Friday, December 24, 2010


The stats for SJGCB tell us we have readers around the world - thank you for stopping by and to all of you:

Merry Christmas
Happy New Year

Thanks, Keiko, for helping with Japanese msg and for the link to the article about Christmas in Japan.

Below stats on 10 top countries our readers came from just this month:

United States

Friday, December 17, 2010

SJG has a FLICR group!

by aleks
Stone Bridge

Rachel emailed that SJG established a FLICR group; this is from her email:  "Flicr is a photo sharing site. The idea of creating a group for the Garden is to allow visitors to share photos of their visit in one place."

It's a yahoo account, which everybody can join for free, hopefully a fun idea for the readers of this blog, too.  It currently has 11 members and 67 beautiful photos.  Signing up seems very easy - I haven't yet, but will as soon as I make some sharing-worthy pics.  You can view the pics without joining, here:
SJG Flicr group.

The photo above is from the site, author:  David M. Cobb.  Enjoy the rest of the pics and perhaps join the group and add yours! :)

I'll post a link to this site under Garden Events (on the left) - it'll be sitting there permanently, at least till Garden reopens...  May have to relocate it then, so it doesn't get lost....

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hanamayu Exhibit

by Maggie C

Hi, I’ve really enjoyed reading the blog. Thanks so much for its creation, and everyone’s entries! It  helps us  stay connected during the garden’s winter closing, and provide more content to enhance our enjoyment of the garden.
So, here is my first small contribution to help with that connection and enhancement…..
I visited the Japanese Consulate in Washington DC this fall to view HANAMAYU, an exhibit of silk cocoon flowers. The flowers are so unique and beautiful, I think the blog readers would enjoy seeing the photos and hearing about the process.

Hanamayu is an original art form created by artist Tomike Sakai. From the Japanese hana, meaning flower, and mayu, meaning cocoon, hanamayu are timeless flower arrangements composed of silk.
The silk cocoon is a strong and lightweight material. The flower is created through a simple yet delicate process of gently twisting the silk cocoon between the artist’s fingers. The artist takes advantage of the natural shape of each cocoon.

The photos show the process

1. Silkworm caterpillars make silk cocoons during their process of metamorphosis. The cocoon is spun from a single silk filament stretching1300 meters long when unwound. The small silkworm entrusts his life to this thin thread.

2. The silk thread is made in Japan. Over the centuries, Japan has developed beautiful and distinctive silk threads. The kimono, the traditional dress of Japan and a symbol of Japanese culture, is woven from silk.

3. Hanamayu uses waste cocoons which are dirty, damaged or have already been used for silk. Though often stained or misshapen, when dyed they display a beautiful variety of shades.

4. A petal shape is cut with the natural curve of the cocoon. Many thin pieces are peeled off of the cocoon.

5. Layers can be peeled from the petal shape to make multiple petals, which are then glued together to form the flower. Layers are peeled from the cocoon in a similar manner to form the leaves.

6. Finally, petals and leaves are joined. The flower is complete.

The exhibit included arrangements that celebrated seasons. Here are two of the seasons…..

Small peach blossoms like these, which express the joy of the coming of spring, are displayed along with the Emperor and Empress dolls during the Doll’s Festival, on March 3rd.

The camellia is displayed with a small rice cake, a good omen for the New Year’s harvest and a common site during the New Year’s celebration of oshougatsu.

Many of the works on display were most recently showcased at the Shanghai World Exposition in June 2010 in both the Japan pavilion and the reception hall.  Here is a link to a site: It has better pictures.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

It's a butoh dance! it's a SJG guide!

by aleks

We normally do not put advertisements on this blog, but this deserves an exception:  our own guide, Joan Laage, directs and dances butoh in the upcoming December production.  I wouldn't want you to miss this DaipanButoh presentation :  December 9th @ 8:00 Pm; Good Shepherd Chapel, Seattle,  4649 Sunnnyside Ave. N.
Photo by Briana Jones

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Less is More

by Monzie

SJG • 11/17/10 photo by Monzie
When the garden's front gates closed for the season November 14, activity shifted to maintenance.  I went over to watch the work in progress in rain and less rain.

