Posts Tagged With: pond

Big pond project starts with bucket brigade

Waihonu, the pond at the heart of Lili`uokalani Gardens, will start getting a much needed cleaning Saturday, October 1, from 8 a.m. to noon.

Tsunami damage, bagasse from former sugar cane operations up the coast, invasive seaweed and normal silt have covered the floor of Waihonu.

Volunteers will gather at the Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens tent near the tea house for instructions and to obtain tools. There also are land-based tasks for those not able to go in one of two shallow spring-fed ponds to the side of the larger pond.

cleanpondbefore_1790

To the Banyan Drive side of the pond are two small spring-fed ponds choked with invasive seaweed, silt and weeds. The nearby lava outcroppings are covered with bamboo leaves.

cleanpondharvey-0738

A previous cleaning effort uncovered a pahoehoe lava landing near the stone bridge

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Harvey Tajiri piles seaweed up.

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edging the sidewalk

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many thanks to UH-Hilo softball coaches and team

 

 

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Rotarian Wally Wong scoops seaweed out of the pond

Volunteers willing to go in the pond should come with protective foot gear. Some additional pairs of tabis and gloves will be available to borrow.

Additional chores on land include edging sidewalks, removing leaves from lava rock outcroppings, removing weeds from the stone bridge, and removing lichen from a rock bench.

For additional information or to volunteer for a future work day, contact Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens board members Alton Okinaka at UH-Hilo 932-7117 or K.T. Cannon-Eger 895-8130.

Categories: Hawaii, Hilo | 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)

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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

Sho-fu-en, the Garden of the Pine and Wind, in Denver makes great use of native plants

Denver Botanic Gardens

(photo by Bill F. Eger)

After obtaining his degree in horticulture in Japan and interning at the Chicago Botanic Garden, Akiyoshi (Ebi) Kondo joined Denver Botanic Gardens as a Horticulturist in April 2000 and was in charge of the display gardens and collections.

In 2003 Ebi was promoted to Senior Horticulturist and took responsibility of Sho-Fu-En, Denver Botanic Garden’s Japanese Garden. Originally designed by Koichi Kawana, construction on the two acre garden began in August 1978. Sho-fu-en, Garden of the Pines and Wind, was dedicated June 23, 1979.

“This was designed to be a provincial garden. Gifu-ken and Takayama-shi are next to the Nagano mountains, a very rugged area. Here we are amid the Rocky Mountains, also a rugged area,” Kondo said.

Shibui

A simple clean pond edge, a clear reflection, careful maintenance, the contributions of garden designers and gardeners since 1978 all add up to the shibui feeling of Sho-fu-en.
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

“This was one of Kawana-san’s last major gardens. It’s very shibui, very quiet.”

Koichi Kawana designed gardens in St. Louis, Missouri; Chicago, Illinois; Memphis Tennessee; Los Angeles and San Diego, California among others. The Hokkaido native who became a U.S. citizen in 1971 died in 1990 at the age of 60.

Koichi Kawana

Garden designer Koichi Kawana
(photo from City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works)

In 1979, the tea house was constructed in Japan “very mountain style,” said Kondo. “Not an ostentatious display; very good size for demonstrating tea ceremony.”

tea house gate

Ebi Kondo holds open the gate to the 1979 tea house at Sho-fu-en.

Built by Kumo Construction Company in Nagano, the tea house was disassembled and shipped to Denver. Company president Mr. Toshitame Hirabayashi and eight co-workers reassembled the teahouse along with the bridge and entry gate in 14 days. The teahouse was donated by the Eleanore Mullen Weckbaugh Foundation.

tea house interior

tea house interior with chairs set up for demonstration audience to the right

When the garden started, more than 130 character pines were moved from nearby Estes Park by the Rocky Mountain Bonsai Club. Permits were obtained from the U.S. Forest Service to collect Ponderosa pines. “Japanese gardens encourage the use of native plants. We have about 50 percent natives in this garden,” Kondo said.

