Thursday, February 25, 2016

Melting Ice

Winter ice
melts into clear water;
clear is my heart

Just one week ago I was posting a photo of the zen garden covered in Ice. Today I awoke to 40 degree weather and fog. I also found the garden filled with water after a heavy downpour of rain accompanied by thunder and lighting from the night before, and its still February! 

Nevertheless, it was a beautiful site.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Beneath the Ice

Winter snows arrived
Water rests beneath the ice
Flowers dream of spring

After returning from my vacation in Florida, I was greeted by snow and ice in the the Zen garden. The temperature has been oddly warm and hence rain turned most of the snow into slush, only to freeze over the next day. As a result, an ice filled pond now fills the usually dry landscape garden bed. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Ichimura Miami

While in Florida, I also had the chance to visit Miami. I realized that there was a small Japanese garden there, named the Ichimura Miami Japanese garden. The garden has an interesting history which started in 1957. The garden has also gone through several transformations and relocation since its original founding.

The garden was much smaller than I had anticipated, being wedged into a small location adjacent to a parking garage on Watson Island. 

The upkeep on the garden was also poor. Additionally, there was an over reliance on cement structures throughout, giving it a sort of industrial state-sponsored look, unsurprising given that it is city-owned land. 

Perhaps if the garden had not been relocated from the original site, and the elements of the original San-ai en (Three Loves Garden) been maintained over the years, then the garden could have evolved into a more authentic Japanese garden.

original layout, 1961
redesign, 2004

Sunday, February 14, 2016


To escape the winter, I visited the Fort Lauderdale area of Florida. While there, I took a trip to visit the Morikami Museum and Japanese Garden. Sukiya Living Magazine (JOJG) ranks Roji-en (the Garden of the Drops of Dew) as #8 on the 25 best Japanese gardens in North America, so I was excited to see the garden.

Originally started as an agricultural colony by a group of Japanese farmers, the garden opened in 1977 and today consists of 16 acres of authentic Japanese gardens and museum exhibit space dedicated to Japanese living culture. There is also a tea house and extensive bonsai collection.

Although technically a Japanese garden, I found the local plants, flowers and trees that populated the six distinct gardens to be interesting since they were very different from what one might normally find in a Japanese garden. On the other hand, the dry landscape gardens, or rock gardens, were very authentic and well executed. Overall I found the garden to be an excellent example of an authentic Japanese inspired garden.

Chie no Wa Wisdom Ring

Kodai-mon (Ancient Gate)

Karesansui Late Rock Graden

Hiraniwa Flat Garden

Nan-mon (South Gate)