Posts Tagged With: koi

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.

goose

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.

mallards

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

Pond Construction Workshop in Philadelphia

Shofuso koi

koi so happy they are snorting for joy — well, snorting for food, anyway!

ShofusoPond2

During pond reconstruction last year, stones designed to be a boat landing were discovered. The original plans for the garden — made in the mid-1950s — were carried out in the renovation and now provide a koi feeding station at Shofuso Japanese House and Garden.

[The first part of this post announced the workshop. See the end of the post for more photos of the garden and workshop.]

The North American Japanese Garden Association will present a two-day regional workshop in Philadelphia, PA, Friday and Saturday September 20 and 21.

The first day will begin with a presentation on the history and significance of water in the Japanese garden setting by Seiko Goto, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture at Rutgers University. Professor Goto holds a Master in Horticulture from Chiba University Japan as well as a Master in Landscape Architecture from Harvard.

The rest of the day will be spent on designing and constructing water features for a Japanese style garden. Presenter is Jim Lampi, a design-build landscaper specializing in the creation of ponds, waterfalls and naturalist landscapes.

Topics to be covered include: design considerations plus influences and inspirations for design. Also covered will be construction methods; comparing concrete, liner, hybrid concrete with liner; filtration; drainage; rock edging and plant edging; rocks and boulders: selection, acquisition, and placement using machine or sling.

Friday evening will offer guided tours of Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, refreshments and a presentation by Dr. Frank Chance, director of the Center for East Asian Studies at University of Pennsylvania.

Saturday’s events concentrate on koi: their origins, variety, and selection plus discussions of water conditions and creating a healthy environment. Also covered will be koi anatomy, reproduction, health and how to recognize illness, methods of treatment, feeding and seasonal considerations.

Joseph S. Zuritsky, owner of Quality Koi at Carney’s Point, NJ, with 40 years experience and numerous awards, will lead a tour of Nisei Koi Farm and deliver presentations on the above topics.

To make reservations, contact NAJGA by e-mail to KYanagi@NAJGA.ORG or telephone (503) 222-1194. You may also click on the link below to print out a registration form for for information, fees, hotel registration and mailing information.

http://www.najga.org/uploads/Philadelphia%20Workshop%20Information%20and%20Registration%20Form%20%281%29.pdf

If you wish to learn more about Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, visit their web site:

http://www.shofuso.com/

or find them on FaceBook.

new hornbeam hedge

A new hornbeam hedge separates the entry paths at Shofuso and guides visitors to the tour booth.

Francis Weng discusses pond biology and maintenance. (photo by Bill F. Eger)

Francis Weng discusses pond biology and maintenance.
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

JimLampl-2-Shofuso

Jim Lampl

Jim Lampl discusses pond construction.
(photo by Bill Eger)

Jizo

Tucked away in the bamboo just uphill from a koi feeding station at the pond

Dr. Goto

Dr. Seiko Goto discusses the history of water in Japanese gardens at the NAJGA regional conference in Philadelphia.
(photo by Bill Eger)

class photo

The class photo of garden folk who attended the NAJGA regional conference in Philadelphia.
(photo by Bill Eger)

Categories: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Fort Worth garden should be seen every season

The Japanese Garden at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden is worth a return visit, in my opinion, every season of the year. Every season has its joys. The variety of plantings and styles of Japanese garden at Fort Worth offer that special kind of joy to all.

I visited two years ago in the spring, took 100 photos in an hour’s time, and have been mentioning it to my husband ever since. Our recent visit this summer, his first, entranced him as much as my first visit did me.

This seven and a half acre site was a watering hole for cattle, a gravel pit, a dump, and a squatters’ camp before Scott Fikes, former Botanic Garden director, and Charles Campbell, former director of Park and Recreation came up with and pursued the idea in the late 1960s. Kingsley Wu, a graduate of the University of Tokyo, was commissioned to finalize plans, according to a garden brochure, and construction began in 1970. After many clubs, companies and individuals put in their time, talent and treasure, the garden opened in 1973.