Parks staff and consultant Masa and his crew were providing observers with a two-week double header this year.  Workers were thinning and eliminating along the garden's east side between the main path and fence in addition to pruning some 50 pines and tending to other annual tasks.

Result:  New, more open vistas to the east! 

Scripts for visitors may need amendment.  Shizue was there, carefully noting eliminations.

When supervisor Lisa came by she talked about the fundraising planned so the west side can receive the same attention next year.

After watching the thinning and eliminating - and enjoying the heavy scent of cedar - I paused by the pruners doing a high wire act in front of the Emperor's Gate.

Farther along, a drowsy mini-school of koi languidly waved their tails

At the north end's five pines, three pruners closely examined branches, then snipped, showing me how they had opened the tree and enhanced the layered, windswept look.

Leaving the garden,  I passed large branches on their way to the truck outside where they were reduced to chips.

I looked back at the closed gates.  When they reopen February 13, the garden will have a new, more expansive look.  Truly, less is more.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sayonara. Till spring...

by aleks

SJG - 11/14/10,  4:00 PM • We Closed the Garden.
The staff and volunteers will welcome you back in February 2011.

The last tour of the year is over. The last sitting of Katsura exhibition is done.  The garden season of 2010 is finished.  A couple from Snohomish (she originally from Texas and a he from England) took the tour, as well as a couple from Seattle and a happy, smiling lady I don't know where from, because she joined us half way through the tour.  A very strange feeling to be doing the last tour of the season.  If it wasn't for the fact that I was scheduled for Katsura sitting I'd drag it forever to try defy the time and make it last a little while longer.
SJG • 11/14/10 - It's getting dark.  Lantern reflection in the pond...

We all took in the last sights of the colorful autumn garden: the red maples and yellow ginko leaves, the late afternoon light breaking through the clouds and gently caressing the evergreen pines, even the tiny drizzle of rain which which felt like happy tears upon seeing the image of perfection.  The last fall haiku in Azumaya read:
trusting its fate 
to the autumn wind...
Kobayashi Issa, 1808, translated by David Lanou

And what is duckweed?  Somebody asked. I don't really know, will check. A plant, or something, which will travel with wind, trusting to be deposited where it needs to be.

We came across Mary Ann C. horsing around like a kid while picking the ginko leaves for drying:  it's true, they are like this - pretty and yellow - only shortly this time of the year:  'It'll be good to dry them and show them to people touring in the spring'.  Besides, she said, she just wanted to steal the last glances of the Garden before it closes for the rainy season.
SJG • 11/14/10:  Kids:  'Good night, fishes!'

Many people and children were doing the same:  trying to catch the last sight of koi, the last view from the Kobe lantern position's on the top of the mountain hill, the last picture of of the fall leaves.  Everybody happy, kind of  in a dreamy mood of the 1947 'Goodnight moon' bedtime story by Margaret Wilson Brown: goodnight red maple, goodnight Mr. Yamazaki pine, goodnight bridges and lanterns...  Goodnight kingfisher - was it you, making so much noise above the lake tonight?  Were you, too, saying goodnight?  You can fly over the admission booth tomorrow...

Michele was Katsura- sitting when i breathlessly arrived in the T-room for my photo-sitting shift.  No, she and Mary Ann K. wouldn't mind if I went back to take a few last pictures and collect a few ginko leaves myself.  So I walked back, and saw a happy young man smiling at the scenery, just breathing and taking it all in.   He later stopped by the Katsura exhibition, but it was closing now, too.  David is his name, it transpired later, when we chatted in front of the now closed gate, from Boston, presently living in Seattle - hopefully chiming in here soon, so I can tell him about other gardens, open all winter here.

