Niwaki with Jake Hobson

Here is a short (seven minutes) video from Jake Hobson, whose book Niwaki is also the name of his business in the United Kingdom.

This is a great thing to watch for those interested in learning a little more about pruning on garden trees.

Jake Hobson offers workshops on pruning. The next one is Tuesday, September 16. For more information, go to his web site and look in the Events category:

Another publication by Hobson is The Art of Creative Pruning: Inventive Ideas for Training and Shaping Trees and Shrubs.

Hobson--Creative Pruning

The cover photo from Jake Hobson’s book Creative Pruning, published in 2011 by Timber Press, is by GAP Photos/Fiona McLeod

Categories: United Kingdom | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

NAJGA conference set for Chicago

The second biennial conference of the North American Japanese Garden Association (NAJGA) will be held October 16-18, 2014, at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

The theme of this year’s conference is “New Pathways: The Role of the Japanese Garden for Society and Self.”

Hoichi Kurisu

Hoichi Kurisu will be the keynote speaker at the second biennial conference of the North American Japanese Garden Association. He will also offer workshops during the three-day conference.

Keynote speaker is Hoichi Kurisu who studied landscape design and construction under Kenzo Ogata in Tokyo, Japan. Kurisu was appointed Landscape Director for the Garden Society of Japan (Nihon Teien Kyokai 1968–1972), during which time he supervised construction of the Portland Japanese Garden.

In 1972 he founded Kurisu International, Inc., which has since designed and built a number of gardens including the Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois, Roji-en Japanese Garden at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, Florida, the Japanese garden at the Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens in Iowa, and the a Japanese garden for Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital, in Lebanon, Oregon, which was the winner of a 2006 Healthcare Environment Award for Landscape Design.

The Morikami Museum

The Morikami Museum in Delray Beach, Florida, is visible from Yamato across a large pond. Roji-en, a collection of Japanese gardens by Hoichi Kurisu is across the bridge and to the left

Kurisu firmly believes that encounters with nature are essential to mental, physical, and spiritual equilibrium. Each of his designs addresses a unique social purpose and reinforces the quality of humanity. By harmonizing light and shade, water and rock, and space with the senses, the Japanese gardens of Hoichi Kurisu restore peace of mind, physical health, and strong and compassionate communities.

His firm presently is at work constructing a new nine-acre Japanese garden in Grand Rapids, Michigan, at the Frederik Meijer Sculpture Garden. The Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden is scheduled to open in June 2015.

An extensive list of workshops covers the basic tracks of horticulture, business culture and human culture with topics such as: Keeping koi healthy, Updating traditional light in the Japanese garden, the new civic garden movement in Japan, Planning for long-term maintenance and renewal, Art of the thatched roof for Japanese garden structures, Art of bamboo, Significance of sukiya style in the Japanese garden, Frank Lloyd Wright and the influence of Japan, Archaeology of the Japanese gardens at Manzanar, Tea in the garden, The Adachi Museum’s operational philosophy, and Using technology to enhance the visitor experience, among other offerings.

The conference also offers pre- and post- conference extended sessions and tours.

The deadline for early registration is July 1. For more information and to register, please refer to the NAJGA web site events page:

NAJGA logo

Categories: Chicago, Glencoe, Illinois | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Second volunteer day completes planting tasks

The second volunteer day at Lili`uokalani Gardens was held Friday, June 13, with participation from Moku `Aina, East Hawaii Master Gardeners, and Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens.

The next work day is scheduled for Friday, July 11. Please contact K.T. Cannon-Eger at (808) 895-8130 if you would like to assist next time.

