Monday, January 31, 2011

Garden will reopen February 13th

by aleks

What possessed me to stop by on the rainy Saturday and look?  The Garden is as closed and locked as it has been since November:

But the rain drops on koto noito maple and on the pine tree in the courtyard look beautiful:

I shot this sign through the gate:

ATTENTION:  Our Education committee will be posting here the full 2011 program of activities about a week before the Garden opens.  So check here in about a week's time.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A word from our Continuing Education Committee

by aleks
SJG  2010 - Photo by Mary Nagan
I posted this info in the right hand side column to stay there, under 'Garden Volunteers' info, but here is a post to draw your attention to it, as I got the message from our Continuing Education Committee, which reads as follows:

Hi, Aleks!
Here's the list of dates and topics for 2011. I've included  separate category for Field Trips because Dewey got in touch some months ago in order to avoid conflict with our Saturday programs as  has happened in the last two years. 
Others have volunteered to lead field trips and their names may be added.  I should mention that the cont . ed. committee regards field trips as a separate type of activity most effectively arranged by the volunteer leader,  with publicity help from the committee (and appreciative support)!
Thanks for posting!  Please let me know if there are any problems.
 More info will follow shortly on the Feb. 17 programs.  

Guides’ Continuing Education Meetings
2011 Preliminary Schedule and Topics: 
All meetings are from 10:30 am to 12 noon in the Tateuchi Community Room.

Thursday, February 17  - Techniques for effective guiding
Saturday, March 19 - Inside story of koi, garden stars
Thursday, May 19 - Water from garden entrance to exit
Saturday, June 18 - Photo essay on Kenroku-en, West Japan & b
otanical drawings

Thursday, July 21 - Serving tea in contemporary Japan
Saturday, August 20 - Buddhist influences in the Japanese garden
Thursday, September 15 - Japanese art from guides’ personal collections
Saturday, November 5 - Festivals and holidays in Japan

Guides’ Field Trips: 
Saturday, June 4 - Seattle Chinese Garden Tour –   Guide Dewey

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Reflections on being a new guide

by Lynnda
Last Spring, I spent 4 consecutive Tuesdays training to be a guide at the Seattle Japanese Garden. We were given a notebook filled with all varieties of information. In addition, we had many very enthusiastic and knowledgeable speakers each week. We then toured the Garden with experienced gardeners and guides. How would any of us be able to condense this vast amount of information to a 45 minute guided tour???

SJG - Koi  -  Photo by Lynnda
I was quite nervous before my first tour. My Japanese pronuciations leave much to be desired. How do other guides remember all the correct words? Who could remember all the names of the plants? What if I got some of the information mixed up and told untruths? I was filled with self-doubt and was feeling quite unprepared.

SJG-Blooming Osmathus  -  Photo by Lynnda
My first tour consisted of two couples from far away and they had never been to this garden nor to any Japanese garden. They asked questions I could answer and the garden was gorgeous. The winter hazel (corylopsis) and osmanthus were in bloom and their fragrances filled the air. I did several tours in May and June and was always thrilled to see the progression of blooms. Every week a different plant was more vibrant than all the others.

Two tours gave me practice in handling the unexpected. Humor helped. On was a tour of six; two young women, two older men who often left the tour and returned every few minutes (wanderers), and 2 other women, one with a walker. When we reached the north-west end of the pond, I explained that we were going to reverse our walk and would see new things and hear stories not yet told. One of the men asked why we had to do that and I explained that the stairs were an impediment for the walker. Without saying a word, he carried the walker (not the woman) up the stairs and the 2 younger women assisted the woman without her walker to climb the stairs. This all happened in a heart-beat, and I wondered what an experienced guide would, or could, have done.

