Tokachi Millennium Forest: pioneering a new way of gardening with nature

Twenty years ago, Dan Pearson was invited to make a garden at the 240-hectare Tokachi Millennium Forest in Hokkaido, Japan. Part of the intention was to entice city dwellers to reconnect with nature and improve land that had been lost to intensive agriculture. By tuning into the physical and cultural essence of the place and applying a light touch in terms of cultivation, this world-class designer created a remarkable place which is led by Japan’s long-held respect for nature and its head in contemporary ecological planting design.

Tokachi Millennium Forest: pioneering a new way of gardening with nature Dan Pearson and Midori Shintani £40 │ ISBN: 9781999734541 │ 24th September 2020

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The bold, uplifting sweep of the Meadow Garden mixes garden plants with natives while the undulating landforms of the Earth Garden bring sculptural connection with the mountains beyond. Under the skilful custodianship of Midori Shintani, the garden has evolved beautifully to reflect principles that lie at the heart of Japanese culture: observation of seasonal changes, practical tasks carried out with care and an awareness of the interconnectedness of all living things.

This beautiful, instructive book allows us all to experience something of the Tokachi effect, gain expert insights into how to plant gardens that feel right for their location, and reconnect with the land and wildlife that surround us.

Listen to Michael McCoy and Dan Pearson in conversation here and find out more about the Tokachi Millennium Forest project.

“The Tokachi Millennium Forest is genuinely exciting and profoundly creative in its intimate embrace of the cultivated and the wild.” – Fergus Garrett

“I am in awe of this project and the entire Tokachi team whose foresight, integrity, respect for nature and sensitivity to landscape is played out on the grandest of scales,  but the brilliance is in the detail and the invitation to traverse bridges, pause, be humbled by plants and healed by the natural world is truly transformative.” – Arit Anderson

“Dan is one of the most thoughtful garden designers I know and one of the few who understands the future of our gardens. His plant knowledge, aesthetics and taste speak through everything he designs and the Tokachi Millennium Forest deserves to be known by a wider public.” – Piet Oudolf

The book … is a gentle exercise  in suggesting a different approach, not just to garden-making, but to the way we view nature, perhaps even towards a simpler, and more thoughtful way of living. ” – Mary Keen, The Daily Telegraph

“A masterclass in naturalistic planting. ” –– Annie Gatti, Gardens Illustrated

A detailed and exacting read, it throws light on how to choose plants that coexist happily and echo the natural environment, and how to take a gentle approach to their management. – Paula McWaters, Country Living

It’s so good to see a book of such high quality, with design, images, content, paper etc and one that’s so thoughtful and interesting to read. I thought I would love visiting the Millennium Forest and it has already exceeded my expectations with what I have seen and read here. – Claire Takacs

Treat yourself to some forest time by tuning into this beautiful, meditative film, shot on site by Ben Dickey and Huw Morgan.