Thanks to a donation of dwarf mondo grass from Mountain Meadows landscape nursery, a bare patch near the entry path to Shoroan, the tea house, was completed. East Hawaii Master Gardeners Daniel Heitman and Diane Fournier finished the weeding and installed the new plants.

mondo grass

Master Gardeners Daniel Heitman and Diane Fournier install new dwarf mondo grass to a bare spot near the tea house entry
(photo by Bill Eger)

Kenji Kuroshima and Keiji Ichikawa from Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens tackled removal of small banyan trees and roots from the roof of the tea house. They are visible in the mondo grass photo in the background and in the following photo.

tea house roof

banyan roots were causing damage to the shingles on the porch roof of the tea house (photo by Bill Eger)

banyan roots

Kenji, K.T. Keiji and Yoshi celebrate the removal of several banyan roots from the tea house roof (photo by Bill Eger)

Thanks to Ace Hardware (Home Mart) in Kea`au for the donation of gloves, rakes, and trash bags.

bamboo leaves

Members of Moku `Aina Stacey, Kawika and Bernie rake bamboo leaves off a path. Shortly after they left this area, a wedding party showed up and chose this spot for photographs (photo by Bill Eger)

mock orange hedge

Master Gardeners and members of Moku `Aina, Urasenke Tea Society of Hilo, and Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens removed old dead stumps and replanted new mock orange bushes
(photo by Bill Eger)

pine tree shaping

Yoshi Ota prunes a memorial pine planted in 2010 for Jiichi Kogure, Mayor of Shibukawa City
(photo by Bill Eger)

Categories: Hawaii, Hilo | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Gratitude for the gift of the garden

The first volunteer clean-up day — Gratitude for the Gift of the Garden — was held in Lili`uokalani Gardens on the occasion of National Public Gardens Day, Friday May 9.

Joining County Parks Department maintenance workers were members of Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens, Moku Loa Sierra Club, and East Hawai`i Master Gardeners Association. The 17 volunteers assisted County maintenance personnel with chores ranging from stone masonry to painting, weeding to pruning, raking to replanting in three main locations, and fertilizing the azaleas and camellias throughout the gardens.

The next volunteer days are Friday, June 13, and Friday, July 11, from 8 a.m. until noon. Water and some tools will be provided.

For more information and to volunteer, contact K.T. Cannon-Eger at (808) 895-8130.

Casey and Mel begin a project by Shoroan -- the tea house (photo by K.T. Cannon-Eger)

Casey and Mel begin a project by Shoroan — the Urasenke tea house
(photo by K.T. Cannon-Eger)

Mel at the end of this job weeding and replanting dwarf mondo grass (K.T. Cannon-Eger)

Mel at the end of this job weeding and replanting dwarf mondo grass
(K.T. Cannon-Eger)

the pond edge after Keven from East Hawai`i Master Gardeners tackled the weeds  (photo by K.T. Cannon-Eger)

the pond edge after Keven from East Hawai`i Master Gardeners tackled the weeds
(photo by K.T. Cannon-Eger)

Ta Da! Jennifer Ho and piles of rubbish and weeds (photo by K.T. Cannon-Eger)

Jennifer Ho from Moku Loa

Jennifer Ho from Moku Loa Sierra Club tackles a troublesome banyan root on the bridge
(photo by Bill Eger)


after weeds were removed (photo by Bill Eger)

bagging leaves

Michelle from Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens giving “shaka” while bagging leaves
(photo by K.T. Cannon-Eger)

Kenji raked

Kenji Kuroshima from Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens raked the entire area around Shoroan
(photo by K.T. Cannon-Eger)

Mike Brown paints

Mike Brown from the County Parks Department renews the parking lot
(photo by Bill Eger)

2014May09_0110 Kerri

Kerri Marks from Moku Loa Sierra Club joins Mike Brown in painting new lines on the parking lot (photo by Bill Eger)

Yoshi tree

Yoshi Ota from Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens works on a podocarpus tree by the tea house
(photo by Bill Eger)

Yoshi bushes

Yoshi prunes overgrown hedges
(photo by Bill Eger)

an amazing amount of weedy material was removed from this ironwood tree (photo by K.T. Cannon-Eger)

an amazing amount of weedy material was removed from this ironwood tree
(photo by K.T. Cannon-Eger)

Master Gardener Keven removing Clusea and Ficus from an old ironwood (photo by Bill Eger)

Master Gardener Keven removing Clusea and Ficus from an old ironwood
(photo by Bill Eger)



Categories: Hawaii, Hilo | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Delightful new videos shot in Lili`uokalani Gardens

Parker Ranch and UH-Hilo collaborated on this and produced a remake of the music video “Happy” by Pharrell Williams to showcase the uniqueness of Hilo and as a tribute to the university’s Spring 2014 graduating class.

