Sunday, March 18, 2012

Winter Garden Work Completed

by Lynnda

Transformed maple  SJG
For those guides who were unable to attend the recent tours led by senior gardener, Sue DeNure, here is a summary of changes you may notice on your tours this year.  Some of the changes were suggested by Masa, a Japanese gardener who annually travels to Seattle to assist in preserving the scale necessary for the garden.  In my opinion, the most incredible work was done on the Japanese maple just inside the entrance.  Masa had suggested that the tree be moved to the left, five to six feet, and turned 180 degrees to better suit its position near the rocks.  To accomplish this feat, the edge rocks were removed, the tree dug out, turned around, moved south six feet, replanted, rocks replaced, and the moss replaced. The path looks natural, and who would have thought that such a transition would ever be possible?  If you were visiting the garden for the first time, you would never guess the extent of this change.  I am looking forward to seeing the tree when the leaves reappear.
Rhododendron sutchuenence in bloom now  SJG
On the eastern side of the path across from the WPA bridge, the cedar (thuja occidentalis pendula) with support has been removed.  The trunk was rotted and the tree was hanging over the path.   Stepping stones were installed to the bench near the paper bark maple, in the area just south east of this new space.  Additional mondo grass was added to better vegetate this area. 

Throughout the garden, maple trees have been pruned.  Some have been removed and one was moved to the west path along the fence.  The mountain area has had some clearing, allowing visitors to see the topography of the mountain, allowing the pagoda to be more visible.   
Looking north at the pagoda  SJG
The mountain, after some clearing  SJG
Other structures in the garden were either repaired or rebuilt.  The dobashi, or mud bridge, near the former eastern gate, was rebuilt.  The main support beans were still viable, but the cross pieces were replaced with new logs of cryptomeria, salvaged from the MOHAI site.  The willow has a new support beam and was pruned, although the tree is in decline.  The visible black patches on the tree are a type of natural fungus.  The ADA bridge was repaired and a brace was replaced on the wisteria arbor.  The arbor is going to be replaced in the near future.
New support on the willow  SJG

Logs replaced on the Dobashi  SJG
The grounds around the tea house have been pruned and opened for better visibility into the roji.  Two cryptomeria have been removed, trees that were too large for the area.  Their removal has reshaped the valley appearance when viewed from the north end of the inland sea.
Roji and tea house, looking east  SJG   

Several cherry trees were diseased and had to be removed.  Some of the trees will be replanted, and a large azalea bed will be installed in the future.

Possibly the most difficult situation for the gardeners this year was the flooding caused by the broken water main above the western side of the garden.  It was fortunate that it happened during the day, and on a day when their were additional crew working in the garden.  A huge amount of water (my notes say 100,000 gallons - is that accurate??)
Tea house visible from the eastern shore  SJG
of chlorinated water made its way into the lake.  Incredibly fast action by gardener Patty kept the damage from being more devastating.  The koi were a major concern.  What would so much chlorinated water do to their health?  Filtering equipment was brought onto the site to filter the water over 2 days.  Additional equipment was used to remove the chlorine from the pond.  The koi survived the ordeal and so far, do not seem to be harmed by this. 

The garden is filled with the promise of spring.  I'm sure I've missed telling about all the changes, so please add comments telling of additional activity that happened this winter.  The garden staff has done a wonderful job of preparing for a new season.  When I strolled through the garden a few weeks ago, before I took Sue's tour, I was oblivious to many of the items she talked about.  It seemed cleaner to me, but in retrospect, I think that feeling was based on a new openness resulting from pruning and cleaning out some of the overgrowth.  The garden is back in scale.  If you haven't visited yet this year, it's time to venture out and watch as spring unfolds.

Rhododendron Sutchuenence   SJG


  1. Thank you so much for the through report of the tour. I can not think of any more changes to add. Yes, the garden regained great openness, with which I am sure Mr. Iida would have been very pleased to see.

    Come to think of it, I think the openness makes our garden looks more like the well-maintained Japanese gardens I visited in Japan.

    Just one thing: I think I heard all the changes made this winter had been suggested by Masa who had been many years hoping to make these changes. He had many more "suggestions" but what have done were the only ones adapted this year.

  2. Thanks Lynda, some big changes to see. The weather was just so dreadful last Thursday , I didn't make it to the tour. I'm amazed that the maple was moved and reoriented, wow, who is the emperor or empress who makes that decision? I consider that tree the finest specimen in the garden and always enjoyed it most from the back side, can't wait to see what it looks like.

  3. Have any body seen the full blooming
    (Mankai)of the cherry trees at UW Seattle?
    I assume it's blooming now, but not sure whether
    it's mankai now. I would like to go and see.
    Mar. 19, 2012
    Joe, Aberdeen (Grays Harbor County)

  4. to Joe Hotai:
    do you mean pale pink yoshino cherries over at the quad area at UW? if yes, there is a post about them from last year: look at the right side of this blog and click on 'UW campus cherry blossoms' under 'OTHER GARDENS'. they are also other cherries there, along the path leading to the water fountain, much more vivid pink, i forgot their name though and i think they bloomed after yoshinos...

    last year yoshino cherries at UW bloomed mid april, but i'll swing by soon to tell you if they are early this year (some cherries seem to be early this year, blooming together with ornamental plums, normally they seem a few weeks apart, with plums first, then cherries). yes, the UW cherry blossom are well worth traveling from aberdeen to see them!

    to Lynnda:
    i, too, looked at my notes with disbelief: '100,000 gallons of water made its way to the garden lake... 14 feet wide path of water rushing through the meadow towards the pond and the iris bed'... so i guess it's accurate:(. i'll write Sue - she said she'd share the pics we saw to post at the blog: the damage, murky water, industrial filtering system employed for clean-up, pipes and all. like you, i was there soon after the garden opened and before the tour last thursday and hardly noticed any damage - somebody worked very hard on it!

    1. The 100,000 is accurate, it was a 16 inch water main that burst, it took close to an hour to shut off. There were many Park staff that worked long and hard to save the garden that day and the week that followed.

    2. aleks
      Thanks ! I am going there in this weekend!

    3. to Unknown:
      thank you, thank you, the park STAFF for saving our japanese beautiful garden! you did an awesome job! really, truly!!

      to Joe-Aberdeen:
      hold your horses, Joe. yoshinos only started to bud - i stopped by there today and happy to report that only single flowers here and there. the plums are flowering, but no way yoshinos are going to be all open this weekend. maybe next?

      tomorrow i'm going to post about art classes in SJG - will decorate it with pics of yoshinos taken today - watch out! you can certainly wait a week before coming to seattle! my fingers were frozen - it is so cold here!

      after that post i may start 'yoshino alert' - there is an email address in my profile: email me if you took any pics! i'll post it!

    4. Aleks
      Thanks for stopping over at UW.
      I was almost driving up to Seattle in this
      weekend! I wait patiently for the news of full blooming until I drive up to Seattle.

  5. To Joe Hotai:
    Check out Quad Cherry Blossom Watch posted on Facebook by University of Washington Visitors Center.


    1. Keiko
      Thanks ! I cliked out the UW site you wrote above for me, Yes ! I saw the full
      blooming "Yoshino in Mankai" photos. I guess this weekend will be the end to see the "Mankai".
      I love cherry flower storms (Hanafubuki)too.
      I intend to go there in this weeekend.
      Thanks for your information !


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