North American Japanese Garden Association & Descanso Gardens Host Southern California Symposium and Garden Tour

2-day Event To Celebrate 50-Year Anniversary of Japanese Garden in Descanso  and Features Five Asian Gardens in Southern California

Descanso Gardens, La Canada Flintridge, CA – On January 14 and 15, 2017, experts in horticulture, history and design will discuss and illustrate the Southern California experience in Japanese gardening during a symposium and garden tour organized by the North American Japanese Garden Association (NAJGA), in cooperation with the Descanso Gardens. NAJGA is a non-profit and membership-based organization that promotes the art, craft and heart of Japanese gardening in USA and Canada.

The symposium on January 14 will commence with an indoor art tour on the concept of the Japanese garden, with a special focus on the social history of Descanso’s Japanese garden, which is commemorating its half-century existence. The influence of mid-century Japanism on the integration of gardens and architecture in Southern California and the compelling human story of Japanese plants in California will be the focus of a couple of lectures by Japanese garden historian Dr. Kendall Brown and Japanese-American garden writer Naomi Hirahara. Later in the day, Dr. Brown and Descanso Gardens Executive Director David Brown will also conduct a guided tour of the Descanso Japanese garden.
Japanese horticulturist and ikebana expert Kaz Kitajima will lead a workshop on the basic principles and techniques in black pine pruning. A camellia forest walk and tour will showcase Descanso’s exceptional camellia collection, the largest in North America and designated as an International Camellia Garden of Excellence by the International Camellia Society.

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Japanese Garden at the Descanso Gardens, La Canada Flintridge, CA

On January 15, an expert-led garden tour will take participants to three important Japanese gardens and a new Chinese garden in the Los Angeles county area. Aside from illustrating the quality and diversity of garden design in California, the Storrier-Stearns Japanese Garden in Pasadena, and the SuiHoen (Garden of Water and Fragrance) at the Tillman Reclamation Plant in Van Nuys are also notable for their sustainable water use in the face of California’s challenging water situation in recent years. At over 100 years old, the Japanese garden at The Huntington in Pasadena is famously one of the oldest gardens in North America and is still evolving. Participants will also have the chance to visit the new Chinese garden at The Huntington.

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Created in the 1930’s, the Storrier-Stearns Japanese Garden was restored in 2013 and is considered one of the best examples of pre-war Japanese gardens outside of Japan.
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Bonsai Court at the Japanese Garden in The Huntington, Pasadena, CA
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SuiHoen (Garden of Water and Fragrance) at the Tillman Reclamation Plant, Van Nuys, CA

“The Japanese gardens in southern California are true cultural and horticultural treasures, as they honor the history of Japanese-Americans in the area as well as the California ethos of innovation, sustainability and love of the outdoors,” says NAJGA board president Kimberly Andrews. “NAJGA is delighted to have the opportunity to work with Descanso Gardens, which is observing a significant milestone with its Japanese garden, and our other member gardens to promote our mission among garden professionals and enthusiasts in the Southern California area.”

For more details and to register, visit http://najga.org/Southern-California-2017. This two-day regional event is accredited as a continuing education program for members of the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) and the Association of Professional Landscape Professionals (APLD). Garden practitioners may check with their professional associations if this event is eligible for continuing education units.

nalp-landscape-industry-certified-ceu-approved-logo-2016     apld-kfd

North American Japanese Garden Association & Descanso Gardens Host Southern California Symposium and Garden Tour

The Journal of the North American Japanese Garden Association (Issue 3) Now Available

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The third issue of The Journal of the North American Japanese Garden Association  (NAJGA) is now available in print.  The Journal is FREE to members and also available for purchase by members who wish to get additional copies and to the general public.

Member Price: $16.00 (within US), $20.00 (Canada, Japan and other countries)         General Public: $20.00 (within US), $25.00 (Canada, Japan and other countries).   Prices include postage. To order, send an e-mail to info@najga.org.

From NAJGA Journal 3 Editor K.T. Cannon-Eger:

EDITOR’S MESSAGE: New Pathways Toward a Healthier World

“The first issue of the Journal of the North American Japanese Garden Association concentrated on “Connections,” the theme of the first biennial convention held in Denver in 2012. Journal two was organized around the theme of “Lessons Learned.” Following the 2014 biennial convention in Chicago, Illinois, and with an eye toward the 2016 conference in Delray Beach Florida, this issue was organized around the theme of “New Pathways Toward a Healthier World.”

