Thursday, April 23, 2015

Scenes from the garden

by aleks
SJG • 4/21/15 - fiery orange r. kaempheri lining up the path to waterfall

I was in the garden to catch a few pics to update  the Plant List blog and for the first time I was comfortable enough to look at the patterns in planting (the horticultural information is pretty intimidating for me, and for the last several years I was barely at the level of identifying singular plants and not much looking at the overall design).

SJG • 4/21/15 - r. 'Bouquet rose' on the bend, ''arnoldiana'on the wall in the north

in 1960 Juki Iida, the designer of our garden, was given over 160 rhododendrons from Arboretum to play with; he thought it was a bit too many, and at this time of the year, and 55 years later, I can understand his trouble:  the garden looks like a rhododendron park, and not really Japanese style garden. Still pretty though.

SJG • 4/21/15 - I take this pic of the benches under azaleas several times a year...

When we guide people around the garden we tell stories: some are about the concepts of Japanese garden, other stories are about the art and poems connected with it, and yet another about architectural gifts the garden carries.

SJG • 4/21/15 - the turtles don't care...  hey are just sunning themselves up

But sometimes it is OK to be silent and quiet about it; just look, be peaceful and part of it :).

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Photographs and Memories

by Cara I.; pics by aleks
One of the first tours I led this season was of a group of older adults from a residential community. When I met the group and their leader, they expressed some familiarity with gardens, Japan, and even the Seattle Japanese Garden, so it was with anticipation of learning from them that I started our garden stroll.

Stepping on the threshold stone, we shed our outside cares away and walked into the garden. Individuals noticed the pines, the dry stream bed. I spoke of the ‘hide and reveal’ principle in Juki Iida’s design of the garden.

The group leader said that one member, Sally, was here in 1960 when the garden was built; in fact, Sally’s husband had helped to build it. He was one of the Japanese American gardeners on Juki Iida’s team that constructed the garden. What a wonderful opportunity to hear about that group of gardeners, whose assistance was invaluable to create what we see in the garden today, 55 years later!

The stone is there (in the water to the R of the men), but not the lantern on it yet ... The archival photo was taken during the construction in spring of 1960; Aleks found it at the Miller Library. The original photographer is unknown.

Sally said the garden looks very different now, noting the maturity of plants and the weathering of stone elements her husband had helped to place. She shared a story about observing the construction one day. She remembered her husband in the pond with a heavy lantern, patiently following Iida’s instructions to move it this way and that till it was placed exactly on a stone as the designer wished it. “It was that one,” she said, pointing to the yukimi-toro (snow-viewing lantern) on the south shore of the pond, a favorite lantern in the garden for many visitors and certainly one of the most-photographed due to its mossy cap, the probable consequence of its placement at the shoreline and the direction it faces.

Similar angle, the pic taken in spring 2011; the zigzag bridge is to the north and stone peninsula to the right.  The lantern  has now been sitting on the stone for 55 years - or since Sally's husband helped to place it there.

That day in 1960, Sally took a photo of her husband, crouched low in the pond to avoid blocking the designer’s view and still be able to move the lantern. She really liked that photo, although it's become misplaced over the years, she mentioned. As she shared her memory of that day, I knew I'd think of Sally and her husband every time I see the yukimi-toro from now on.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

SPRING, pretty Spring...

The Fourth Month
aratōto aoba wakaba no hi no hikari

how brilliant—
leaves both green and young
in the sun’s light

From: Twelve haiku translations from Bonsai, PIE Books, Tokyo, 2011, 
translated by Emiko Miyashita and Michael Dylan Welch

SJG • 4/7/15 - our Lace-leaf maples are leafing out...  (here in C, also in B)

by aleks
I took a stroll around the Garden today: very pretty spring, although a bit confused Mother Nature is putting out some blooms early and ahead of time, after unusually warm winter in Seattle... And some May rhodies are already out, too, gasp!

SJG • 4/7/15 - our exquisite royal azalea, aka
Botanical Name: Rhod. 'Schlippenbachii' (pink) in many areas... 

Stopped to talk to our gardener, Miriam, and she mentioned that crows are demolishing our moss, as they find their food underneath, too:  larvae and grubs.  Much too early in the year....

Other than that our Japanese Garden is so, so very pretty now!  I'm including a few pics for all of you to enjoy...

SJG •  Canada geese enjoying the view on moon viewing  platform...

After getting entangled in the Plant Committee activities and the lives of plants for the last several years, I'm trying to get back and learn more about Japanese Garden CULTURAL roots.  Found a book, titled 'The Art of Japanese Garden', by David and Michiko Young...

Very, very helpful: it  covers the basic history, principles and aesthetics of Japanese Gardens.  You can check the readers' reviews on amazon (sorry for linking  to them, but at least you hear from the real readers, and then please buy from a local bookstore).

SJG • 4/7/15 - crabapples blossoms in the Orchard (Area U)

Edit: Maggie C. noted  that the garden looks appropriately splendid 
for Buddha's birthday today, April 8th!