Four Chicago Gardens Take Center Stage at 2014 North American Japanese Garden Conference

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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS — All roads lead to Chicago and its Japanese gardens for more than two hundred professionals and enthusiasts from the US, Canada and around the world who are attending the 2014 North American Japanese Garden Association’s (NAJGA) biennial conference happening October 16 to 18.  NAJGA, a non-profit organization, promotes the horticulture, business culture and human culture of Japanese gardens across North America.

Sansho-en (The Elizabeth Hubert Mallott Japanese Garden) at the Chicago Botanic Garden

Sansho-en (The Elizabeth Hubert Mallott Japanese Garden) at the Chicago Botanic Garden

The three-day conference, taking place at the Chicago Botanic Garden, features workshops and lectures on Japanese garden design and maintenance, horticulture, garden history, business practices, education and cultural programming, and health and wellness.  Top Japanese garden experts and scholars from North America, as well as from Japan and the United Kingdom, will be in town to lead the sessions.

The historic Garden of the Phoenix in Jackson Park, Chicago

The historic Garden of the Phoenix in Jackson Park, Chicago

On October 15th,  a special pre-conference, full-day workshop at the Garden of the Phoenix  (formerly Osaka Garden) in Jackson Park, Chicago, will serve as a living laboratory for skills development on moss gardening, aesthetic tree pruning and small stone work for pathways. Registration for the workshop is open to the public with some limits on capacity.  Participants will have the rare opportunity to work in this historic garden originally designed to showcase Japanese culture during the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893.

Also on Wednesday,October 15th, many conference attendees will have the opportunity to visit the Anderson Japanese Gardens and the Rosecrance Japanese Garden in Rockford, Illinois, with the gardens’ designer himself, Hoichi Kurisu.

Twice-honored by the White House for his landscape designs, Kurisu will deliver the keynote address at opening ceremonies on Thursday, October 16th. His remarks will align with the NAJGA Conference theme “New Pathways: The Role of the Japanese Garden for Society and Self” in emphasizing the evolving role of Japanese gardens in modern society, in areas such as medical therapy, holistic wellness and even in healing the natural environment. Three other Kurisu-designed gardens in Oregon and Florida that successfully play up the medical and environmental potential of Japanese gardens will also be presented during the conference.

Chicago Botanic Garden’s very own Sansho-en, the Elizabeth Hubert Mallott Japanese Garden, will be the focus of an October 16th workshop (“Improvements in the Evolution of a Maturing Garden: Observing Sansho-en With New Eyes”) that emphasize the importance of maintenance in the art of the Japanese garden.

The workshop team is led by garden designer Sadafumi Uchiyama, curator for the Portland Japanese Garden. He will discuss real issues and potential problems for a maturing Japanese garden.  Uchiyama, who hails from a multi-generational gardening family in Kyushu, Japan, also has strong roots in Illinois, earning his Bachelor and Master degrees in Landscape Architecture from the University of Illinois.

Read full story here …….. North American Japanese Garden Association – Four Chicago-Area Gardens Take Center Stage at 2014 Conference of the North American Japanese Garden Association.

2014 North American Japanese Garden conference

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Recognizing the evolution of North American gardens in the Japanese style as places of both timeless beauty and social relevance, the North American Japanese Garden Association (NAJGA) is launching its second biennial conference with the theme “New Pathways: The Role of the Japanese Garden for Society and Self.” 

The 2nd NAJGA conference will be held at the Chicago Botanic Garden from October 16 to 18, 2014. It will bring together Japanese garden specialists and devotees from across North America and the world to explore how Japanese gardens can better serve today’s audiences in terms of nurturing mental health and physical wellness, and contributing towards a more beautiful and humane society.

“The 2014 NAJGA conference promises to be a watershed event in transforming our perspective about Japanese gardens.  From thinking about ‘what’ a Japanese garden is, we shift to asking ‘why’ they should be part of progressive societies outside of Japan?” said NAJGA president Dr. Kendall Brown.

He adds that although Japanese gardens have been popular in the West for 150 years, the exploration of how these gardens can become a meaningful part of people’s daily lives is only beginning.