The initial hope of the first Journal to encourage landscape specialists and enthusiasts to explore articles outside their immediate areas of interest continues in this issue while we maintain a dedication to the NAJGA goals of advancement in Horticulture, Human Culture, and Business Culture.

In horticulture, we draw on one of the stalwarts of NAJGA, a garden designer and gentle speaker on the benefits to human well-being of Japanese-style landscapes. His remarks are followed by a case study of a hospital in Oregon. Delving further into horticulture, is an article on moss and its uses in gardens in Japan and around the world. This is accompanied by an excerpt from a new book of short stories, one of which speaks to remediation by moss.

Connecting several gardens is the human culture question of how gardens attract volunteers, how the volunteers are trained, and how their interest is maintained.

The business culture portion of this issue tackles two subjects. First, how do public gardens attract visitors and maintain their interest? Second, how do public gardens prepare to handle crises such as fire, flood, or storm damage?

Articles of historical interest, a book review, and obituaries round out the contents of Journal number three.

I am full of gratitude for the guidance and direction of the Board of Directors Past President and first Journal Editor Kendall H. Brown, whose knowledge and dedication are above and beyond. He has skillfully taken editorial scalpel to overly long manuscripts. His artistic sensibility and devotion to history are among other great assets to the organization and to this Journal. This issue could not have happened without the work of the editorial board. Thank you Dr. Seiko Goto, Ben Chu, and Edzard Teubert. And a great big tip of the hat to Grace Roxas Morrissey of NAJGA who keeps us all on track. Deep gratitude to all the authors, photographers, and graphic artists who have contributed their talents. Readers will find more information about the authors on a subsequent page. Welcome to Brian Pendleton of Vancouver, B.C. who is taking on editorial responsibilities for the next issue.”

Here’s a look at the Table of Contents:

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The Journal of the North American Japanese Garden Association (Issue 3) Now Available

From Japan to Minnesota: Q. and A. With John Powell

Japanese garden expert and NAJGA board member John Powell recently shared his thoughts about the experience of training in Japan and applying his knowledge in the North American context, particularly in Minnesota and other areas in the central part of the United States. John will be one of the facilitators of NAJGA’s two-day workshop and garden education tour in the Minnesota area from August 7 to 8.

NAJGA: How did you first become interested in Japanese gardening and what led you towards the path of devoting your career to it? 

JP: I have been involved with gardening since a very early age, studying and working in a variety of fields.  When I first visited Japan in 1993, I was immediately taken by the beauty and quality of the gardens I saw.  I was especially impressed though with residence gardens and their ability to link interior and exterior spaces seamlessly and often with very small areas to work with.

NAJGA:  As the first Westerner to be invited to train with the garden staff of the Adachi Museum in Japan, what were the important lessons you took away from this and the rest of your training experience in Japan?

Adachi_Museum_of_Art_Garden_02JP: Besides the obvious lessons of improved techniques in the presentation and maintenance of a high-quality Japanese garden, I told myself on my first day at the museum that I would forget everything I thought I knew about landscape gardening and just absorb everything anew.  I had done this with the first company I had trained and worked with in Japan with great results.  This I feel is an important approach to anyone trying to learn from our Japanese friends.  

So many maintenance activities are technique driven, and while things like shearing and sweeping look simple enough and require no explanation, they in fact take time to master to do them quickly and efficiently.  When working at the Adachi Museum, it is like performing on stage in front of a large audience.  When everyone works together in the same rhythm, it looks effortless and almost choreographed and the work of caring for the garden is not a distraction to the guest.  When it is done out of sync, then it becomes a distraction to the guests experience of the garden as a whole.

NAJGA:  Aside from Adachi, what are some of the gardens that you admire and which represent your ideals of Japanese gardening? 

JP: There are many gardens in Japan and in the United States that I admire for their attention to quality of both garden and guest experience.  To the gardener, the garden is never finished.  Trees need to be pruned, paths swept, stones adjusted. It is never ending.  When all of these tasks are applied, the gardener can elevate even a garden of mediocre design to a higher status that leaves the guest feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.  Without the commitment to maintenance though, the experience is diminished and disappointing.  