SJG • 11/14/10 • 'Is that the tree everybody
is talking about?'   Yes, ginko 'snow'

When I was taking the last pics of ginkos a young couple joined me: she was training her camera lenses on the  leaves covering the ground, while he asked: 'Is that the tree everybody is talking about?'.  Yes, yes. 'The snow of ginkos on the ground?'  That's it.
P.S. Duckweed, or water lentils, the smallest flowering plants,  are aquatic plants which float on or just beneath the surface of still or slow-moving fresh water bodies...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Autumn in the Garden

by aleks

I went to look at the leaves last Sunday, a beautiful and sunny day; had my camera with me and here are some raw impressions, not as good as the Garden itself and not even photo-edited, because I have to yet learn how to harness iPhoto on my computer.  Enjoy for what it's worth:

SJG 11/7/10 • Tea house, waiting area outside

SJG 11/7/10 • Majestic gincos and their reflections
SJG 7/11/10 • Lantern looking at the West Path
SJG 11/7/10 • Stone bridge area

SJG 11/7/10 • View from the north (from mountain foothills)
SJG 11/7/10 • ginco 'snow' on the East path

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Welcome New Bloggers!

by aleks
11/7/10; on Edit:  
Welcome, Maggie C - the third brave soul to sign up for blogging soon!

It's not just Monzie, Keiko and  me anymore here.  Our blogging workshop was quite successful: we mainly covered blogging basics and how to post a comment (if you need tutorial with pics email me, I'll send it to you), but already 8 brave souls requested a key to the blog...

Two of them actually used it:  if you scroll down on the right side to 'Contributors', you will see two names added:
- rd zane  (I will tell you this one time that it's Robert)
- Lynnda

Hopefully we will read your contributions soon.

石の上に三年 ishi no ue ni san nen
Literally: Three years on the rock.  Meaning: It takes a long time sitting on a stone before it becomes warm. Expect to work at something for three years before you see results.

    Wednesday, October 27, 2010

    A Rainy Day Tour

    SJG - October colors (taken on a sunny day)
    by aleks

    Yesterday was raining cats and dogs and my calendar had 1:00 PM tour for Arboretum Foundation Unit 41; would they come in such weather?   The SJG docent group makes AF Unit 86 (that's us, the guides) and I always wondered who the remaining 85 units are, now I could ask, if they show up.  Almost all of them did and it turned out they share the love of gardening and mainly help with AF events.  'So, do you want a TOUR tour? You probably know all of that already'.  Regular tour is fine, but may have some questions about the design and maintenance, they answered, and off into the rain we went.

    I normally avoid guiding groups listed as 'gardeners' of any kind, simply because my knowledge of plants is not enough for their curiosity - this gang tricked me, being listed as something else. May have to be that they will teach ME something, I thought after they revealed their true gardener identities. We just started the tour and stopped by the paperbark maple;  the question came: 'do you know its botanical name?'  Nope, eerr, or maybe I do, kind of: Acer? Acer palmatum something?  Several of them noded and then told me: 'Acer, but not palmatum, no palm-like leaves here, it's Acer griseum'. (All right, the way it's going I'm sure by the end of the tour I'l get several tree names firmly attached to my brain cells :) )

    Paper bark maple leaves
    It's pretty hard to find pictures of Acer griseum leaves because most people photograph its famously peeling, cinnamon colored bark: try putting the name of the paper bark maple into a goggle 'image search' and you will get countless images of the trunk alone.  I had to do a specific search, and the pic here came from the TreeTopic website.

    By the Katsuga lantern we are all under umbrellas or rain-hoods; the Garden looked spectacular with its autumn foliage, just with a different, but still breath taking away wet-angle to it.  Unit 41 gardeners had many questions about maintenance, plus noted and admired many details normally overlooked by the tourist-visitors: how well the moss is kept, clever rooting of the cotoneaster in the northern rock wall and the general weed-free look of the place; they had a deep understanding why our garden maintenance crew starts their day at 6 or 7 am, well before the rest of us gets there -  to prepare the garden for presentation.