As noted in the YouTube text, “Neil “Dutch” Kuyper, President and CEO of Parker Ranch, was the keynote speaker at the Spring 2014 commencement. The overarching theme of his speech—happiness—is a reminder for all to live a life rooted in happiness because life is too precious to live otherwise.

“A special mahalo to the wonderful people of Hilo for dancing with incredible enthusiasm and to the video crew—Brett Wagner of Wagnervision (Director), George Russell (Cameraman), Ashley Kierkiewicz of Hastings & Pleadwell (Executive Producer) and Shawn Pila of ENA Media Hawaii (Assistant Producer) for making production awesome.”

The song used in this music video is “Happy” by Pharrell Williams—Courtesy of Universal Pictures & Columbia Records.

Happy: Pharrell Williams

Parker Ranch

University of Hawaii at Hilo


Hastings & Pleadwell: A Communication Company

ENA Media Hawaii

Mokuola, the bridge to “Coconut Island”, and Lili`uokalani Gardens are featured locations in and around town.

Another recent video is by Gabe Hanohano of Hawaii Drones and posted by Alistair Bostrom. Thanks to Galyn Williams for bringing it to our attention.

The nine+ minute video is shot from a DJI Phantom quad-copter, with a GoPro3 mounted on a ZenmuseH32D gimbal. Video feed is via a DJI58L 5.8GHz transmitter/receiver pair.

Categories: Hawaii, Hilo | Tags: , | Leave a comment

National Public Gardens Day in Hawai`i County

In 2009, National Public Gardens Day began as a way to celebrate the nation’s public gardens and  “to raise awareness of the important role botanical gardens and arboreta play in promoting environmental stewardship, plant and water conservation, green spaces, and education in communities nationwide,” according to the American Public Gardens Association.

This year, Lili`uokalani Gardens will participate in the national event for the first time with clean up activities and specialized tours organized by Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens. With the direction of the County Parks and Recreation Department, clean up and painting projects are planned for Friday May 9 from 8 a.m. to noon.


Lili`uokalani Gardens is an ocean front public park begun in 1917 as a Japanese-style garden. It is popular with young and old, residents and visitors. photo by Bill F. Eger

The East Hawaii Master Gardeners Association is participating in the event along with Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens.

Other public gardens in Hawaii County include the Pana`ewa Rainforest Zoo, the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden in Onomea, and the Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden in Captain Cook.

photo by Kenji Kuroshima

Mayor Billy Kenoi, K.T. Cannon-Eger and Clayton Honma are enthusiastic about public gardens. (photo by Kenji Kuroshima 2014)

Mayor Billy Kenoi declared Friday, May 9 as National Public Gardens Day in Hawaii County. National Public Garden Day

Mayor Billy Kenoi recognizes the importance of public gardens.

In Captain Cook, The Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden is joining in National Public Parks Day. According to manager Peter Van Dyke, “Mayor Kenoi’s proclamation urges us to celebrate and enjoy our public gardens. Mention National Public Gardens Day on May 9 at the garden and you will get in free! Come back on Saturday, May 10, and join community members and visitors in a Volunteer Garden Clean-Up work day. The work day lasts from 9:30 to noon. Bring a lunch and stay for the 1:00 pm tour.”


Categories: Captain Cook, Hawaii, Hilo | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Intensive garden seminar in Kyoto deadline to register end of March 2014

For all those interested in learning more in a hands-on learning environment, there is an intensive garden seminar in Kyoto in November 2014. Deadline for application is March 31, 2014.

Personally, I have not gone…but you can believe it is on my bucket list! Every friend I know who has gone to this seminar has raved about it.

