Nearing the end of my stay in Oklahoma for the summer, I traveled to Oklahoma City to see one last garden. Using the North American Japanese Garden Association garden finder, I came across the Kyoto Meditation Garden located within the Omniplex Science Museum gardens.
I knew this garden would be small, and that to get access, I would have to pay an entrance fee to the science museum. Nevertheless, I thought it would be worth a look, especially after reading the NAJGA description of the garden:
A gift to Oklahoma from the perfectual government of Kyoto, Japan in celebration of their "sister-state" affiliation, the meditation garden was completed in September 1985. The garden was built by master gardeners from Kyoto Perfectual Landscape Gardening Cooperative Association, who voluntarily paid their own way to Oklahoma City to build the 1,110-square-foot garden in just three weeks. Over 30 tons of building material were brought over from Japan, including: rock, stone, tile and a 300 year-old Kasuga-style lantern. The garden was designed to show friendship and goodwill between the Kyoto Perfecture and Oklahoma City.
The foundations of the garden are the stone structure with other elements build up around these. The garden contains one grass island complete with a redbud tree, symbolizing Oklahoma, which is connected to another grass island symbolizing Kyoto by a wooden bridge which symbolizes friendship. The islands are separated by a trail of gravel which represents the ocean that separates the two. The garden also includes a waterfall (taki) and tsukubai water basin.
Little did I know, this 2001 description was very dated. The garden was in very poor condition. It had all the elements needed to create a wonderful garden, but it had been left in such a state of neglect that it was difficult to see the potential.
The hardscape could easily have been fixed, but the plantings were almost non existent - more crab grass than anything else. Interestingly, the other garden areas in the museum courtyard seemed well maintained and had people throughout. However, the mediation garden was simply abandoned and seemingly discarded. As a result, it was unwelcoming. Hence, no one seemed to notice it.
Honestly, this garden has the potential to be a beauty. All it needs is someone to adopt it and bring it back to life. Unfortunately, I don't live in Oklahoma, but if I did, I would volunteer my time and effort to save this gem.