Enthusiastic Denver garden curator tours Hilo’s Lili`uokalani Gardens

On Saturday, May 18, the board of directors of Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens welcomed Ebi Kondo, curator of Sho-Fu-En the Japanese garden at Denver Botanic Gardens and a board member of the North American Japanese Garden Association (NAJGA), to Hilo’s bayfront park along with several Hilo community leaders with long-time ties to the garden.

Ebi Kondo, curator of Sho-Fu-En at the Denver Botanic Gardens
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

Kondo was enthusiastic about Lili`uokalani Gardens. “This is an old-style pleasure garden,” he said. “You have so much history here. This is a great event  to be shared with all who visit.

“There is such a good feeling to this garden, both casual and elegant. I see a welcome, peaceful, casual, approachable, carefree environment. This is a great combination of American-Japanese garden with Hilo Hawaii flavor.”

Ebi Kondo of Sho-Fu-En Japanese Garden in Denver Colorado explains the benefits of membership in a public garden organization. Nearby are Friends of Lili`uokalani members Harvey Tajiri and K.T. Cannon-Eger.

Ebi Kondo of Sho-Fu-En Japanese Garden in Denver Colorado explains the benefits of membership in NAJGA a non-profit public garden organization. Nearby are Friends of Lili`uokalani members Harvey Tajiri and K.T. Cannon-Eger.
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

Kondo worked on the revitalization of the Japanese garden in Denver. “It takes everybody working together,” he said.

Sho-Fu-En now features a new roji (dewy garden path) to the tea house as well as a separate ADA compliant path. The tea house in Denver is like the one in Hilo in one respect: there are two areas for practitioners and participants — one more traditional with tatami floor and one Western with folding chairs.

Della Allison Yamashiro of Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens, listens to Hiroshi Suga, president of the Japanese Community Association of Hawaii, speak of cooperation to promote and preserve Japanese culture and foster harmony and fellowship in Hawaii County.

Della Allison Yamashiro of Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens, listens to Hiroshi Suga, president of the Japanese Community Association of Hawaii, speak of cooperation to promote and preserve Japanese culture, and foster harmony and fellowship in Hawaii County.
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

Russ Oda speaks of Shoroan and the history of Urasenke in Hawaii.

Russ Oda speaks of Shoroan and the history of Urasenke in Hawaii.
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

Kondo also was enthusiastic about the role of public gardens in communities. “To me, garden is a place to make memories. Happy people come here and are more happy. Sad people who come here are lifted.”

The casual tour wandered over to shade by the bamboo grove..

The casual tour wandered over to shade by the bamboo grove.
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

Dwayne Mukai, president of Kumamoto Kenjin Kai, and Rev. Jeffrey Soga, Rimban for Hawaii Island's Hongwanji join in the conversation. (photo by Bill F. Eger)

Dwayne Mukai, president of Kumamoto Kenjin Kai, and Rev. Jeffrey Soga, Rimban for Hawaii Island’s Hongwanji join in the conversation.
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

KT&Ebi-Basin-5577

K.T. Cannon-Eger, Ebi Kondo and Philippe Nault ponder an ancient stone basin.
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

Sho-Fu-En at Denver Botanic Gardens is one of the leadership gardens in the formation of the North American Japanese Garden Association (NAJGA). Kondo took time to emphasize to the group the importance of sharing information. “There will come a time when you have a question and you need to find resources. That is the reason we have this association of public gardens…to be of help to each other with workshops on horticulture, stonescaping, pond building, fund raising, message presentation and all of the things you will face.”

NAJGA offers two regional conferences later this year. Woodworking skills and traditional hand tools will be held August 13-16 in Oakland, California with site visits to several gardens in the area. Constructing Japanese water features and selection and care of koi will be held September 20-21 at Shofuso in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Registration is open now for the woodworking conference in Oakland. More details on the regional conference in Pennsylvania will be available in July. Go to the NAJGA web site for further information. http://www.najga.org

For additional stories in this blog on Denver or NAJGA, check the category and tag lists to the right side of the screen.

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Categories: California, Colorado, Denver, Hawaii, Hilo, Oakland, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Enthusiastic Denver garden curator tours Hilo’s Lili`uokalani Gardens

  1. Have been Lucky enough to meet Ebi Kondo a few times while working on the Bonsai Collection at DBG, really great guy! Thank you for sharing this article!

  2. Ebi Kondo is enthusiastic, knowledgeable, cultured, casual, hard-working, thoughtful, energetic and sometimes just the right amount of goofy to keep everybody in good humor.

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