Here are the details courtesy of Japanese Gardening . org:

The Research Center for Japanese Garden Art and Historical Heritage, in Kyoto, Japan, runs an annual English-language intensive seminar regarding the Japanese Garden. We are presently accepting applications for the 16th seminar to be held in November of 2014 here in Kyoto. The course is designed for the serious student, amateur or professional; it is not a garden tour. It will include many on-site lectures as well as some hands-on work experience. This course is a rare opportunity for English language speakers, giving broad access to Japanese gardens and gardeners.
Details about the Seminar can be found in the attached brochure and on the Seminar website:
Beginning this year, all applications will be accepted via our web-based application form. The application deadline is March, 31st, 2014.
Application Form:
Yours sincerely,
Hiromasa Amasaki, Director
Research Center for Japanese Garden Art and Historical Heritage

Categories: Japan | Tags: , | Leave a comment

2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 17,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

The above was prepared by Word Press, a host to which I express deep gratitude. They post quickly, protect me from spam, and provide an invaluable service.

For 2014, I pledge to do as this report suggests — WRITE MORE!

Happy New Year!

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Where do I find…..

The right tool makes any job easier. Finding the right tool can be something of a pilgrimage.

We are fortunate in Hilo to have Garden Exchange close at hand for bamboo splitters, hand forged pruners, and properly balanced hedge shears.

For those seeking carpentry tools as well as garden supplies, sewing kits, and bonsai equipment there are several wonderful places we visited on the mainland.

Friends in Phoenix, Arizona tipped us to Anzen Hardware in Los Angeles.

Anzen Hardware

My husband’s father ran a hardware store in Texas. Anzen Hardware was a treat to visit.

Located on East First Street near the Japanese Village Plaza Mall, Anzen Hardware is full to the rafters with wonderful goods. Chefs seek this store out for its fine selection of quality knives. Sake makers come here for their supplies. There are bamboo brooms and gravel rakes for the gardener.

Fans call it an old fashioned hardware store for the handyman. Best of all is owner Nori Takitani who started as a high school part time worker in 1954. One of the elders of the community, he can be counted on for good service and advice.

My favorite purchase from this store (so far) were the vegetable seed packets along with good advice from Nori to put them in the refrigerator first “to wake them up” before planting.

Another seed source was the gift shop at the Japanese American National Museum a few blocks down the street. Kitazawa Seed packets and a well stocked bookcase were favorite attractions in the JANM store.

Contact the museum at:

Or find Kitazawa Seed at:

To the north is Hida Tool on San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley.

Hida Tool

Bill waits for the doors to open early one morning.

Like Anzen, Hida Tool has crowded shelves, knowledgeable staff, and museum pieces on the wall. In addition to the store, Hida Tool has gone high tech with a web site.

As mentioned on their site, “Hida Tool was started in response to requests from San Francisco Bay Area woodworkers to get tools like those being used by Makoto Imai, who had come from Japan in 1978 after his 5-year apprenticeship in carpentry plus 9 years as a teahouse and temple builder. His were the hand tools of the builders of traditional homes and temples in Japan, including saws with both crosscut and rip teeth on the same blade, planes with wooden bodies quite different from those of European and early American wooden planes, and both plane blades and chisels forged by methods developed by the blacksmiths who created the famous samurai swords. These tools had a layer of very hard steel forged to a larger mass of softer iron, which allowed the formation in the tempering step of a harder cutting edge than was permissible in tools made entirely of similar carbon steel.

“The business was opened in San Rafel, California (north of the Golden Gate) in 1982 by Imai-san’s brother-in-law Osamu Hiroyama and Kip Mesirow, author of “Care and Use of Japanese Woodworking Tools” and former owner of a smaller Japanese tool store in Berkeley. Hida Tool Co. moved to our current location in Berkeley in the summer of 1984 with a greater variety of carpentry tools. Because of the interest in tools used for Japanese gardens, these became the second category of tools stocked. Kitchen knives, the third “specialty of the house,” also make use of the swordmakers’ technique of combining two different metals. A smaller number of other tools, etc., all imported from Japan, can be found on this website and in the store.
“Whether you enter through the front door, your computer email, or telephone, our staff at Hida Tool Co. will do our best to help you find the exact tool that you need within these specialties. However, still true to our origins, we carry no power tools, although we do stock a large assortment of drill bits for your hand or power drill.”
I purchased tools for fence building and knot tying plus exquisitely balanced hedge shears, camellia oil in a spray bottle, small sewing scissors, and handkerchiefs for fellow workers. All was shipped to me by the store and arrived in good order.

