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.

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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

A Japanese Garden Experience in Manitoga

The renowned Scottish landscape architect and ecological planning pioneer Ian McHarg was once quoted as saying that if Manitoga was built in Japan, it would have been a “national monument.” “Japan has many such sites, but the United States has only Manitoga, the temple to managed succession, inspired ecological design.”

Manitoga in Garrison, New York  has since achieved that distinction and more. It is a National Historic Landmark, an Affiliate Site of the National Trust for Historic Conservation and a World Monuments Watch Site.  Officially known as the Manitoga/ The Russell Wright Design Center, it is a place still strongly animated by the vision of its original owner and creator, Midcentury modern designer Russell Wright whose work was strongly influenced by Japanese aesthetics, not least in the way he conceptualized his home / studio (Dragon Rock) and the woodland garden around it.

Wright’s Japanese connection apparently runs deeper than is commonly thought.  He also contributed to the cross-fertilization of American and Japanese sensibilities in Modernist aesthetics by serving as an adviser to the post-World War II Japanese government on handcraft design that would resonate with the US export market, according to Japanese Modernist design scholar Yuko Kikuchi.

In Manitoga, which Wright considers as a pinnacle of his career, the Japanese touch is everywhere evident and seamlessly integrated into his nature-centered instinct for design and even his taste for theatrics as a former theater set designer.  Dragon Rock is said to be reminiscent of Japanese temple architecture, as executed by architect David L. Leavitt with whom Wright shares a fondness for Japanese design. Leavitt has worked in Japan with the architect Antonin Raymond whose students include the Japanese architect Junzo Yoshimura, creator of the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden in Philadelphia and the traditional teahouse at the Japanese garden in Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate, Tarrytown, New York.

While Dragon Rock has often been compared to the famous Fallingwater house of architect Frank Lloyd Wright (no relation), it seems to fall back more into the landscape, despite a name that’s evocative of a far more conspicuous presence.  From the green roofs — revolutionary for a structure built in the early 1950s — to the floor-to-ceiling windows and the tree trunk and natural boulders that define the interiors of the space, Wright was intent on blurring the boundaries between the outdoor and indoor spaces and synthesizing the natural with the man-made, a design sentiment that is also characteristically Japanese.  The name of the house itself, derived from the innocent fancy of Wright’s young daughter Annie who imagined a dragon shape in the rock formation, recalls the convention for naming rocks in a Japanese garden for mythical animals.

The great outdoors that Wright and Leavitt sought to bring in through this organic architecture is a 75-acre expanse that simultaneously evokes the experience of a stroll garden from Japan’s Edo Period (1603 – 1867) and taps into Wright’s penchant for drama as a former stage designer. Even as the house maximizes the view outside, the forest garden is also meant to be journeyed into.

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Autumn in Manitoga

Here, the Japanese garden design principle of miegakure (hide and reveal) also becomes a device in Wright’s nature theater for building up a dramatic effect as one traverses through the path of the woodland garden.

Along each path, the landscape and its themes unfold sequentially. There is an introduction, a dramatic build-up, elaboration of a theme, and then a climax or a goal; the building of tension and its dramatic release – the whole design a musical composition.”     

A rock in the middle of the driveway, for example, slows movement and forces contemplation of the immediate surroundings. The sound of an unseen water feature at an entrance builds anticipation.

This theatricality also plays into the notion of a Japanese garden as an idealized re-creation or distillation of nature.  Landscape architect and Wright’s cousin Carol Franklin notes Wright’s manipulation of naturally occurring elements, particularly native plant species, to create the moments of denouement in the garden: a moss garden on top of the quarry pond, masses of mountain laurels and dogwoods in bloom, a fiery corridor of backlit autumn foliage.  Design historian D.J. Huppatz also speculated about Wright’s use of “borrowed scenery” (shakkei) to provide points of interest along the walking paths.

