Sunday, July 20, 2014

Japanese Hill and Pond Garden

I visited the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden. This three acre garden was built between 1914-1915, and was one of the first Japanese gardens to be included in an American botanic garden. The garden was designed by Takeo Shiota. It is the only surviving pre-World War I civic garden of its kind. The garden was restored in 1999, and today it is often found in lists of the best Japanese gardens in America.

There are a variety of features amongst its stroll paths, including bridges, pavilions a Shinto shrine, Torii Gate, and man made hills and waterfalls. 

The entire garden is surrounded by a fence, one which uses bamboo poles as part of the upper screen.

A gate allows entrance into the garden and the viewing pavilion from which visitors can see much of the garden and lake.

The lake takes the shape of character shin ((), or heart. Across the lake stands a Shinto torii similar in style to the one at Itsukushima. 

Torii at Itsukushima, 2007

The view from the pavilion also takes in a yukimi-style lantern near an high, rounded wooden drum bridge (taiko-bashi) that stands between a waterfall and tortoise island.

There is also a very impressive Kasuga style lantern lantern.

As one makes their way around the lake, additional views are experienced of the pavilion and tortoise island. Check out the panorama below:

Click to View Panoramic Image

This dwarf Japanese maple has clearly been growing here for some time to have become so large and shapely. 

Tortoise island with small arching bridge.

Yukimi-style lantern as seen from behind the tortoise island with stepping stones leading the way to this sacred space.

Higher up the hill is a man-add set of waterfalls and echo caverns (note the small tortoise on the rocks left of the water fall).

There is also a Shinto shrine located within the garden.

We then exited through a back gate into the rest of the botanic garden. near this gate was a plaque with an image of the garden when it was first built. It most defineatly looked very different:

For more historic images, check out the BBG Historic Image Collections.

After spending much of the morning in the garden, I went on to explore the rest of the Botanic garden, including the Cherry Tree Esplanade, Lilly Pool Terrace, and the Bonzai Museum. 

Cherry Tree Esplanade

Lilly Pool Terrace

Assorted Bonsai from the Bonsai Museum

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