Kataoka and Kawahara select pines

Bob Kataoka and Kai Kawahara inspect pines near Denver for possible inclusion in the garden.
(photo from Rocky Mountain Bonsai Club history)

In 1977, Bob Kataoka, Kai Kawahara, Harold Sasaki, Floyd Sunshine, Bob Krueger, Keith Jepson, Larry Jackel and Malcolm Correll manned the first flatbed truck collecting eight or ten pines that trip. Kai Kawahara, was a gardener at Sho-fu-en from 1980 to 1993. He was one of eight founding members of the earlier Denver Bonsai Club that merged to form RMBC.

Kai Kawahara

Head gardener Kai Kawahara in Sho-fu-en in 1987
(Denver Post photo archive)

As sometimes happens in the history of Japanese gardens in America, there came a period of disinterest, low funding and lack of maintenance. By 2000, the garden was in disrepair. “A garden without maintenance for even one season may take ten seasons to reclaim,” Kondo said.

He undertook the initiative of the garden’s restoration reaching out to Mr. Seki the Consulate General of Japan in Denver and ultimately partnering with Mr. Sadafumi Uchiyama from Portland Japanese Garden.

Sadafumi Uchiyama

Sadafumi Uchiyama at a NAJGA regional meeting in Chicago, September 2011

Sadafumi Uchiyama created a master plan for the development of Sho-fu-en in 2003. Phase one included a minor repair of the Tea Ceremony House/garden path ways and phase two encompassed restoration/ renovation of the existing lake and was completed over the following years.

lantern

Some lanterns are designed for display near water.
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

In 2007 with help from the Hosokawa Grant, Kondo founded Denver Botanic Gardens tea ceremony guild Sho-Fu-Kai. The guild’s mission is to expose the public and garden patrons to Japanese Tea Ceremony and support the Sho-fu-en. A new machiai, rojimon (gate), obote senko design, uchi roji (inner path), and soto roji (outerpath), were added to the tea garden, opening to the public in mid-June this year.

new well

Sadafumi Uchiyama arranged for the new well at the tea garden to be shipped from Portland, Oregon.
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

new gate

humble gatetea garden gate

Now, Sho-fu-en is one of a few signature gardens at Denver Botanic Garden.”We work hard to keep our volunteers happy and enthusiastic,” Kondo said. “We have monthly cultural nights, and regularly scheduled nature hikes and movie nights.

“We need to continue developing and implementing a program, a vision for our garden,” Kondo said. “Otherwise, it is an ornament, not a garden.”

Future programs in development at Sho-fu-en include the Horticultural Therapy Program and Volunteer Docent Program.

Kondo and Uchiyama are among the leadership members of the North American Japanese Garden Association (NAJGA), an organization newly formed for the purpose of networking public Japanese Gardens in North America. Kondo also is a member of the Japan America Society of Denver.

NAJGA holds its Connections conference in Denver this weekend (October 2012) with a full slate of workshops at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Also on the program is the premiere of David Slawson’s new film “Evoking Native Landscape Using Japanese Garden Principles” at the Sheraton Downtown on Friday evening. For further information, contact NAJGA at http://www.najga.org

Please feel free to comment on your experience with Denver Botanic Gardens and Sho-fu-en in the comment box below.

Other exhibits at Denver Botanic Gardens:

In addition to the Japanese garden, there are displays in other parts of the botanic garden grounds.

bonsai show

The bonsai club continues to hold juried shows and sales at Denver Botanic Gardens. This one was held Father’s Day weekend 2012.

Kizuna — West Meets East, a series of site specific bamboo installations by Tetsunori Kawana from Japan and Stephen Talasnik from America, continues through November 4.

bamboo installation

bamboo wave

close up of work by Tetsunori Kawana

Also in mid-June 2012, a bonsai pavilion and courtyard opened as a memorial to the late news writer Bill Hosokawa. It was funding from the Alice and Bill Hosokawa Fellowship that helped Sho-fu-kai, the tea ceremony guild, form in 2008.

Hosokawa bonsai pavilion

the new bonsai pavilion shortly before it opened to the public June 2012

Hosokawa courtyard

The Bill Hosokawa Bonsai Courtyard after a rain storm, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012.

To view a full size image of any photo, just click on it. Photographs not otherwise credited in this blog are by K.T. Cannon-Eger.