(In this video, taken during a 2014 NAJGA workshop at the Garden of the Phoenix, Chicago,  John explains how the construction of a short section of nobedan during the course of the workshop is a response to how the guests have been moving around in the garden.)  

The garden is also alive and ever changing and because of this, something I find most admirable are the gardens that understand this and are able to respond to the changes.  In many cases, the gardens are attractions for guests, and without adequate care and improvement, they cease to become exciting anymore and viewership drops.  Even the best of the best have room for improvement.

NAJGA: As a consultant for three of the Japanese gardens that will be featured in NAJGA’s Minnesota event, what are the unique challenges and the opportunities that you see in the practice of Japanese gardening in the area?

JP: The gardens in Minnesota are all quite good and excellent examples of a variety of styles.  Without question, the climate is the greatest challenge.  Spring through fall is delightful, but the winter is very long and usually extremely cold.  Winters are hardest on the plant material and it seems every spring provides a new challenge in response to winter damage. Construction techniques are also slightly different due to the extreme freeze and thaw potential of the soil.  

There is, however, a great availability of plants and materials for garden construction.  Many natives and well-adapted plants, while not usually seen in Japan, make excellent contributors to the garden.  The people that visit these gardens also seem to thoroughly enjoy them, which gives us all an opportunity to show how these gardens are not solely culturally specific creations, but pleasing arrangements of form and function that can be integrated into everyone’s life.

(Photo shows the Como Park tea house entry and the Normandale Japanese Garden)

Como Park Tea House Entry        Normandale accross the pond

NAJGA:  Can you tell us more about the scope of your services as a garden consultant and what are the other gardens you are involved in, past and present? 

JP: My work focuses on two things.  Improving guest experience, and creating a sustainable system of maintenance that allows the garden to remain viable for decades to come.  Within those two basic concepts, however, are a variety of services including design and implementation of hard scape improvements such as placement of garden stones, fence building, pathways, structure conservation, to name a few, and a considerable amount of contract pruning of specialized plant material, and instruction to permanent garden staff about proper care of the garden as a whole.  

For garden educators I also provide insight into proper discussion of garden elements and design intent that is passed on to the garden guests.  In addition to the public gardens at Como Park, Carleton College and Normandale Community College in Minnesota, I provide similar services for gardens in Arkansas, Colorado, Tennessee and in my home state of Texas.

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John Powell is the principal behind Zoen LLC Associates, a consultancy firm specializing in Japanese garden creation and maintenance. E-mail: jp_zoen@yahoo.com; Tel: (817) 829-4335.

From Japan to Minnesota: Q. and A. With John Powell

Finding A Place For Moss In the Japanese Gardens of North America

The North American Japanese Garden Association (NAJGA) recently talked moss with  Al Benner, a NAJGA member and owner of Moss Acres, a company that specializes in the use of moss for gardening.   

NAJGA: What are your general observations about moss gardening interest in North America over the past few years? 

AB: I would say the interest level continues to grow.  Moss was originally looked upon as an “invader”  something growing where grass was supposed to be growing.  Actually moss has been around for over 500 million years, and the 15,000+ species worldwide each have conditions that best suit their individual needs.  Some species like shade, others prefer full sun.  Some like it wet, others drier.  They all need moisture at some point in time to grow.  They have no true roots, so all moisture is absorbed through the leaves.   Moss has more recently received considerable press coverage as being an environmentally sustainable choice for many locations and conditions.  If moss is growing somewhere on it’s own it is for good reason – it likes that location.

NAJGA: How did your company get started in moss gardening?

Al with moss milkshakeAB: My father, Dave Benner began experimenting with moss lawns and garden areas on his 2-acre wooded, hillside gardens in Bucks County, Pennsylvania back in the early 1960’s.  In 2000, I started Moss Acres as a national mail order company to fill an unmet need as the first supplier of live moss in large quantities.  We ship our mosses to home gardeners and landscape professionals who are  looking for an alternative ground cover for shady garden areas.

NAJGA: Which moss varieties do you carry that are the most popular or highly recommended for Japanese-style gardens? 

AB: Although moss gardens in Japan may have many different species of mosses the primary species that moss gardens in Japan use: haircap, pincushion and rock cap (broom) are three of the five species that Moss Acres provides. The other two species (sheet moss and fern moss) that Moss Acres offers are also popular in Japan.  Moss Acres offers these varieties because not only are they traditional varieties utilized for centuries in Japan, but they are also “generalists” that grow well in a variety of settings provided there is adequate shade and moisture.