The resulting collection of gardens offers a pleasant stroll from the main gate through the free courtyard garden to the ticket office to the green and cool delights beyond.

The main gate was designed by Albert S. Komatsu and dedicated to Scott Fikes in 1976. The gift shop is off to the left.
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

A little history on the early designers

The main gate was designed by Albert Komatsu and Associates, an architectural firm founded in 1959 and later known as Komatsu Architecture. Alfred Komatsu was a well known, award-winning and highly respected architect in Fort Worth. He helped found the Society of American Military Engineers post in Fort Worth (SAME) and in 2011 was its oldest living founder.

The main gate was dedicated to Scott Fikes in 1976. Fikes retired in 1975 after serving 17 years as the Fort Worth Botanical Garden’s director. He served in the U.S. Army in World War II and was a member of the National Society of Landscape Architects. He passed away in 2002.

Charles Boyle Campbell was a landscape architect by training. He was 39 years old when he accepted the position in Fort Worth as director of parks in 1962. Two years later, the parks and recreation boards were merged and Campbell was named director of the new department.

“Throughout his quarter-century of service, he was a strong advocate for the creation of green space, and during his tenure, city regulations were amended to require residential developers to set aside parkland in their subdivisions. During the years he served as director, the number of parks increased from 57 parks on 2,872 acres to 163 parks with 9,923 acres,” said Susan Allen Kline in the book Images of America: Fort Worth Parks. Campbell retired in 1987 and passed away in 2006.

Steve Huddleston remarked on Kingsley Wu on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Fort Worth Botanic Garden: “The major project in the garden during the late ‘60s and early ‘70s was the construction of the Japanese Garden, a 7.5-acre garden that is now the crown jewel of the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. In 1968, the city employed Kingsley Wu, professor of environmental living at Texas Women’s University, to design a master plan for the Japanese Garden.  The three major pools were staked and then 454 cubic yards of concrete were poured to line the pools. A waterfall, spillways, and islands were fashioned in and around the pools.  Patterned after the Ryoan-ji in Kyoto, the meditation garden was built in 1970.”

a school group enjoys the classic karesansui
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

Among new plantings this spring are cherry trees, the gift of the Japanese Embassy to mark the centennial of Tokyo’s gift to the United States of more than 3,000 cherry trees planted at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C.

“The most reliable and readily available variety of flowering cherry is the ‘Kwanzan’ (Prunus serrulata ‘Kwanzan’),” says Scott Brooks, senior gardener at FWBG. He oversees the 7 ½ acre Japanese Garden there. “It’s capable of reaching 25 feet in height with branches that start out upright and then spread horizontally. It has 2-inch-wide, rose-pink flower clusters. Newly planted trees produce a good showing of flowers, although bloom improves as the trees mature.”

Another variety that does well here, Brooks says, is Yoshino (Prunus x yedoensis), the variety Japan gave to the United States in 1912. It’s a fast-growing tree that can reach more than 30 feet. Although the young trees do not produce a lot of flowers, mature trees bloom profusely.

Springtime crabapple bloom with new maple leaves near the pavilion in 2010

Brooks came to the garden in 1982 as a groundskeeper. By then many of the original trees had matured. The garden was clotted with vines and undergrowth. Tunnels had formed where the original designers had created paths.

Brooks set about the hard work of carefully uncovering what Fikes, Campbell, Komatsu and Wu had created, traveling several times to Japan. There gardeners steeped in 1,500 years of tradition taught him: “If you’re the keeper of a Japanese garden, you need to think about removing something every year,” he said.

dry stream
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

Brooks now is the senior gardener. He showed us through, with that ever watchful gardener’s eye for something amiss or out of place, and spoke of the delights and challenges of this ever changing scene.

Sister City

Nagaoka and Fort Worth have an active and dynamic Sister City relationship, celebrating 25 years this year in October. Mayor Betsy Price and Councilman Danny Scarth will lead a delegation to Nagaoka, Japan, to join in their fall festival October 2 to 12.