For more information on bonsai history and World War II internment camps, please see
http://www.magiminiland.org/BigPicture/Internment.html

For more information on Denver Botanic Gardens, please visit
http://www.botanicgardens.org/

[updated 8/6/2016 with new website for bonsai history and World War II internment camps]

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Categories: Colorado, Denver | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The trip West continues

A more extensive article on Chicago’s Osaka Garden at Jackson Park will be posted soon. By 2013, the garden was re-named The Garden of the Phoenix.

Osaka Garden pond and bridge

Osaka Garden pond

Osaka Garden at Jackson Park in Chicago dates from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. It was recently renewed due to the efforts of an active Friends group with the expertise and guidance of Sadafumi Uchiyama and the cooperation of the Chicago Parks Department.

Meanwhile, here are a few photos from the rest of the journey from Chicago to Denver to San Francisco by train.

Here, we have included images from gardens in Chicago, Denver, Grand Junction, Berkeley, Oakland, Orinda and San Francisco to give you a little taste of the articles still to come.

Denver pond

Looking in one direction, Shofu-en displays one of the inspirations for its name — “Garden of the Pines and Wind.”

Denver Shofu-en

Looking across the pond in another direction, one could feel transported to similar gardens in urban Japan. The residents of the nearby condos must enjoy a beautiful view.

Grand Junction

Entry to the Japanese garden in Grand Junction, Colorado, is through a conservatory with plants familiar to many in Hawaii and other tropical regions.

Berkeley Botanic

This is a small section of the pond in the Japanese garden at UC-Berkeley Botanical Garden. Iris were in bloom throughout our journey in June.

Higashi Hongwanji

The Higashi Hongwanji in Berkeley (www.bonbu.com) has an elegant entry garden maintained in part with the assistance of the Aesthetic Pruners Association.

Oakland

Every detail matters — and here a relatively new stone appears to have been in place for hundreds of years due to the lichen.

borrowed scenery

The living room is arranged to take full advantage of the garden in this private residence in northern California.

WF entry

A rooftop corporate garden in San Francisco, created some years ago, was completely redone recently to address engineering problems that developed over the years. This is a small detail of an area separating the entry door, which leads to the garden, from a walkway that goes around the roof.
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

San Francisco
Ginkgo leaves near the 1915 pagoda at the San Francisco Japanese Tea Garden

To see a full size version of any photograph in this blog, just click on the image.

Categories: Berkeley, California, Chicago, Colorado, Denver, Grand Junction, Illinois, Oakland, San Francisco | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Serenity Garden offers a healing environment

Whispering Woods Serenity Circle
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

“We all need a place where we can get away from the hustle and stress of life, a place of peace and tranquility. When we find that place, we find strength. The Rosecrance Serenity Garden is such a place. These gardens are meant to be a part of the healing process offered by this incredible facility where miracles happen,” stated John Anderson, philanthropist.

Serenity Garden is located on the grounds of the Rosecrance Griffin Williamson Campus, an adolescent treatment center in Rockford, Illinois. The new 50 acre campus, which opened in 2004, includes this six acre garden designed by Hoichi Kurisu to provide a healing environment to nourish ongoing recovery for youth and their families.

welcoming waterfall near the entrance — a feature sometimes not noticed when a person enters treatment, but frequently noticed when they leave

Through the Experiential Therapies Department, the garden is used for guided meditation to help adolescents relax and reflect on recovery. Every week, the young people become aware of their basic senses: sight, sound, taste, touch and smell.

It is the setting for family visits, individual counseling, private journaling and other contemplative activities. The overall objective of horticultural therapy is to cultivate physical and emotional stability and spiritual awareness through nature in a structured environment.

K.T. typing one-handed on her iPad while interviewing Christine

“This garden is designed around the healing qualities of a Japanese garden integrated with the 12 steps of recovery,” said Christine Nicholson, Experiential Therapies Supervisor.

“Each week we deal meditation techniques designed to teach our young people how to be at peace with the calm and ‘boredom’ known as serenity.

“One week I might ask them ‘What kind of water are you?’ which always gets them going. Raindrop, waterfall, ocean wave – it’s a way to get them thinking about the world outside their heads,” Nicholson said.

cedar Serenity Bridge, #6 on the map
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

Being in a garden with streams, waterfalls and a large pond offers several examples as well as an abundance of locations for group and solitary activities. Kurisu describes boulders as the garden’s bone structure and water as the lifeblood running through it.

