of love,” he says.


Each morning during the growing season, he’s outside at dawn, pruning and training his slow-growing brood, from the 50 hinoki cypress trees to the 100 Japanese maples whose colors fire up the yard each fall. A plaque nearby reads, “I may sleep in the house but I live in the garden.”


Boteach, who owns a dental laboratory in Owings Mills, had no early ties to Japan or to horticulture. A native of Israel, he grew up poor and immigrated to the United States at age 21. He married and settled in a quiet neighborhood with a spacious front yard— of grass.


Soon enough, turf gave way to tranquility. “I studied Japanese culture, read books on the gardens at their temples and it drew me in,” Boteach says. “What’s important in life is serenity