And then, there are the rocks. In the course of the 35 years since first acquiring the property as an abandoned granite quarry in 1942, Wright bided his time studying and working with the natural rock formations in the area to distill its essence as a “place of great spirit” (the English translation of “Manitoga,” an Algonquin word). A mountain stream was diverted and a 30-foot, multi-level waterfall created to form a swimming pond. There are also a variety of rock groupings and stepping stone paths found all over the property.  These rocks, ancient as they are in these parts, found a new purpose in the nexus of the natural and built environment in Manitoga.

Manitoga is part of the Garden Architecture Tour on October 7, 2016 co-hosted by the North American Japanese Garden Association and the Japan American Society of Greater Philadelphia. The tour is part of a two-day event on October 7 and 8, “Modernism, Japanese Carpentry and the Garden: Preserving the Architecture of Junzo Yoshimura.” For details and to register, visit http://najga.org/Philadelphia-2016


SOURCES:

Brown, Jane Roy, “Learning From Dragon Rock,” Landscape Architecture, Sept. 2005, https://www.asla.org/lamag/lam05/September/ecology.html 

Hobens, Barbara, “Philipstown Gardens: Inspirations from Manitoga,” The Highlands Current, April 2, 2011, http://highlandscurrent.com/2011/04/02/philipstown-gardens-4/

Huppatz, D.J., “Manitoga and Japan” http://djhuppatz.blogspot.com/2010/03/manitoga-and-japan.html

Kikuchi, Yuko, “Russell Wright and Japan: Bridging Japonisme and Good Design Through Craft,” The Journal of Modern Craft, Vol. 1 2008, Issue 3  http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.2752/174967808X379434?journalCode=rfmc20

Mendelsohn, Meredith, “Manitoga: Force of Nature,” Garden Design Magazine  http://www.gardendesign.com/new-york/garrison-manitoga.html

www.visitmanitoga.org

A Japanese Garden Experience in Manitoga

North American Japanese Garden Association To Host Philadelphia & New York Heritage Tour & Workshop

Two-Day Event Focus On Modernist and Traditional Japanese Design In the Garden

Philadelphia, PA – On October 7 and 8, the North American Japanese Garden Association (NAJGA) is teaming up with the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia (JASGP) to explore the adaptation and preservation of Modernist and traditional Japanese design in several garden settings found in New York and Philadelphia. NAJGA is a non-profit that promotes the art, craft and heart of Japanese gardens in USA and Canada.

The coach heritage tour on October 7 will feature prime examples of Japanese and Mid-century modern architecture in two garden estates: Kykuit at the Rockefeller estate in Tarrytown, New York with its century-old Japanese garden, and the Manitoga / The Russell Wright Design Center in Garrison, New York with its Japanese-influenced woodland garden. Also included with the tour registration is a box lunch and free admission to the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden in Philadelphia, which will be the assembly point for the tour.

“Autumn is one of the best times to be in a Japanese garden and as the leaves turn and fall away, we are better able to isolate and appreciate the architectural aspects of the garden, particularly the buildings that exist in its context,” says NAJGA board president and JASGP executive director Kim Andrews.

The work of revered Japanese architect Junzo Yoshimura will be a prime focus of this event. Aside from being the acclaimed designer of Shofuso, he also built a traditional teahouse for the Japanese garden in Kykuit. The tour will include a lecture about Yoshimura’s works as well as a viewing of the exterior of the Marcel Breuer House in Kykuit.

On October 8, Yoshimura’s legacy at Shofuso will be further scrutinized through the lenses of an ongoing heritage preservation project in a workshop that includes a Japanese carpentry demonstration, practicum on historic preservation reporting, and hinoki roof demonstration. Shofuso’s heritage preservation project aims to uphold Yoshimura’s rigorous standards for designing Shofuso using traditional Japanese design, and one of its most major components is the restoration of the roof made from the bark of the hinoki cypress. Heritage preservation experts and craftsmen skilled in traditional Japanese techniques will serve as lecturers and facilitators during the workshop.