“As you stand on the deck, you view the action of the waterfall. We watch it come down to the calm surface and feel the serenity of the pond. It reminds us that we are never alone in the universe,” said Kurisu.

Cascading Waterfall, item #9 on the map

“Another week, I may say, ‘You are the earth. How do people walk on you? As the earth, how do you give to people,” Nicholson said.

“One teenager described the activity of raking gravel as ‘massaging my brain’.”

bell used in graduation ceremonies, item #5 on map
“Life’s Waiting” carved in stone at the base of the bell tower is the motto of Rosecrance.
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

A graduation ceremony involves ringing the bell in recognition of the ancient tradition of seeking purification within a sacred place and the desire for a balanced life. A new element of crossing the bridge will be added to graduation ceremonies, according to Nicholson.

Healing Garden Tour [text and map courtesy of Rosecrance]

1. Wooden bridge: this is where an Acer palmatum dissectum adds a splash of red to an otherwise green palette.

Acer palmatum dissectum recently trimmed
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

2. Courtyard and serenity circle: Serenity circles are places where residents, families and visitors can pause to reflect and view the garden. This is the largest and most formal of the serenity circles. The stream running through the courtyard makes 12 drops (for the 12 Step Program) before reaching the pond.

3. Winding walk: Curves in the path remind users that the journey is not straight and life reveals itself slowly. At the peak of the walk is Peaceful Passage Serenity Circle.

4. The pond: The pond, which is 13’ deep at the center, is supplied with both rain and city water. Koi, bluegill and bass thrive in the pond. From the landing, you can take in the full scope of the pond, formal garden, mountain waterfall and natural forest backdrop.

5. Bell tower: When an adolescent successfully completes treatment, the bell is struck as an announcement to the community.

6. Serenity bridge: This bridge is pitched like a mountain because one must work to get to a better place. The use of cedar, an aromatic wood, engages another one of the senses.

Similar to the flagstone bridge mentioned in #7, this bridge is in the #2 courtyard.
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

7. Open stone bridge: The flagstone walkway over the river is deceptive to the eye, giving the appearance of being fragile, but holding great strength.

# 8 on map, Stepping Stone bridge

8. Stepping Stone bridges: At the top and bottom of the waterfall, a stepping stone bridge invites you to cross the flowing water safely. This fall also makes 12 drops before a final plunge into the pond.

9. Cascading waterfall: In the style of a Japanese garden, water in our Healing Garden flows only in a way that is totally natural. Anchored by a 40-ton boulder, the large waterfall moves more than 1,200 gallons of water per minute. The falling water strikes the stones in three locations, adding depth of sound. A “guardian stone,” the protector of the garden, juts out of the pool at the waterfall’s base.

10. Grateful outlook: The highest point of the garden represents the top of the mountain. To observe the natural woods beyond the garden, you must look through the evergreen trees, which form a natural frame for the scene. Note how the sound of the waterfall is muffled by the stones.

weeping willow at the tip of the peninsula
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

11. The peninsula: The peninsula is a reminder of the island nation of Japan where water and land intertwine.

12. Cobblestone bridge: Water from the winding river flows under the bridge to the tranquil pond.

minimally structured path into the woods
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

Healing Gardens

“A healing garden is a natural space that has a therapeutic effect on those who are open to the experience. In a healing or serenity garden there is a deliberate acknowledgement that not all healing is the result of medicine or treatment. Sometimes it comes from unexpected places such as through a connection to the natural world. The elements of the garden engage all of our senses. They offer a positive distraction to everyday life, encourage interaction and provide a connection with nature’s rhythms.” From Rosecrance Serenity Garden overview.

“There is a tremendous grace and energy inherent in such ancient rhythms,” said Kurisu. “At once calming and exuberant, the natural elements remind one of how it is possible to feel, to breathe, to live with inspiration – hastening the rediscovery of a self in harmony with a world not chaotic and destructive, but full of regenerative potential.”

split log bench

The History of Rosecrance

Dr. and Mrs. James Rosecrance left provisions in 1916 for their homestead to become an orphanage for boys. Today, Rosecrance provides help, hope and recovery to families who struggle with alcohol and other drug addictions.