    The tour lasted well above the prescribed hour - as the rain never stops a true gardener.  It was the cold air that finally brought us back to the gate, our hands and noses red, but still chatting the garden wonders.  Now I have only 84 AF units to figure out.  Joan L. and Maggie C. guided the rest of Unit 41; perhaps they'll chime in with their wet impressions.

    十人十色 •  juu nin to iro - different strokes for different folks • lit: " 10 people; 10 colors "

    Monday, October 18, 2010

    Maple Viewing Fest

    by aleks

    I'm sure Seattle Parks officials are thrilled by the attendance of the Maple Viewing Fest this year -  I have never seen our Japanese Garden that crowded and although it probably means it is getting its well deserved recognition, I surely hope we will not become that crowded on regular basis.  Professor Ken Brown, of the California State University Long Beach, who had to climb benches a few times to be heard by us all during his over-attended public tour, quipped that the Japanese garden is a lot like Disneyland: lots of hills and valleys crowded into small space, to make illusion of a much bigger space than it really is. Having to step aside while making room for strolling fellow visitors and getting run into by a few of them,  made me think that  illusion of the size is not the only similarity this Sunday.

    Beautiful weather surely spiked the attendance, as people rushed out on a brilliant day to catch the last rays of sun, admire the vivid colors or enjoy the taiko drummers before the rainy season closes on us...

    I was scheduled to cover the origami table afternoon shift; was a bit worried how to make up for the fact that my skills are only one lesson old... Thankfully Elizabeth M. showed up, unscheduled, and kindly offered her help if anyone wanted to do something else; so I went to catch the tour/lecture and a few pics of the autumn leaves.  Upon my return Elizabeth and Lynnda were still patiently  folding paper and making boxes and cranes with everyone who wanted to learn -  a very popular activity all day.

    The ikebana exhibit was well attended, too - and so was the Katsura photo-art part 2, as they shared the Tateuchi Room.

    Lynnda taught me how to make an origami box only a week ago; yesterday she taught me how to make an origami crane.  Sorry I wasn't a good student, or a good co-worker at the Maple Viewing Fest (I chatted with guests too much) but I so appreciated my first pink crane!

    Below are on-line instructions on how  to make origami box and crane - both links will take you to very delightful sites about the origami art:
    - origami box here
    - origami crane here

    猿も木から落ちる (Saru mo ki kara ochiru) -- even experts make mistakes (lit. Even monkeys drop from a tree) (typically translated as Even Homer sometimes nods)

    Friday, October 15, 2010

    A short film about the Garden

    Ginkos in SJG
    by aleks

    Tuesday edition of Seattle Times (Local News) published an article by Sonia Krishman titled 'Photographers feast on fall colors at special Japanese Garden shoots' - click on the title of the article to read it, and don't miss the video attached to it - you will enjoy it on many levels...

    BTW, I think there is a couple of photo session still open to photographers this year  - check with the Park for space availability.

    Here is direct link to Seattle Times film about SJG photo session - if it loads too long on your computer (it does on my) try going through the article above...

    Saturday, October 9, 2010

    Weaving Wonders at the Burke Museum

    by Monzie

    On your way to or from the garden, take a swing (it's not too far a swing) through the Burke Museum's new exhibit of textile masterpieces from Japan and 12 other countries and regions on the Pacific Rim and Tibet.

    Traditionally, weaving has been shared by individuals, families and communities working  patterns representing local legends and beliefs into cloth.  Now largely replaced by machines, the skill is being promoted in a growing number of craft centers worldwide, while examples of past and present works are preserved in such collections as the Burke's.

    The exhibit contains approximately 10 examples of colorful textiles from each region with explanatory text - both superbly illuminated in one large room. (No sore feet when you leave.)

    But:  No Photography Allowed.  Today's adaptation of A. A. Milne's fearsome "Trespassers W."