NAJGA executive director Diana Larowe notes that in Japan, the birthplace of these gardens, the public sector has taken the lead in developing contemporary gardens as civic spaces for healing. 

“For centuries, people have always known Japanese gardens to be places of natural beauty, harmony and tranquility,” she said. “We are now seeing how contemporary Japanese gardens are emerging as landscapes that may have special significance in promoting health and wellness.”

The 2014 conference keynote speaker, acclaimed Japanese garden designer Hoichi Kurisu, exemplifies how this centuries-old garden art form is finding this new niche in North America.  “Kurisu-san believes in tapping into the restorative power of nature through the medium of the Japanese garden and he has applied this philosophy to the many gardens he has designed in North America and abroad,” she adds.

One of Kurisu’s most noteworthy oeuvres to date is helping transform a struggling hospital in Lebanon, Oregon into a thriving regional medical center through the addition of a healing garden in the premises.

As part of the pre-conference activities in Chicago, participants will visit a Kurisu-designed Japanese garden at the Rosecrance Behavior Center in Rockford, Illinois that is being utilized for various therapeutic purposes including treatment for addiction behavior, post-traumatic stress disorder and cancer therapy.  Other pre- and post-conference activities on the agenda is a visit to the Anderson Japanese Garden in Rockford, Illinois, a highlights tour of Chicago and Frank Lloyd Wrights architectural legacy to the city, and a professional skills development workshop.

Aside from health and wellness perspective, the conference will also explore other emerging topics in Japanese gardening such as gardening in extreme environments, new garden design materials, lighting in the Japanese garden and gardens connected with Japanese-American history.

Go to   http://najga.org/events for more details.

 

A garden haven for people with memory loss

AURORA – A garden that will be open to the public but designed for those affected by memory loss is being donated to the Aurora Public Library through the library’s foundation by the family of Dr. M. Jack and Elaine Parker, formerly of Aurora.

Elaine Parker was a noted educator who was suffering from dementia when she died in June, 2012. Jack Parker, who died in March, 2012, was her husband for 60 years and took on the role of providing 24-hour care for Elaine in her later years so they could remain living independently in their home.

“As a culture, we’ve learned to accommodate physical disabilities with elements like curb ramps, elevators and text-to-speech capability on computers, but we can’t seem to bring ourselves to make environmental improvements to accommodate dementia,” said the couple’s elder son, J. Scott Parker of Portland, Oregon.

The Parker Garden, which will be located on the west side of the Richard and Gina Santori Public Library of Aurora (currently under construction on the southwest corner of River and Benton streets), will offer a safe haven for people with memory loss and their caregivers. The library is scheduled to open in May, 2015.

via ‘Parker Garden’ latest philanthropic addition to Santori Library – chicagotribune.com.

Gardens eased Japanese Americans’ WWII internment experience

During their World War II internment, Japanese Americans created gardens to improve their prison-like surroundings, using whatever materials they could find.

Manzanar National Historic Site in California was established to protect and interpret historical and cultural resources associated with the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. The site recently completed preservation work at two of its dozens of Japanese gardens with the help of US and Japanese volunteers . Both the Block 12 Mess Hall Garden and the Arai Family Fish Pond in Block 33 provide visitors with a glimpse of how some of the 11,000 Japanese Americans coped with their confinement during World War II. Visitors can see both gardens via short walks from the auto tour road.

Like other gardens at Manzanar, the Block 12 mess hall garden illustrates many traditional characteristics of Japanese gardens, with features representing a mountain, a stream, waterfalls and cascades, and crane and tortoise rocks. The Arai pond featured a stream, rock borders, three islands, a fish tunnel, and even water lilies. It was a “place of beauty and serenity,” according to Madelon Arai Yamamoto, the daughter of the pond’s creator.

Garden preservation and restoration is an important part of meeting the Site’s mission, but most of the gardens at Manzanar had been long abandoned, buried, and forgotten. Preservation work included removal of invasive vegetation, archeological excavation and mapping, cleaning and repair of damaged concrete, resetting of displaced rocks, and, in some cases, reconstruction of damaged or missing features.