In the 1990s, Nagaoka, donated an authentic Mikoshi (a gilded and lacquered palanquin) to Fort Worth, which is currently on display within the Mikoshi House. Several trees, including pines and flowering cherries, were similarly donated.

Mikoshi — a gift of Sister City Nagaoka

view out the door of Mikoshi House

Mikoshi House in the spring of 2010

In 1997, Mr. Shigeichi Suzuki, a landscape architect from Nagaoka, donated plans for a karesansui-style addition to the garden.

“When I received the plans, they were in kanji and metric,” said Brooks chuckling. “That was a wonderful challenge figuring that out.”

The addition was completed in 2000, and is now called the Suzuki Garden. It is a modern counterpart to the nearby classic karesansui of the same design as the abbot’s quarters of Ryoanji in Kyoto.

Suzuki Garden
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

The tea house at the end of the pond was built as a memorial to the late Mary K. Umstead, secretary to the Horticulture Division. It was rebuilt this past year using plantation-grown ipe as a more lasting, sustainable tropical hardwood.

Mary K. Umstead Tea House, rebuilt in the past year

A new barrier free approach to the pavilion area offers visitors a closer view of the main waterfall. The Shinto-esque pavilion area offers several structures available for rental for special celebrations and weddings.

new waterfall view
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

Behind the pavilion area, a small staircase leads to a plaza. Out of view to the right is barrier free access to the same area.
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

moon-viewing platform and amphitheatre
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

“The ‘Moon-Viewing Deck’ is a creative adaptation of the Ginkakuji temple’s famous ‘Kogetsudai’ sand cone. Fort Worth’s version is intended to be an interactive karesansui exhibit, in which visitors may ascend the flat-topped cone via steps, and view the composition from above. A ‘Taijitu’ (a yin-yang symbol), lies embossed in exposed-aggregate concrete at the summit. This highly unusual (but fun) addition to a Japanese garden is ultimately a cosmological symbol of Chinese origin. It also has other interpretations, including its most important contemporary association with Korean culture, and as a metaphor for oriental mysticism in American ‘Pop’ culture. The exhibit also features an amphitheatre that is countersunk into the same platform as the cone. Together, they serve as a performance venue for the garden’s two annual festivals (matsuri), and as a moonlit chapel for weddings,” Brooks said

Paths

In all, there are nearly 6,000 linear feet of stone, brick, wood, aggregate concrete and asphalt walkways in the garden, three pools and a couple of waterfalls including a small one in the corner of the entry to the gift shop, seven crossings over water, multiple fish food dispensers, an abundance of healthy koi in the ponds and plants to occupy the eye and mind.

gift shop in the spring of 2010

gift shop in the summer 2012 — note the impact of recent drought on the pond water level
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

Treasure Tree gift shop occupies a waterside structure reminiscent of medieval Japanese architecture. The well stocked store is operated by the Fort Worth Botanical Society. Proceeds benefit the continuing development and preservation of the garden.

The garden is included in the Fort Worth Botanic Garden web site http://fwbg.org/gardens/japanese/ and maintains its own Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fort-Worth-Japanese-Garden/168365139854742 on which Brooks has included several detailed guides to the plantings in multiple scrapbooks.

Operating hours during standard time are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and during daylight saving time 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily except Christmas. Admission fee for adults is $4.50 on weekends or $4 on weekdays; $3 for children ages 4 to 12. Children ages 3 and under are admitted free. Unsponsored children under 13 are not admitted. One adult may sponsor 5 children.

For additional information, call (817) 871-7686.

enticing benches
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

Photos with no credit line in this blog are by K.T. Cannon-Eger. Click on any image to see it full size.

Several videos of the Fort Worth Japanese Garden are featured on YouTube. Here is a short one from the spring festival http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xqj2KIb-DQs

and a longer piece featuring spring blooms

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FWsA2UCqUY

another featuring a summertime stroll with emphasis on the koi http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_ysysau35U

a taiko performance of Ujigawa by Dondoko Daiko at the 2009 fall festival http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upJ-5udVI4s

and one longer narration from winter http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dZCKCbo378

A personal note:

There’s something really wonderful about garden friends: you speak the same language, share similar goals, and in the best of times have the same taste in movies and jokes. Scott Brooks is one of those wonderful garden friends.