    Introductory displays have examples of fibers (cotton, wool, silk), colors for dying, tools and looms used in weaving.  A show stopper factoid for me:  a cultivated silk worm's cocoon is unraveled in a single continuous filament that can reach as long a 1,600 yards. (Four cocoons are on view.) No wonder the Chinese kept the process secret for 2,500 years under punishment by death.

    Lots of opportunities to try your  hand at weaving,  too.  Available references include sources of local instruction and bibliographies.

    I visited at 2 pm and happened to have the room to myself, except for a student monitor who gave me the O.K. to move a small stool  to in front of the Japanese textiles so I could have a prolonged,  seated look.  Some highlights:

    • Length of green kasuri cloth (19C), a method using resist dyed threads to produce images, in this case of lobsters in white where the thread had been resist dyed.
    • Ainu robe (1937) woven of elm bark and cotton in muted shades, clearly showing its distinctive culture within Japan.
    • Woman's kimono (furisake) in silk (1931) worn on Coming of Age Day,
    • Woman's outer bridal kimono (uchikake) in silk (1975) of the type worn beginning in the 16C by ladies of warriors and noble families.
    Motifs:  waterfalls, branches, flying birds, blossoms and bamboo.

    Midori Thiel will be talking about textiles and bringing some from her own collection November 6 when she speaks to guides on Nature in Japan's Performing and Fine Arts.

    I moved my stool to other collections.  Travelers will have recognition moments like the one I had seeing a rug from Oaxaca with woven symbols of the Zapotec language and small diamonds beautifully described as the "eyes of rain."

    Because every post should have a picture, the one here is a mat I have from the Center of Traditional Textiles, a demonstration weaving center in Cuzco, Peru, another country represented in the exhibit.  The weaver, Tasiana Quispe Auccacusi, has interpreted a river in a style traditional to the Chinceros of the Quechua.  The center was established in 1998 to aid in the survival of Peruvian textiles and weaving traditions.

    Don't miss this exhibit!  Check for information and the schedule of weaving demonstrations.

    Monday, October 4, 2010

    Volunteer Appreciation Lunch

    Yesterday: I was reading and just minding my own business while Katsura-exhibition-sitting, when Libby bursted into Tateuchi Room,  bucket of pretty flowers in her hands; she looked definitely excited, and I was definitely bored (no fun in reading about HTML code for the technically challenged undersigned).

    SJG - 10/4/10 Volunteer Appreciation Day
    'What's that for?'  'Tomorrow's Volunteer Appreciation Day'  - she smiled broadly...  'Oh, yeah, so who is catering?'  'Nobody is catering, Thomas and David will be cooking for you, they just brought barbecue grill on the premises!'.  What?  You mean no usual 'thank-you speeches' while chewing on the well-intentioned, but often cardboardy catered food?

    SJG - 10/4/10 Soup with a view
    Today: Now, I don't know anybody who volunteers for getting appreciation lunches, but it was quite something else what the Japanese Garden Advisory Council and Seattle Parks Department had in mind!  It was more like pre-WW2 village wedding I read of somewhere:  big red tent in the court-yard with tables set under it, barbecue grill fired up on the back of the T-Room and miso soup (with a view) simmering on its patio, past the wide open French door, snacks and salads inside the T-Room, extremely attentive Garden/Council staff people who smilingly invited us to many-course meal, with... gasp.. hardly any speeches.  Just 'we love you and thank you' atmosphere.

    Hiroko in a pretty apron was doing a double duty as a guest and a soup/cultural specialist,  Consul of Japan politely pointing out to our welcoming gift: a red bag, with a set of chopsticks, my-green-tea bags, cookies, spices, postcards of Japan and other goodies inside. And then just being gladly relaxed together for a few fleeting hours, while normally we are scattered about the Garden, attending to our separate tasks.