Wandering down the street from our hotel in San Francisco, we came upon Soko Hardware on Post Street. Another family-style hardware store carrying excellent culinary knives, garden supplies, woodworking tools, plus kitchen equipment, fine dishes, paper lanterns, and seeds among many other items.

Owned and operated by the Ashizawa family since 1925, Soko Hardware is now under the guidance of the third generation, Roy Ashizawa.

A Yahoo reviewer noted of Soko Hardware: “The ceramics section holds a dizzying array of vases in aesthetic organic shapes, plates in all sizes and shapes, and platters suitable for a tea ceremony. Traditional finishes, such as oxblood and crackle glaze are the order of the day and the quality of everything is good whatever the price tag.”

Garden and museum gift shops are another source.

Heritage seeds from the time of Thomas Jefferson can be found in the gift shop at Monticello.

Monticello gift shop

“…there is not a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting to me…” Thomas Jefferson said in a 1790 letter to his daughter.

Bamboo fabric gloves were a favorite purchase from the Chicago Botanic Garden gift shop.

gift shop at Chicago Botanic Garden

Chicago Botanic Garden gift shop in the Visitor Center
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

An annual sale of bulbs got my attention in Denver.

An annual sale of bulbs got my attention in Denver.

Organic products of all kinds, including seeds, were available at Weatherford Gardens just outside of Fort Worth, Texas.


a sampling of products carried in the store (photo by Bill F. Eger)

a sampling of products carried in the store
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

a small section of the seed shelves where I did my shopping (photo by Bill Eger)

a small section of the seed shelves where I did my shopping
(photo by Bill Eger)

Where do you go to find that special thing for your garden? Comments are welcome.

Be nice! All photographs appearing in this blog are the property of K.T. Cannon-Eger or Bill F. Eger. All the photography on this blog is protected by U.S. Copyright Laws, and are not to be manipulated, downloaded or reproduced any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions without written permission. Copyright 2013 K.T. Cannon-Eger All Rights Reserved.

Categories: California, Fort Worth, Glencoe, Illinois, Texas, Virginia | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

What else has been in the garden?

coyote track

Tracks of wildlife are not uncommon at Sansho-en, the Elizabeth Hubert Malott Japanese Garden at Chicago Botanic Gardens in Glencoe, IL. This coyote track was found one morning near the shoin house.

What’s in your garden when you aren’t looking? Gardeners have to deal with more than the occasional insect infestation or small children climbing on stones.

Perhaps the coyote at Sansho-en was hunting something like the rabbits I noticed all over the lawn at Marston House in San Diego.

Late one afternoon, rabbits covered the lawns at Marsden House in San Diego at the upper end of Balboa Park.

Late one afternoon, rabbits covered the lawns at Marston House in San Diego at the upper end of Balboa Park.

Birds seem to cause the most difficulty for gardens with ponds, especially birds that eat koi like a heron at Fort Worth and another at San Antonio’s Sunken Gardens at Brackenridge Park.

photo by Bill F. Eger

Focused, this fast beak scooped up several small fish from the pond at Sunken Garden in San Antonio.


A wary goose halted momentarily at the end of the path near the plum viewing arbor at Missouri Botanical Garden. Geese leave behind copious amounts of waste making paths into minefields.


Ducks join koi in the pond at Ro Ho En in Phoenix, competing for food.

But of all the critters we came across, furry or feathered or two-legged, the smallest seemed to cause the most problems. My husband was unfamiliar with squirrels and chipmunks and was taking a lot of photographs. Horticulturist Benjamin Carroll at Sansho-en noticed this and commented that Bill “wouldn’t find them so cute when you see the damage they do.”

This bold fellow owned the path at the Anderson Japanese Garden in Rockford IL.

This bold fellow owned the path at the Anderson Japanese Garden in Rockford IL.

NYC squirrel

Waterfront squirrel in between Battery Park and the wharves in New York City

Photos in this blog otherwise uncredited are by K.T. Cannon-Eger.

Categories: Arizona, Glencoe, Illinois, Missouri, Rockford, San Antonio, St. Louis, Texas | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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