“Our ongoing effort to meet the preservation challenges presented by Yoshimura’s uncompromising standards is also an excellent learning opportunity for everyone else interested in heritage conservation and the modern adaptation of traditional Japanese design,” says Andrews. “Knowing about how to properly report on conditions for heritage structures, for example, is a must for community custodians of these structures inside and outside the garden setting.”

The two-day event will be occurring during one of the busiest weeks in the Philadelphia design scene as it is also part of the 2016 DesignPhiladelphia festival (October 6 to 16), the oldest open-source event of its kind in the United States, and of the Docomomo US Tour Day 2016 (October 8), an annual event for raising awareness of and appreciation of buildings, interiors and landscapes designed in the US during the mid-20th century.

This event is open to the general public. To learn more and to register, visit http://najga.org/Philadelphia-2016.

North American Japanese Garden Association To Host Philadelphia & New York Heritage Tour & Workshop

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden Through the Seasons

The Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden in Lethbridge, AB  exemplifies pride of place as a “Canadian garden in the Japanese style,” as originally envisioned by its creator Prof. Tadashi Kubo almost half a century ago. The expansive spirit of the surrounding Canadian prairies and the rugged beauty of the Canadian Rockies are both reflected in this merging of Canadian and Japanese culture. Despite the challenges of climate and environment, this garden carries its pride through the different seasons and times of day.

NAJGA board member and Alberta-based garden professional Cody Fong captures the garden in its different moods in the series of photos below. Learn how this garden represents the versatility of the Japanese garden aesthetic in a regional conference “The Adaptability of Japanese Gardens: Lessons Learned From the Canadian Prairies,” September 16 to 18 in Lethbridge, Alberta. Visit http://najga.org/Alberta-2016 for more details and to register.

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Photos by Cody Fong

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Florida Conference Explores Japanese Gardens As Places of Health, Wellness and Social Change

The North American Japanese Garden Association and the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens To Host Experts from Six Countries

The North American Japanese Garden Association (NAJGA) is bringing together international garden specialists from Japan, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, China and Australia for two days of learning, exchange and camaraderie that focuses on understanding and utilizing Japanese gardens as nature-based therapeutic settings. NAJGA is a non-profit promoting the art, craft and heart of Japanese gardens in the US and Canada.

NAJGA’s 3rd biennial conference, “Towards A Healthier World: Japanese Gardens As Places For Wellness and Transformation,” will take place on March 7 and 8, 2016 at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, Delray Beach, FL. The conference is open to the general public and will appeal to persons interested in Japanese gardens, and in broader issues of how landscape can positively transform lives and society.

Click HERE to visit conference webpage.

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The more than 40 conference presentations include research findings, case studies, best practices and garden histories related to designing, fostering and utilizing Japanese gardens as havens of healing. Speakers will talk about a wide range gardens from backyard gardens, public and university gardens, spas and other leisure industry venues, to hospices and hospitals. For garden practitioners who wish to improve their level of understanding of Japanese gardening, there will be topics related to Japanese garden design, maintenance, and fostering more creative engagement with the garden.

Click HERE and HERE for a preview of conference presentations and meet the speakers.

Photography Workshop, Garden Talk and Tours

There will be a twilight photography workshop by noted landscape and garden photographer David Cobb on March 7. Cobb is the photographer of the book Quiet Beauty: The Japanese Gardens of North America, 2013 Home & Garden book of the year for the Independent Book Publishers Association. Other special events include a lecture at the banquet by multi-awarded Morikami garden designer Hoichi Kurisu on Japanese garden design and healing, and a chance to participate in the Morikami’s pioneering “Stroll For Well-Being” program. A March 6 pre-conference bus tour visits garden and museum locations in Delray Beach and West Palm Beach.