SJG - Turtle sunning - Photo by Lynnda
My other memorable tour was a goup of 3rd graders. I had six students and 2 dads on my tour. At one of my training sessions, someone had suggested that mangifying glasses were a good tool to use with elementary students. What a great idea! My group seemed very energetic, so I was surprised when I arrived at the azumaya and no one was behind me. Looking back on the path, the students were on their hands and knees, studying something intently. They were completely engaged and I was happy to see that until I realized what they were doing. One of the dads was showing how to start a fire using the magnifying glass and some dried leaves! Thanks Dads! And I thought you were supposed to be helping. I haven't brought my magnifying glasses to a tour since then.

SJG - Autumn Gingko leaves - Photo by Lynnda
The Garden is closed now, and I am reviewing the notebook we received during training. I've forgotten so much! I'm looking forward to new adventures and additional learning. I'm looking forward to sharing the Garden with visitors and seeing my fellow guides again in 2011. I can't wait for the explosion of color in May and June, the tranquility of lazy summer days, and most of all, introducing my new granddaughter to the Garden. : )

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Our Master Gardeners: 'adios' to Kathy and 'welcome' to Sue

by aleks
from MAC's email yesterday:

Hi Aleks,
I stopped by the Garden this afternoon to say "adios" to Kathy, as this is her last day at the Garden.  I was able to meet the new gardener, Sue, so got a picture of them & took a few of the Garden, also.  I told Kathy I would forward the picture to you & you can post it on the blog - how convenient that I don't know how to do it, so you get to do the work!!!!  

SJG 4/1/11 - We will miss you, Kathy & we can't wait to meet you, Sue. Photo by MAC

The second picture is of the koi under the ice between the wisteria arbor & the lantern at the harbor's edge - Kathy said that is the deepest part of the pond, so that is where they hang out in a comatose state.  

SJG - 4/1/11 - Comatose koi under the ice:(  will they be all right? Photo by MAC

Both streams were frozen over as was the pond - the third picture is one of the streams...

SJG - Frozen stream on 1/4/11.  Ooops,  seems like frozen dead...  Photo by MAC

Your husband's pictures at the Botanical Gardens were wonderful! 

PS - I sent this email to you earlier, but it came back as undelivered.  Don't know if I had too many pictures attached (Juno is weird in that respect), so I'm sending the first picture with this email - if it goes through, I'll send each picture in a separate email.  MAC

[Thank you, MAC, for your email and great message; and let me know when you are ready for blog-tutorial. aleks]

Sunday, January 2, 2011

test post

the google group for readers of this blog ignored the last 2 posts, so i'm tinkering with its settings to see if it'll sends email to members now.

P.S. a few hours later: IT WORKED!  the google group DID send notifications - if you want to be notified about new posts,  please let me know by email under my profile; i'll add your email to the readers group...  HAPPY 2011!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Other gardens - Bellevue Botanical Garden d'Lights

by aleks
Each year around Christmas holidays  the Bellevue Botanical Garden prepares enormously popular light show which transform BBG into  a blossoming winter wonderland.  This year it took over 8600 hours donated by 216 volunteers and over 1/2 million lights to create this spectacular display, popular with kids and adults alike.

The vegetable garden with corn stalks, grapes on the wine field complete with a Scarecrow welcomes you at the entrance, then made-of-lights- christmas tree by the door, and then you proceed through a colorful meadow on the lawn, pond with a swan, tropical garden with palms and mccaw and alligator, squirrel on the patio, waterfalls and river complete with fish.  The visitor center houses a giant made-of-lights aquarium with fish, crab, sea horses and starfish; children happily scream upon finding spider's web, geckos or a slug, all listed on a map given to visitors at the entrance gate.

There is a photo gallery at the BBG Garden d'Lights website, and here are a few pics taken by my husband on 12/30/10, enjoy (the lights exhibit closes today):

(Click on the pics to enlarge them)
Meadow on the lawn
Pond (I see the duck, but the brochure said it's a 'swan') - pretty anyway...
Corn stalks on the edge of the grape field
Pampas grass
Another view of the pond
The Japanese part of the BBG: trees got special night glow with lights