Are there public Japanese gardens which feature your mosses? 

Garden of the Phoenix MossAB: The Garden of the Phoenix on Jackson Park in Chicago and this  spring, the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden in Philadelphia. Both are establishing new moss gardens. The moss garden in the Garden of the Phoenix was started last October as part of the NAJGA skills development workshop prior to the 2014 NAJGA convention. This moss garden will be expanded this year and then be on display for the 2015 American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) convention in November in Chicago.

One thing that really surprises us is that the most popular moss in the gardens of Japan, haircap moss or Polytrichum commune, are rarely found in the Japanese gardens in the United States. Yet haircap is easy to grow and in many states is a very common native plant.

Polytrichum commune in bluestone patio at Moss AcresCheck out this picture of haircap moss growing among the bluestone pavers at Moss Acres. Over time the haircap has naturalized among the pavers. This would be an easy way for any Japanese garden to introduce haircap moss into their Japanese garden.  It can also tolerate quite a bit of sun, as it has root-like structures called rhizoids that penetrate several inches into the soil.

NAJGA: How about residential garden owners? Are they also incorporating moss as part of their private, Japanese-style gardens? 

AB: I would say they are all over the map here.  Most of the projects are smaller in scope and usually deal with creating a smaller naturalized garden in a small grotto area.  Stone and/or water features and ferns are often incorporated.  Utilizing sheet mosses, like hypnum is very common in between pavers for walkways.  The sheet mosses can handle a fair amount of foot traffic so they work well for this application.  There are a handful of private, Japanese style gardens out there that incorporate moss, but they are few and far between.

NAJGA: What services can you offer your customers aside from providing the moss materials for their garden?

We provide a lot of online and phone support for folks getting started with moss.  Our website at www.MossAcres.com is also a great resource for information on all aspects of moss gardening.

Currently we are exploring several green wall projects utilizing moss that plan to be installed during the spring of 2015.  We accomplish this by taking moss that is grown from fragments onto synthetic geotextile mats and installing them vertically with drip lines as living moss walls.  Our tests of this process over the past two years have been very encouraging and we are now ready for some installations to go in.  We also have had several moss roofs installed though the years and are experimenting with other mediums for this application that allow for significant water holding capabilities.

Finding A Place For Moss In the Japanese Gardens of North America

Manzanar’s Japanese Gardens – Excerpts from the 2014-2015 NAJGA Journal

Creating Beauty Behind Barbed Wire by Jeff Burton and Mary Farrell

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“A desolate prison camp in the high desert seems an unlikely place for a Japanese garden contest, let alone an outstanding collection of Japanese gardens. World War II would seem an unlikely time for Japanese Americans to assert their Japanese heritage. Yet the Japanese Americans incarcerated at the Manzanar Relocation Center, now Manzanar National Historic Site, left a legacy of beauty, resistance, and resilience in Japanese gardens.

The incarceration of almost 120,000 Japanese-Americans — most American citizens — by the US government during World War II is one of the most shameful stories in American history. The “Relocation” removed persons of Japanese ancestry from their homes, schools, and businesses on the West Coast and placed mostly behind barbed wire. Manzanar opened in March 1942 — one of ten camps — to incarcerate more than 10,000 people.

Although this episode managed to stay out of US history books for decades, it has come to light through the efforts of the Japanese-American community, civil rights advocates, historians and archaeologists.

Three of these sites are now part of the National Park Service, which is charged with educating the public to prevent similar government-sponsored racism…..”

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On the Purpose & Role of Japanese Gardens in American Internment Camps by Seiko Goto, Ph.D.

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“Multiple Japanese gardens were built in all ten internment camps. Japanese gardens in Manzanar Relocation Center have been called “Momoyama-style gardens,” and summarized as an “important means for the expression of Japanese American cultural values within the regimented organization of the camp.” The question arises: why would internees facing such hardship due to their nationality decide to build gardens to express their culture? It is thus important to analyze the purpose and role of Japanese gardens in the internment camp to assess their value….