“Wellness and Japanese gardens have been inextricably linked for centuries and there is now a growing global movement to understand the therapeutic value of nature-based settings,” said NAJGA Board President Kim Andrews. “NAJGA will connect these two historic developments through a conference that paves the way for practical applications in personal wellness and supports the well-being of whole communities.”

Palm Beach County Parks and Recreations Director Eric Call welcomes participants to Morikami. “Ensuring health and wellness opportunities for both mind and body is a core service of the department and I can’t think of a more beautiful and tranquil setting (for the conference),” he says.

Special thanks to our conference partners and sponsors:

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MORIKAMI_LOGO         PJG logo       Anderson JG_logo

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Kurisu,LLC Logo JPEG     Logo Fondation du jardin et du pavillon japonais de   Mtl

Florida Conference Explores Japanese Gardens As Places of Health, Wellness and Social Change

North American Japanese Garden Association Holds Regional Event in Minnesota this August

Five Japanese gardens in the Minnesota area will take center stage as the North American Japanese Garden Association (NAJGA) goes to the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” on August 7 to 8 for its first regional event of the year.

NAJGA Minnesota 2015 - John Powell“It’s All in the Details” is a two-day skills development workshop and garden education tour featuring the following gardens: Charlotte Partridge Ordway Japanese Garden at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, St. Paul MN; Jo-Ryo-En (Garden of Quiet Listening) at Carleton College, Northfield, MN; Normandale Japanese Garden at Normandale Community College, Bloomington, MN; Seisui Tei (Garden of Pure Water) at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chaska, MN, and a private residential garden in St. Paul, MN attached to a Modernist house designed by American architect Ralph Rapson in the 1960s.

“Attention to detail is perhaps the most important thing in elevating gardens in America to the lofty level of those in Japan,” says NAJGA President Dr. Kendall Brown. “We are pleased to provide an experience that meaningfully connects Minnesota’s most compelling Japanese gardens to each other and to the large audience of Japanese garden lovers across North America.”

Skills Development Workshop

On August 7, the Charlotte Partridge Ordway Japanese Garden will host a workshop focused on teaching basic skills required of a Japanese gardener in constructing and maintaining a garden. It will also teach participants how to establish specific goals that enhance the presentation of a Japanese garden.

Exterior_wall_katsuraSessions include shearing of karikomi (massed or wave planting), deciduous tree pruning, pine maintenance, layout and installation of tobi-ishi (stepping stones) and nobedan (stone paving), and working with bamboo to create the basic nanako fence that keeps guests on the path, and the yotsume gaki fence used in tea ceremony gardens.

Three_piece_matcha_setParticipants will also be introduced to design theory, construction and maintenance of the Japanese tea garden and teahouse. After the workshop, participants will also have a rare opportunity to visit the private garden attached to the Ralph Rapson-designed house in St. Paul, MN. The house and garden provide a good example of the sukiya living concept where Japanese garden principles are applied in a residential setting and rooms are integrated with the garden.

The workshop will be led by Japanese garden expert John Powell, the first Westerner selected to train with the garden staff of the prestigious Adachi Museum of Art, widely acknowledged as having one of the world’s best Japanese gardens. Other garden experts from the region and across North America will assist.

Garden Education Tour: Japanese Gardens in the North Star State

On August 8, a bus tour will visit the Jo-Ryo-en (Garden of Quiet Listening) at Carleton College, Normandale Japanese Garden, and the Seisui Tei (Garden of Pure Water) at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

Four distinct styles of Japanese gardens—hill and pond, dry landscape, stroll garden, and pleasure boating garden—will be examined in three Minnesota gardens adapted to the local climate through plant choice and design. Care of Japanese gardens will be covered. Guests will also be introduced to issues of garden care, and how gardens “care” for people when utilized for therapy and meditation.

This two-day event is also open to the general public.  For more details and to register, visit the event website HERE.  Or contact NAJGA at info@najga.org, tel: (503) 222 1194.

North American Japanese Garden Association Holds Regional Event in Minnesota this August