Homes Magazine - Page 44 - Asian Inspiration (4)

Homes Magazine
- Page 44
Asian Inspiration (4)

— about 12 by 15 feet — is fed by a gushing waterfall and filled with koi. A metal net blankets the pond to keep birds of prey at bay.


“Blue herons used to come and clean me out. They had a picnic,” he says. “I’ve seen them spear the fish with their beaks and eat them.”


The herons are still allowed to feast on the goldfish that swim in a backyard pond, which Boteach allows because “goldfish multiply rapidly.”


Life’s cycle plays out in the garden. Two years ago, he watched a hawk swoop down, grasp a squirrel and fly off.


“I couldn’t believe it happened in my garden,” he says. “Then I thought, ‘This is nature.’ Impermanence is one of the laws of Buddha.”


Frogs don’t bother Boteach, even in spring when their mating calls could wake the dead, much less folks sleeping a few yards away. Hungry deer are something else.


“I fenced the whole yard to keep them out. I was tired of losing my plants,” he says. But deer still creep up the driveway to munch on hydrangeas and the like. To discourage them, he grows mahonia, an eastern Asian shrub with prickly leaves, and the shade-loving but poisonous hellebores.


“It’s hard to grow something and then come home and see it gone,” Boteach says. “But, you know what? There’s enough food here for everyone.”


The garden is a respite for friends and neighbors, who’ll stop by just to stroll through this slice of serenity. Often, they leave with cuttings or seedlings of a favorite plant — and a cautionary word.


“Patience, that’s what I’ve learned,” Boteach says. “These are slow-growing plants; there’s no immediate gratification. See this hinoki? It’s 30 years old and just three feet tall. You must wait for things to grow. Then you share your knowledge and pass it on to the next person. That’s what makes life beautiful.”