“We believe that addiction to alcohol and other drugs is a chronic, primary and progressive disease with multiple causes that affect the social, physical, cultural and emotional components of an individual’s life. Successful treatment requires a comprehensive program to address problems and prepare for a lasting recovery. Our programs are based on the disease model of addiction and the 12 Step treatment philosophy.”

For more information, go to the Rosecrance web site:

http://www.rosecrance.org

Photos not otherwise credited in this blog are by K.T. Cannon-Eger. Click on any image for a full size view.

Rosecrance is a smoke-free campus. This private garden generally is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekends.

Check in with the reception desk is required to secure a visitor’s badge and sign a liability waiver before touring the gardens. The receptionist must be notified if you wish to take photographs. The final general rule is “Stay on the path.”

Categories: Illinois, Rockford | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois, provides a place of peace

The crunch of gravel underfoot, the plash of water in the distance, the interplay of textures all are part of experiencing Anderson Japanese Gardens.

“In order to comprehend the beauty of a Japanese garden, it is necessary to understand — or at least to learn to understand — the beauty of stones — not quarried but of stones shaped by nature only.”

Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904)

The World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition that opened in New Orleans December 16, 1884, introduced author Lafcadio Hearn to Japanese culture. He was so smitten that he moved to Japan, taught and married there eventually becoming a citizen of Japan. This kind of love story gets repeated countless times right up to our modern era, but not always with the same ending.

In 1966 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin John R. Anderson visited a friend of his father’s Mr. Akira Ohno, a trip that began Anderson’s life-long appreciation for Japanese gardens. In 1978, on a business trip to Portland, Oregon, he visited and admired the Japanese garden there. He asked the name of the designer, and was told Hoichi Kurisu. By the fall of 1978, Kurisu was at work constructing a Japanese garden at the Anderson home, a new residence for him and wife Linda and their growing family in Rockford, Illinois.

Over time, the garden expanded to its present 14 acres. In 1998, Mr. and Mrs. Anderson donated the gardens to a nonprofit organization.

gateway to a private path
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

In 1992, John Anderson was recognized for his outstanding work in promoting international friendship and mutual understanding between the United States and Japan with a commemorative silver cup from the Japanese government. In 2012 the Emperor of Japan bestowed The Order of the Rising Sun with Gold and Silver Rays on Anderson.

In commenting on the presentation, the Consulate General of Japan in Chicago noted: “This award, which is one of highest honors given to foreign nationals, commends Mr. Anderson’s lifelong contributions to the promotion of Japanese culture in the US and Japan-US friendship through the construction of Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois, and the hosting of various cultural events such as tea ceremonies and ikebana demonstrations, as well as promoting Japanese language education through regular classes open to the public. Anderson Japanese Gardens is renowned for its authenticity, and is widely considered to be the best Japanese garden in North America.”

Educational programs at the Anderson Gardens cover the language, arts, and culture of Japan, and since 1995, the gardens have hosted Rockford’s Annual Festival Celebration of Japanese Arts, which includes formal tea ceremonies, ikebana and calligraphy demonstrations, and bonsai displays. A display of tokonoma scrolls is planned for August 23-25.

A selection from the Anderson collection of tokonoma scrolls will be on display August 23-25.
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

Hoichi Kurisu is the designer responsible for the beauty found at Anderson Japanese Gardens. Kurisu graduated from Tokyo’s Waseda University and spent many years in Tokyo, Japan studying under Mr. Kenzo Ogata, one of Japan’s renowned landscape designers.

Kurisu came to the United States in 1968 to accept the position of Director of Landscaping at the Japanese garden complex in Washington Park Gardens, Portland, Oregon. He was the second of nine trained gardeners to work at Portland carrying out the designs of Professor Takuma Tono. In 1972 he founded Kurisu International, Inc. with offices in Oregon and Florida. Other major projects include Roji-en, the George and Harriet Cornell Japanese Garden at the Morikami Museum in Delray Beach, Florida; Lebanon Community Hospital in Oregon; and Serenity Gardens at Rosecrance in Rockford.

(photo by Bill F. Eger)

For more on Hoichi Kurisu, view his web site at http://www.kurisu.com/ and be sure to check out the portfolio of completed work and videos of work in progress.