….Internment is generally the confinement of people done by a government to police people and confiscate their assets. Japanese internment in the United States, however, was unique in that these camps confined people with American citizenship based only on their ethnic background. The camp gardens were also for viewing and living, not solely for food production…

…Conditions and facilities in the camps varied. Administrators in Gila River, Granada, Manzanar, and Topaz supported garden construction and large scale gardens were made in these camps. Small ornamental Japanese gardens, however, were made in all. Poston is notable as the famous Japanese American sculptor Isamu Noguchi became the chief landscape planner…”

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

Manzanar’s Japanese Gardens – Excerpts from the 2014-2015 NAJGA Journal

“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

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“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

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“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

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“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 

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“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

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

“Cherry Diplomacy” in US-Japan Relations

(The following passages are excerpts from the book “Japanese Flowering Cherries” by Wybe Kuitert)

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David Fairchild

 American garden lovers were given a first-hand look at the art of Japanese gardening at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, where Japan exhibited an extensive garden in the native style. Two years later, a historically important shipment of a hundred cherries, dispatched by the Yokohama Nursery Company, reached the United States. The order was made by David Fairchild (1869-1954), an administrator with the US Department of Agriculture in Washington D.C. The imported trees were successfully planted on the spacious grounds of his private estate.

Encouraged by this undertaking, Fairchild and his wife, Marian, decided to organize a planting of cherries on Arbor Day. Again, cherries were ordered from the Yokohama Nursery Company. The trees were shipped to Seattle on the West Coast and then traveled by rail across the United States without any problem. On Arbor Day in March 1908, each public school in Washington D.C. received its Japanese cherry. Trees were planted in the school yards, which attracted the attention of Mrs. William Taft, wife of the U.S. president.

Washington_C_D.C._Tidal_Basin_cherry_treesThe First Lady had visited Japan with her husband, who had successfully concluded an important treaty with Japan in 1905. She developed an appreciation for the beauty of flowering cherries and began to include the idea for a mass planting of Japanese cherries in her plans for developing Potomac Park. Mrs. Taft was supported in this endeavor by Fairchild and Eliza Skidmore, a journalist who wrote about Japan. In April 1909, ninety trees of “Fugenzo” were purchased from an American nursery. Then, in the summer of that year, it became clear that the city of Tokyo wanted to donate two thousand cherries for the Potomac Park. It is striking how eagerly Japanese officials reacted. In November of the same year, Tokyo shipped two thousand large trees of ten varieties to Washington. That a gift of the country’s flower with such a profound emotional meaning could be made to a great Western power was without doubt enthusiastically welcomed by any Japanese cooperating in the donation.

In the meantime, in the United States, the increasing import of plant material had aroused a growing concern, and the US Department of Agriculture began inspecting imported plants for insect pests and diseases. The shipment from Tokyo proved to be severely infested. With great diplomatic sensitivity, the Japanese side was informed that no other measures could be taken than to burn the trees. It was a matter of regret for both parties.

PrunusYedoensisIn Tokyo, a second shipment of trees was prepared. Funatsu helped select new planting material from the banks of Arakawa. Trees were grafted and trained by the Agricultural Experiment Station of the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture. Thoroughly fumigated with hydrocyanic acid gas, the shipment of six thousand young trees arrived in Seattle in January 1912 and passed severe inspections without any problem. Three thousand trees were meant as a donation for New York. The other half of the shipment went to Washington D. C. In Potomac Park, thousands of specimens of Prunus x yedoensis were planted along the Tidal Basin, and eventually, this plant became known as the “Potomac cherry.” On the peninsula farther south, two thousand fragrant and double cherries of the following varieties were planted: ‘Ariake,’ ‘Fugenzo,’ Fukurokuju,’ the green ‘Gyoiko,”Ichiyo,’ ‘Jonioi,’ ‘Kanzan,”Mirukuma-gaeshi,’ ‘Shirayuki,”Surugadai-nioi,’ and ‘Taki-nioi.’

In the United States, a general appreciation of Japanese flowering cherries developed from a friendship between the countries that was profoundly felt in the early twentieth century. Of all the countries in the world, only the United States had a Potomac Park as a show garden for cherries on a scale that resembled the best of the cherry picnic places in Japan. Every spring, the Park revived, and continues to revive a nationwide awareness of the cherries.

Read the rest of the book here: “Japanese Flowering Cherries,” Kuitert, W., Peterse, A.H. , 1999, Timber Press, Inc.

“Cherry Diplomacy” in US-Japan Relations