We met briefly in Long Beach, California, in spring of 2009 at the International Conference on Japanese Gardens Outside Japan. A year later, I stopped off in the Dallas-Fort Worth area on my way home from my mother’s death in Florida. My cousin dropped me off at the garden gate and I began my wandering in a somber mood.

Pretty soon, I was engaged by the collection of gardens – entranced by proportions, variety and trimming of various plantings.

Scott Brooks at work in 2010

As I wandered down the right side of the garden, I noticed maintenance going on at the left side of the pond. I kept catching glimpses of this man in a black t-shirt pushing a wheelbarrow. When I finally came even with him, I asked the perennial gardener’s question, “What are you working on?” “Re-doing the water pipe to this basin,” he replied “Have you been here long?” I asked. “28 years since 1982.” “Say, you look familiar….” and when we got to Long Beach as common ground he exclaimed, “You’re that lady from Hawaii.”

forsythia near the pag

Later, as I approached the end of the path to meet up with my cousin at the gift shop, there was a splash of yellow by the pagoda – forsythia, one of my mother’s springtime favorites.

The Long Beach conference not only formed fast friendships, it led to the formation of the North American Japanese Garden Association (NAJGA). Fort Worth hosted one of the regional meetings that led the group from initiative to association.

The organization hosts a web site http://www.najga.org/cfm/index.cfm and a Facebook page. NAJGA will host Connections 2012, a conference for garden professionals and enthusiasts in Denver, Colorado, October 12 through 14 with a one-day advance design workshop on October 11. The conference is geared toward three topics every garden deals with: horticulture, human culture and business culture. Contact NAJGA for further information and to register.

pagoda designed by Albert Komatsu
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

Categories: Fort Worth, Texas | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Jingu House and the Japanese Tea Garden

The article below was published immediately after a visit to the garden in 2012. The following link leads to an October 5, 2015, article by Jack Morgan of KSTX San Antonio. The article in turn includes links leading to more information on the garden and on Japanese Gardening dot org.

http://tpr.org/post/incredible-story-behind-san-antonios-japanese-tea-garden#stream/0

In Texas, when I said, “We’ve been to a Japanese garden in San Antonio,” many people thought I was referring to the Japanese Tea Garden at Sunken Gardens, Brackenridge Park. I was referring to Kumamoto en, detailed in an earlier post about the San Antonio Botanical Garden.

But there is a story here at Sunken Gardens – another sad story of a family losing their home and livelihood due to fear during World War II and another hopeful story of better things to come.

There are many striking features about this garden – the stonework on paths, benches, structures and ponds alone is worth a visit. Initially, in 1840 the property was a quarry. In 1880, the Alamo Roman and Portland Cement Company constructed the first cement plant west of the Mississippi. A smokestack near a gazebo overlook marks the kiln that was built in 1889.

The story of the garden is told on a 1984 brass plaque adjacent to the entry gate, an unusual torii style structure in the fois bois design bearing the inscription “Chinese Tea Garden.”

The torii gate created by Dionicio Rodriguez is a national landmark. Text of the plaque at the right is reproduced below.
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

The plaque reads: “The idea of a Japanese tea garden was conceived by City Parks Commissioner Ray Lambert in the early 1900s in an effort to beautify the rock quarries which had earlier been abandoned by the San Antonio Portland Cement Company. The brick and stone smokestack east of the teahouse is part of the old Portland Cement kiln.

The kiln smokestack at the extreme right of the photo is all that is left of the old cement plant. The gazebo overlook is on the list of things to be refurbished at the Japanese Tea Garden in San Antonio.

“Commissioner Lambert enlisted the aid of a Japanese artist Kimi Eizo Jingu to assist in the design of an authentic Japanese tea garden. Artist Jingu had recently arrived in San Antonio with his family, had been employed by the U.S, Army and was selling his watercolor paintings in a shop in downtown San Antonio.

