Podcast 89: Tokachi Millennium Forest with Dan Pearson & Midori Shintani

In this episode, I am very pleased to have a double interview with Dan Pearson and Midori Shintani, the two key horticultural forces driving the Tokachi Millennium Forest project in Hokaido, Japan and co-authors of the book Tokachi Millennium Forest: Pioneering a New Way of Gardening with Nature. I speak to Midori first, then Dan, about this vast, 1000 year project, their hopes and intentions for now and the future and about their own places with the timeline of the forest.

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What we talk about:

The history of the site of the Tokachi Millennium Forest

The idea behind the project

The challenges on site, posed by flora and some big fauna!

Influences on the design

The future of the site

About Dan Pearson & Midori Shintani

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 and this was achieved along with much more. 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 has its heart in Japan’s long-held respect for nature and its head in contemporary ecological planting design. 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.


Tokachi Millennium Forest: Pioneering a New Way of Gardening by Dan Pearson & Midori Shintani – Filbert Press, 2020


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