Posts Tagged With: tea garden

Long time favorite still pleases

In the early 1970s, my husband and I lived in San Francisco before moving to Hawaii. We used to walk all over the city, sometimes hopping on a bus, streetcar or cable car.

Golden Gate Park was a favorite for exhibits at the DeYoung, competitions at the Hall of Flowers, and peaceful respite with tea at the Japanese garden. Coming back to the city in 2012 was a wonderful time to visit with much missed friends. We enjoyed a progressive dinner in Little Italy with appetizers, main course, and coffee with dessert in three different places.

And we couldn’t wait to see the new (to us) additions to the San Francisco Japanese Tea Garden.

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The South Gare, originally from the Japan exhibit at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, was partially rebuilt in the 1980s   [photo by Bill F. Eger]

“Originally created as a ‘Japanese Village’ exhibit for the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition, the site originally spanned about one acre and showcased a Japanese style garden,” according to the gardens website http://japaneseteagardensf.com/

“When the fair closed, Japanese landscape architect Makoto Hagiwara and [park] superintendent John McLaren reached a gentleman’s agreement, allowing Mr. Hagiwara to create and maintain a permanent Japanese style garden as a gift for posterity.”

The Californi fair came to be because Michael H. deYoung was a Presidential appointee to the 1893 fair in Chicago — the World’s Columbian Exposition — and he saw the benefits to his home state. Soon, plans were underway to hold a six-month exhibition in Golden Gate Park from late January to early July 1894.

The San Francisco Japanese Tea Garden is the only ethnological display still in existence from that fair. And Makoto Hagiwara poured his talents and personal wealth into expanding its gardens to five acres.

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real ducks mingle with metal cranes in a pond     [photo by Bill F. Eger]

Makoto died in 1925 and care of the garden passed to his daughter Takano Hagiwara. With the outbreak of World War II and the relocation and incarceration of most Japanese from the West Coast, the Hagiwara family was removed from their beloved garden, which was renamed “The Oriental Tea Garden.” Japanese structures and a Shinto shrine were demolished. Chinese women replaced Japanese tea servers.

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waterfall, stones and lantern reflect in a pond below the iconic tea house  [photo by Bill F. Eger]

Following the war, in the 1950s, a period of reconciliation ensued. The tea house and gift shop were redesigned by Nagao Sakurai. Japanese elements returned to the garden. The name was restored. And most of the Hagiwara family’s dwarf trees returned.

The street in front of the garden entry was renamed Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive and in 1974 artist Ruth Asawa donated a plaque honoring the Hagiwara family’s dedication.

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seasonal color comes with summer’s iris        [photo by K.T. Cannon-Eger]

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traditional pathways blend with more modern walkways   [photo by K.T. Cannon-Eger]

Congratulations to the management on improving the quality of items offered at the gift shop. And a special tip of the hat to the Japanese and Japanese-Americans serving at the tea house. The tea was very tasty.

For more on the history of the San Francisco Japanese Tea Garden, please refer to the garden’s web site mentioned above, and to the web site of Eric Sumiharu Hagiwara-Nagata http://www.hanascape.com/

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Categories: California, San Francisco | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Progress at Shoroan with help from Kyoto

Tsukubai-2

restoring the tsukubai at Shoroan began with a survey of present conditions

Tsukubai-6

Takuhiro Yamada and Philippe Nault check everything while board member Kenji Kuroshima looks on

Visiting landscaper Takuhiro Yamada, principal of Hanatoyo Landscape in Kyoto, brought a wealth of knowledge about Urasenke tea ceremony to the task to restoring the tsukubai at Shoroan. A tsukubai is an arrangement of stones, a water basin and a lantern set in a very precise manner.

First, a survey of the grounds surrounding Shoroan — the tea house built in Lili`uokalani Gardens and opened in 1997 — was conducted with all attending a hands-on workshop designed for landscapers, County park maintenance personnel, and Master Gardeners.

Next, the tsukubai area was studied in detail. It was discovered that the basin was set too low. The drain rocks were compacted and did not drain. The bamboo spout was too high. The plumbing was in need of repair. Surrounding bushes were in need of pruning. The lantern’s fire box faces the wrong direction. Most of these challenges were solved with several hours work by Hilo and Waimea landscapers under the direction of Mr. Yamada.

David Tamura and his son Troy and Robert Frost re-set a stone at Takuhiro Yamada's direction

David Tamura and his son Troy and Robert Frost re-set a stone at Takuhiro Yamada’s direction

 

The basin was lifted, shifted, and leveled

The basin was lifted, shifted, and leveled

 

Clara Koga sensei, Takuhiro Yamada, Russ Oda and Amy Nishiura test the finished stone arrangement

Clara Koga, sensei, Takuhiro Yamada, Russ Oda and Amy Nishiura test the finished stone arrangement

Plumbing repairs were completed by the County a few days later. Drainage was improved with the addition of smooth river rocks courtesy of Clayton Amemiya matching a few river rocks that were uncovered during excavation of the basin.