“The Japanese tea garden was completed and christened in 1919 having been constructed with prison labor and with both corporate and individual donations. Commissioner Lambert had given particular effort to achieving true Japanese design and had imported numerous plants from gardens existing in Japan. A house was constructed on the site using rocks from the old quarry, and the Jingu family was moved into the house to act as overseers for the facility. In 1926, the Jingus opened a tea house in the upper level of their home. Before his death in 1936, Mr. Jingu had become nationally recognized for his knowledge of teas.

Jingu House Cafe is open Tuesday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This view shows improvements done recently to allow for barrier-free access.
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

“The Jingu family remained in their home in the garden until shortly after the December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor incident. The resulting general fear and resentment by the American public caused the Jingu family to be removed from the garden and its name was changed to Chinese Tea Garden.

old postcards framed upstairs in Jingu House Cafe
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

“It was at this time the Chinese-style entry was added, bearing the inscription ‘Chinese Tea Garden.’ This Oriental-design cement-sculptured entry was purportedly designed by Maximo Cortez and constructed by Dionicio Rodriguez. Mr. Rodrigues was a Mexican national who is credited with a number of cement sculptures in San Antonio. He kept his techniques secret working always inside a tent and using tools he made on the site from tin, wood, etc. His process consisted of a metal rod base on which he developed three-dimensional designs with layers of especially prepared cement. He did not divulge either his process of cement sculpture or coloring of the cement layers. He spoke no English and a few co-workers learned by observation only. He is credited with having created various other sculptures throughout the United States in addition to those in the San Antonio area.

“In 1983, the San Antonio City Council ordained that the original name of “Japanese Tea House” be restored to the site in consideration of the number of Japanese-Americans who had fought honorably on the side of the United States during World War II.”

It should be noted here that the youngest sons James and Kimi Jingu served in the U.S. Army. James received a Purple Heart for his actions with the 442nd in Europe and Kimi served in the Korean conflict. See one newspaper article here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/42448022@N05/3967648434/

an overview from the vantage point of the pavilion
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

Toward the back of the property, bamboo leans over a section of original steps.

one of the original stone benches

Don Pylant notes current happenings in his article

http://www.japanesegardening.org/sunkengardens/index.html

“A move to restore the Japanese Tea Garden came in the 2005 bond election to repair the Pavilion. With help and guidance from San Antonio Parks Foundation and Friends of the Parks, this Phase 1 began. The original roofing was fencing wire with palm leaf thatch, harvested from the city parks, woven together to shed water. The new roof is a fantastic mimic of artificial palm thatch – all the looks without the fire hazard.

the reconstructed pavilion
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

“In 2007, former councilwoman Bonnie Conner, Parks Foundation vice chair of projects, and former Mayor Lila Cockrell, Parks Foundation president, began a $1.6 million restoration campaign to repair the lily ponds. The successful effort resulted in the restoration of the ponds, a new re-circulating filtration system, and the return of fish and lilies to the ponds. For the public re-opening on March 8, 2008, Jingu and Lambert family members were present. Mabel Yoshiko Jingu Enkoji, the sixth child of Kimi and Miyoshi Jingu, and born at the Gardens, was the senior Jingu family member at the event. Richard Lambert, grandson of Commissioner Ray Lambert was also present.

detail of interior of re-done pavilion
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

“A master plan is being created and fundraising will begin soon to continue the effort to return the Japanese Tea Gardens to its former glory as a jewel in the crown of San Antonio and South Texas.”

HUGE koi
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

A problem common to all gardens with koi ponds — birds that like to go fishing!
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

Side note: for more on Dionicio Rodriguez and his Trabajo Rustico, see the book Capturing Nature: The Cement Sculpture of Dionicio Rodriguez by Patsy Pittman Light.

Unless otherwise credited, all photos in this blog are by K.T. Cannon-Eger. To see a full size image, click on the photo.

Categories: San Antonio, Texas | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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