Kurisu continues to this day to ensure continuous improvement of the grounds and design of Anderson Japanese Gardens. One person glad for the continuing education in Japanese garden design is Tim Gruner, curator of the Anderson Japanese Gardens for the past 25 years.

bridge near blooming iris
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

Gruner is a 1987 graduate of the Kishwaukee College Horticulture program. His early interest in public gardens included working at Kishwaukee College’s AAS Trial Gardens and a one year internship at Chicago Botanic Garden. He also volunteered for nine weeks at the Robert and Catherine Wilson Tropical Botanical Gardens in Costa Rica.

(photo by Bill F. Eger)

An in-demand speaker on the subject, Gruner brings warmth and humor along with his encyclopedic knowledge.

This spring, he gave a photo-illustrated lecture “Patterns and Rhythms in Nature that Inspire Japanese Gardens and the Connection between Garden and Architecture” in which he illustrated Kurisu’s genius for integrating the geometric, man-made lines of structures and pathways with the asymmetrical, curving, organic forms most often found in nature. There is a restful green palette. There is an appeal to all senses: the sound of water falling or flowing, the crunch of gravel on the path underfoot, the clack of bamboo moving in a wind. Such a garden also acknowledges that nature is ever-changing with the seasons and years.

careful raking near the guest house
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

Recently, Gruner wrote about Anderson Japanese Gardens for the North American Japanese Garden Association (NAJGA).

“Much of what guides Japanese garden design is derived from patterns and rhythms found in nature; the general pattern formed by trees growing along streams and on slopes, the nature of a stream cascading down a mountain or winding through a gentle meadow, the gradual transition of the seasons marked by ephemeral blooms,” Gruner wrote.

outside the guest house

“At their best, Japanese gardens can induce a positive emotional response felt by the human viewer that one might experience in a place of natural beauty. A sense of peace, calm, tranquility, an opportunity for fresh clear thought, awe of nature’s creativity and its ability to rejuvenate are some of the things that can occur in a garden space that might exist in the middle of a busy city or in one’s own back yard,” Gruner said.

“It can be said that in traditional Japanese culture, nature and humanity were considered part of the same thing. In a Japanese garden, this connection can be viewed in a simple way. Nature’s influence can be seen as the organic component of the garden with its natural shapes and curvilinear lines, while humanity’s influence can be seen as the geometric component based primarily on the right angles of its architecture and cultivated fields.”

one of several split log benches slightly off the beaten path
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

“Together nature’s patterns and rhythms are carefully combined with humanity’s architecture to form a Japanese garden. In essence, the garden and its architecture come together to form one space.

“While the architecture is geometric in nature, it is composed of natural materials such as clean grained unpainted wood, stucco the color of clay earth, stone under posts and as foundations, and bamboo fences and gates,” Gruner said.

“Nature flows into the architecture. Conversely, architecture flows into nature via parallel lines and materials that project from architecture into the landscape. A two-way osmosis occurs where the architecture absorbs aspects of nature and the garden absorbs aspects of the architecture for a more or less seamless flow from one to the other.”

Tim Gruner joined the Board of Directors of the North American Japanese Garden Association in 2011.

The new pavilion offers a venue for outdoor events.
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

The Anderson Japanese Gardens mission statement from their web site:

http://andersongardens.org

“In our hectic and stressful world, Anderson Japanese Gardens opens minds to a different culture while offering guests a place of peace and tranquility where they will find healing, renewal, inspiration, and a re-energized soul.”

at the guest house
(Bill F. Eger)

Core values espoused by the non-profit:

“We are an authentic Japanese Garden maintained by the highest of standards that touches the soul of our guests. With grace, elegance, and gentle awareness we exemplify the Japanese cultural heritage of respectful humility in service to people of all cultures.”

careful pruning continues
(Bill F. Eger)

Anderson Japanese Gardens is located 90 miles west of Chicago in Rockford, Illinois. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $6 for students, and free for children 5 years of age and under. The garden’s primary season is May 1 to October 31. Hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information and maps, consult the Anderson Japanese Gardens’ web site.

An Do So — House of Peace
(and a play on the name Anderson)
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

Photos not otherwise credited in this blog are by K.T. Cannon-Eger. Click on any image for a full size view.

Categories: Illinois, Rockford | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 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.

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