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

Visiting landscaper helps with Hilo garden

the way of tea

Mr. Takuhiro Yamada, president of Hanatoyo Landscape of Kyoto, will speak on tea gardens at the Hawaii Japanese Center, 751 Kanoelehua Avenue, Thursday, October 8, at 5:30 p.m. The presentation is free. Light refreshments will be served.

The presentation, “Tea Gardens — Observe the Tradition” is sponsored by Friends of Lili’uokalani Gardens, Urasenke Hilo, and the Hawaii Japanese Center.

Mr. Yamada is the president of Hanatoyo Landscape, which celebrated its 150th anniversary in business six years ago.  Mr. Yamada is the fifth generation in his family to head the company. Their clients in Japan include many cultural treasures. He has designed and installed gardens in Paris, London, and Honolulu. In the mainland United States, Yamada was the designer of the new tea house garden at The Huntington Japanese garden on the occasion of the Pasadena garden’s centennial in 2012.

He continues his father’s dedication to passing on traditional skills. At the same time he is leading the company into the future with green industry techniques in rooftop gardens and green waste recycling, and the company is ISO14001 certified. Like his father before him, he is qualified as a tree doctor and is a pioneer of new tree treatments in Japan.

Takuhiro Yamada visited Lili`uokalani Gardens around Thanksgiving 2014

Takuhiro Yamada visited Lili`uokalani Gardens around Thanksgiving 2014

For further information on the tea garden talk, contact the Hawaii Japanese Center at 751 Kanoelehua Avenue in Hilo, 934-9611 or Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens at 895-8130.

On Friday, October 9, Yamada will teach a hands-on workshop in the garden surrounding Shoro-an, the Urasenke tea house in Lili`uokalani Gardens. The workshop is designed for County park maintenance personnel, local landscapers, and members of the East Hawaii Master Gardener Association.

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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.

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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.

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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

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

More on the Atlanta Botanical Garden

This information comes from Amanda Campbell, horticulturist at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

“In the 1960s the Atlanta Bonsai Society began a Japanese Garden which was largely a collection of bonsai plants. It was a charming and restful little garden, but it was eventually vandalized and the bonsai were stolen, so the Bonsai Society gave it up. In 1980 the Japanese Garden was restored as part of the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Initially the Japanese Garden had no water, and white sand was used to form “pools”. In a 1984 renovation, water replaced the sand. In 1996-97 the garden was renovated once again by a generous gift made possible by the Bonsai Society, the Cherokee Garden Club, the Ivy Garden Club and Mrs. Ferst. The structures, including the stone wall, were designed and constructed by Toshihiro Sahara.

“The design combines several styles of traditional Japanese gardens, including elements of a hill-and-pond garden, courtyard garden and tea garden. The chozubachi stone basin is used in a purification ritual before the tea ceremony. It is placed on the ground so that one must crouch over it to rinse the hands and mouth, therefore humbling and clearing the mind.  The machiai (pronounced mah-chee-eye) or tea garden waiting bench is a place to rest, reflect, and enjoy the garden.

“The Japanese Garden is basically a monochromatic garden; nearly everything is green, with variation of texture and shading. Color is used sparingly to highlight seasonal change – irises and azaleas bloom in spring, maples change color and drop their leaves in the fall. However most of plants used are evergreen.  Reverence of nature is the guiding philosophy in Japanese gardening. The main garden primarily contains plants from Japan, while the surrounding gardens highlight interesting plants from all over Asia.

A sweetly subtle way to acknowledge a donor — the name is inscribed on a stepping stone leading to the machiai.

“A collection of harp-string nandinas, or kinshi nanten, were added during the 1997 renovation.  These rare cultivars were popular in Japan from the 1600s to the 1800s. Also of interest are a number of dwarf conifers and Japanese maples. The large pine tree is a Virginia scrub pine, Pinus virginiana. It is planted and trimmed to give the appearance of great age. Other noteworthy trees include the weeping Japanese persimmon, Diospyros kaki, in the corner, the Stewartia monadelpha against the fence, and the weeping Japanese snowbell, Styrax japonica, next to the east gate. On the right are two groupings of Equisetum hyemale, or horsetail. This prehistoric plant is related to ferns, but it is not a fern and has no leaves or fronds. It reproduces by spores and spreads underground like bamboo.

“The Moon Gate, typically a feature of Chinese Gardens, was completed in 1985. When the moon gate was built it was necessary to cut the round window in the back of the machiai because it is essential to have a vista through the gate. Twice blooming Autumn Encore azaleas have been planted here. They bloom in spring and fall.

“The large lantern at the southwest entrance (near the hydrangea garden) is over 300 years old.  It was donated by Minaminippon Broadcasting Co. in Kagoshima, Japan, Atlanta’s sister city, in 1963.”

lantern by the back gate

The horticultural staff maintains the Japanese garden, contracting out a few chores. For example, the gate to the tea house was removed and sent out to repair termite damage.

Toshihira Sahara mentioned above not only ran Architectural Woodworks in Atlanta, but also served as minister for a small Japanese congregation.

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