“The Charm and Challenges of Garden Ponds” – Excerpts from the 2014-2015 NAJGA Journal

“The following articles include techniques for improving water quality, restoring shorelines and aquatic plants, adding to hardscape, repairing leaks, maintaining historic sensibility, and choosing the right construction materials.”

Water Quality Management in the Japanese Garden at Missouri Botanical Garden by Benjamin Chu

Missouri_Botanical_Garden_-_Seiwa-en

“Seiwa-en, the Japanese garden at Missouri Botanical Garden, has as its central focus, a four- and-a-half acre lake. The lake is an open system with a 113 acre watershed and an average depth of eleven feet. Given the area of the watershed, much of what enters the lake is of questionable quality, containing nutrient runoff from the surrounding landscape, the neighboring park, and oil and gas from the network of streets and paths….

Twenty-five years ago, we abandoned the traditional copper sulphate method of algae control…Our current management practice takes a more holistic approach using aeration , bio augmentation and algae elimination.”

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Shoreline Rejuvenation at the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Sansho-en by Robert Kirschner

Chicago Botanic Garden

“Scenic water vistas and diverse aquatic habitat are defining landscape elements throughout the Chicago Botanic Garden’s sixty-acre system of interconnected lakes. Beginning in 1999, the garden engaged in a systematic rejuvenation of its 5.7 miles of lake shoreline using innovative bioengineering techniques. These approaches rely heavily on dense stands of native vegetation to control erosion of fragile lakeshore soils, establish ecological diverse communities of native shoreline plants, enhance wildlife habitat, and demonstrate to visitors the importance of healthy lake ecosystems. To date, 4.5 miles (79%) of the garden’s lakeshore have been rejuvenated using 500,000 native shoreline plants. ”

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Shofuso Garden: Reclaimed from Tropical Storm Damage by Kim Andrews

Shofuso_Japanese_House_and_Garden

“In 2012, Friends of the Japanese House and Garden (FJHG) conducted a historic landscape restoration at the 1.2 acre Shofuso Japanese House and Garden in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to reinforce and restructure the pond banks and rebuild the hardscape that surrounds the pond. FJHG committed to using the 1957 garden plan by landscape architect Tansai Sano (also known as Uejyu Sano Taichiro, 1897-1966) as our guide. Sano’s 1957 garden at Shofuso was the first significant Japanese garden created in America after World War II and Shofuso’s garden is at the site of the first Japanese garden in North America in 1876.

During Tropical Storm Lee in September 2011, a collapsed storm drain inundated the pond with water, washing away some koi, damaging garden plantings like the specimen red pine on the island, and further deteriorating the pond banks and hardscape. A landscape and pond bank restoration was even more urgent.”

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At Hillwood Estate, Restoring & Preserving A Vision From the Past by Frances K. Vandenbroucke

Hillwood_Estate_10

“When Post Cereal heiress and General Foods founder Marjorie Merriwether Post (1887-1973) bought the Arbremont estate in northwest Washington, D.C. in 1955, she renamed it Hillwood and set about remaking the house and grounds….The task of transforming this space into a place of drama fell to Japanese-American landscape architect Shogo Myaida (1897-1988), from Long Island, New York….

After forty years, the Japanese-style garden was facing a multitude of problems. In 1996, a report by a Hillwood maintenance engineer described the breakdown of electrical and plumbing systems, with massive water leakage from all falls and pool areas. By 1999, daily water loss averaged 2,000 gallons from a pond that held approximately 10,000 gallons overall. Plantings were overgrown, many had died, and replacements were frequently not in keeping with Myaida’s design. Piecemeal repairs were no longer adequate; clearly a major intervention was necessary to avert catastrophic failure.

….The decision was made to restore the Japanese-style garden to Myaida’s design….On April 2, 2001, the fully restored Japanese-style garden opened to the public.”

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Restoring the Taniguchi’s Flowing Water in Austin, Texas by Ed Parken 

Taniguchigarden

“As one enters the Taniguchi Japanese Garden, built on a rocky hillside at Zilker Botanical Garden in Austin, Texas, knowing its story is crucial for understanding and appreciating why it is one of Austin’s most treasured assets…..This three-acre tract of land was transformed into a peaceful, strolling garden by Isamu Taniguchi (1897-1992), a former California fruit farmer who was interned in World War II in Texas…

….The garden features a series of ponds and two of them spell out the word “AUSTIN” when viewed from above — an ideogram reflecting that this garden was a gift to the city of Austin. The first is the AU pond and the second is the STIN pond.

By 2010, there were severe leaks in both the ponds and the streams that connect them. The leaks wasted water, caused erosion, and required an inordinate amount of maintenance from the PARD (Parks and Recreation Department) staff. A three-phase project was initiated to provide a solution to the leaks….”

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Anderson Japanese Gardens’ Cold Weather Challenge by Tim Gruner

Anderson_Gardens pond

“The Garden of Reflection pond at Anderson Japanese Gardens was built in 1999 on a site that was designed for large public gatherings. The pond covers approximately 20,000 square feet with a maximum depth of nine feet.

Many people are surprised to learn that the pond is lined with a three-inch layer of blacktop, also known as hot mix asphalt (HMA). As unusual as this may sound, HMA has been utilized for decades to line reservoirs used for retention of drinking water supplies and fish-rearing ponds. Initial concerns of toxic leachate that would be detrimental to aquatic life were unfounded; research has shown that once cured, asphalt is very stable, with virtually no toxic leaching into water systems.”

Read the full version of these articles in the 2014-2015 NAJGA Journal. The Journal is free to members of the North American Japanese Garden Association. To order additional copies or to order as a non-member, click HERE

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“The Charm and Challenges of Garden Ponds” – Excerpts from the 2014-2015 NAJGA Journal