    SJG - 10/4/10 Consul of Japan and the red bags
    The Food!  I keep telling myself this is NOT a food blog (I wish! and maybe get recipes in the comment section in return), but the food is sooo worth mentioning...  I want to make those of you who were not able to make it today plain jealous:  two miso soups: one with clams, and one with tofu, grilled chicken and shrimp satays, oysters (in many ways), then roll your own sushi with smoked salmon and steamed rice + wasabi or plum sauce, seaweed and spinach salads, then apple cider, pomegranate juice and then green tea +  the most decadent cakes baked personally by Rachel. 
    Karate Cook & 'I-learned-cooking-from-TV' Cook

    If they burned it all on the grill, overcooked the soup and left accidental pecan shells in the cake, made it awful and inedible, it would be still the most wonderful meal,  because of the attention to detail and love conveyed. It was truly like visiting someone's house: the hosts were the most gracious and welcoming. I was floored... And yes, felt super-appreciated. 

    Were you? Please, send your pics if you took any - we can post more in T-Room section.   What a day it was!  Thanks Seattle Parks and  SJAC!  =D>
    (Clapping hands smilie the result of reading about HTML code, ha!)
    The courtyard red tent (the rest of the people by the the grill & pots & trays elsewhere)
    P.S. Having grown up in a totalitarian country I'm naturally paranoid and give no last names on the blog, unless I have a permission or someone is already internationally famous or published... Ditto for no close-ups pics. 

    見ぬが花 • Minu ga hana.  • Literally: Not seeing is a flower. • Meaning: Reality can't compete with imagination.

    Wednesday, September 29, 2010

    SJG Plant List 2010

    This is a smile for Kathleen Smith: a long-time AF Unit 86 volunteer, who worked with Seattle Parks and Recreation to research the plant collection of the Japanese Garden for the original list and created the Plant List Booklet in 1995, and updated it until 2008.

    Kathleen no longer lives in a walking distance from the Garden, and it took a committee of 8 people to prepare a current update - work that she did all those years by herself.

    Plants of the Japanese Garden List 2010 is available at the booth in the Garden, and also on the Seattle Park and Recreation's   JG webpage.  Click on 'About Garden' (or scroll down to that section) to find a list of park resources including the 'Japanese Garden Plant Booklet.'

    This is for you, Kathleen!  THANK YOU!

    まかぬ種は生えぬ (Makanu tane ha haenu) -- (lit. It doesn't bud if you don't seed)

    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    Important Message from the Nominating Committee

    I'm copying this from the 'comments' section, for greater visibility:

    All Volunteers: The SJG has many very talented members! We hope everyone will contact a nominating committee member (Mary Ann Cahill, Mary Nagan and Mary Ann Wiley) and offer to be a candidate for President, Secretary or Treasurer for the 2011 year or suggest someone who would be a good candidate.

    物は試し (Monowa tameshi) -- give it a try (lit. things are to be tried) Just do it in English

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010

    Respect for Elders Day Sept 20

    SJG 2010 - Respect for the Elders Day;
    photo by Monzie
    What started out as an iffy morning weather-wise in the garden on Respect for Elders Day (keiro-no-hi) ended shortly before noon in sun bursts that forecast a fine afternoon.  On cue, the turtles began scaling the rock on Turtle Island's south side to encouraging words from small bands of visitors circling the lake.

    I caught up with an 11-member group from the International District Community Center who clustered on the moon-viewing platform, excitedly pointing to the fish as ducks and koi competed for food and  laughing as a turtle sedately paddled by to join the feeding frenzy  The resident heron was elsewhere...