In the summer of 2013, disastrous flooding reversed much of the stabilization work that had already been completed. Manzanar’s historic preservation specialist John Kepford noted that the labor contributed by volunteers was critical to overcoming not only the slow deterioration and burial caused by decades of abandonment, but also the rapid damage caused by the recent floods. Thanks to the volunteers, Kepford remarked, “the gardens can now help tell the story of the resiliency of Japanese Americans during their internment.”

According to Professor Kendall Brown of California State University Long Beach, the Japanese gardens at Manzanar are noteworthy because they were created during World War II, when resources were scarce and when anti-Japanese sentiment was at an all-time high. Even more remarkable, Dr. Brown says, is that “this is garden art of a very high order … Arguably this is the most interesting, compelling collection of Japanese gardens in America.”

Ten Japanese gardens at Manzanar have been documented and stabilized to date, but more await archeological investigation and preservation. Volunteer opportunities are posted on the Manzanar website as they become available.

The Manzanar Visitor Center features extensive exhibits, audio-visual programs, and a bookstore. It is open 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Manzanar is located at 5001 Hwy. 395, six miles south of Independence, California. For more information, please call (760) 878-2194 or visit our website at HYPERLINK “http://www.nps.gov/manz”nps.gov/manz.

via Gardens that softened life of imprisonment restored | Sierra Wave: Eastern Sierra News.

Huntington to expand Chinese Garden

Photo: Huntington.org

Spring seems only around the corner at Liu Fang Yuan, or the Garden of Flowing Fragrance, at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino. Delicate pink cherry blossoms have begun to appear on trees, and dappled sunlight warms the stone walkways.

There are other changes in the air at the Chinese Garden, as it is more informally known. Workers are putting finishing touches on new pavilions, walkways and landscaping as the newest garden in the Huntington’s collection of more than a dozen readies its first expansion since its 2008 opening.

On March 8 (March 7 for members), the Chinese Garden premieres three major new architectural elements as part of its second-phase expansion: two pavilions and a rock grotto with a waterfall that visitors can walk under. Still to come for the planned 12-acre site are a small gallery for Chinese art, a hillside pavilion and a penjing (a style of horticulture similar to Japanese bonsai) court. About half the $22 million needed to complete the project has been raised so far.

via Chinese Garden expansion at the Huntington includes new pavilions – latimes.com.

Seattle Japanese Garden opens on March 1

Parkways » Seattle Japanese Garden celebrates Opening Day First Viewing

The Seattle Japanese Garden’s 2014 season opens on Saturday, March 1 with a celebration from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. To ensure a wonderful season, Reverend Koichi Barrish of the Tsubaki Grand Shrine will honor the Japanese Garden with the traditional Shinto blessing at noon.

This 3 ½ acre formal garden evokes another time and place, a unique and artistic representation of nature influenced by Shinto, Buddhist, and Tao philosophies. Designed and built under the supervision of world-renowned Japanese garden designer Juko Iida in 1960, the garden is a quiet place, allowing reflection and meditation through the careful placement of water, garden plants, stones, waterfalls, trees and bridges.

Admission fees for First Viewing are: $10 for adults 18-64, $5 for youths 6–17, senior adults 65+, college students with ID, and people with disabilities, and free for kids younger than 6.

For free, the community is invited to enjoy the opening of a beautiful new photography exhibit “A Celebration of Spring”  from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Tateuchi Community Room.  The juried show also on March 1 celebrates nine photographers and their fantastic views of the Garden from a spring workshop in 2013.

The Japanese Garden offers monthly tea presentations and demonstration at the Tea House and other great community events during the March -November season when it is open to the public.

via Parkways » Seattle Japanese Garden celebrates Opening Day First Viewing.

Stanford’s New Guinea Sculpture Garden celebrates 20 years

In 1994, ten master carvers were flown in from Papua New Guinea by anthropology department graduate student Jim Mason, and asked to engage their remarkably otherworldly work with one of our natural California landscapes. Over the course of their four month residency they created the sinuous carvings you can still see today in the aptly named Stanford New Guinea Sculpture Garden.

via Stanford’s New Guinea Scuplture Garden Celebrates 20 Years – Foliage Finder – Curbed SF.