    The group moved on to the tableland to pause at a newly planted Mt Fuji cherry tree. This was site  of a ceremony last week attended by the Japanese ambassador to celebrate the garden's 50th anniversary.  At the tree's foot stands a small, white, irregularly-shaped stone bearing a plaque, which reads:

    SJG 2010 - New Mt. Fuji Cherry; photo by Monzie
    "Prunus Shirotae (Mt Fuji cherry)
    This tree is a propagation of the one planted by Japanese Crown Prince Akihito in 1960
    Best wishes for another 50 years of friendship
    Between the US and Japan
    September 16, 2010
    In celebration of the 50th Anniversary.
    Japanese Ambassador and Mrs. Ichiro Fujisaki
    Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn
    Consulate-General of Japan, Seattle
    Japanese Business Association of Seattle"

    My own tour group of 12 curious seniors wanted to see all - no skirting the hills - and game for picking their way across stones at the base of the falls  When told the age of the black pine overlooking the north end of the lake (plus or minus 100 years), a wave of appreciation swept through.  "At last, something older than I am," came from the rear.

    SJG 2010 - Origami table; photo by Monzie
    Back at the gatehouse, guides Sue Clark, Jeanne Peterson and Lynnda Laurie presided over the origami table set up under cover outside the Tateuchi Room where they led absorbed visitors through paper folding steps.  I admired the completed birds, boxes, balls and my favorite, a jumping frog with an Olympic-record leap. 

    Close by, departing visitors examined the exhibit of photographs of the Katsura palace taken in 1960 by Ishimoto Yasuhiro.  As I left the gate, a growing group of respected elders sat under a red tent in the courtyard, now protected from the sun rather than rain, waiting patiently for the next tour.

    SJG 2010 - Strolling through; photo by Monzie
    Sources tell me that Respect for Elders Day, which celebrates a Confucian value, is a relatively new national holiday in Japan, observed on the third Monday in September  Its origin was in a village in 1947. (It takes a village.)  Within three years, the observance spread throughout the prefecture (province) and achieved nation-wide status in 1966.  Among the day's customs:  distribution of free lunches and sweets to those over age 60.

    Monday, September 13, 2010

    Other Gardens: Dallying with the Dahlias

    Here is the first post from the guest-blogger, our fellow guide, Monzie.  Can you guess who Monzie is? I put a pic of Monzie in the right-side bar. aleks

    My dahlias are doing poorly this year (not a bloom yet); so last weekend I popped over to the Seattle Dahlia Society's annual dahlia show in Lake City for some inspiration.

    After a "hi" to the society's greeter behind the welcome table, who had a show-stealing puppy on her lap, I joined 12 others browsing among one zillion gorgeous scarlet, orange, yellow and white blooms on five long tables, helpfully arranged by type of dahlia - you know, formal and informal, decorative, cactus and semi-cactus, ball and so on - many with award ribbons alongside. Spectacular blooms for a p patch; too much for a Japanese garden.

    Passing by the really, really big ones - a bright lemon yellow flower as big as a dinner plate - I headed for the ball and mini. Setting out to be uncharacteristically organized about this thing, I picked out the eight dahlias that appealed to me most, wrote down their names, then retraced my steps to take a picture of each in the same order. Enjoy a few above!

    Now I'm set to buy tubers for next year. But, still, how to avoid producing more reluctant dahlias? The answer was at hand! In addition to a very well done display on how to grow them, there was a $2 pamphlet with large print and close-up photos with arrows clearly pointing to "eyes", "neck", "center bud" and "side bud", etc, which described eight steps. My big take away was Step 1: Plant tubers in potting soil until they sprout then transplant. Aha! That's giving them a head start. Goal: Early blooms in 2011!

    Unit 86 needs new officers

    Our Unit 86 a.k.a. 'Japanese Garden Guides and Volunteers' group needs you!

    The nominating committee would like to hear ASAP from anyone who wants to be considered as officer  for the next year.  The positions that need to be filled are:  President, Secretary and Treasurer.

    SJG - Photo by Mary Nagan 8/24/10
    The tenure for each post is one year and it is another way to give back to Unit 86 and to learn more about the inner workings of our group.

    The process of nominating starts right now, and hopefully will be completed by our 10/23 Fall Meeting.  All positions come with full support from previous office holders.

    If you are interested in serving in any of the above positions, simply leave a comment on this blog and I will respond privately by connecting you with the nominating committee, or email me on my comcast account, or contact any of the currently serving officers.