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Archives for February 4, 2013

Latest snag for Lee garden: money

Jamil Suleman has fought for almost five years to create a community garden on the University of Washington’s campus commemorating minority contributions.

The self-described social activist has faced skepticism from the school’s administration. He’s changed the garden’s focus from a memorial to actor Bruce Lee to a garden promoting the teachings of Lee and the Duwamish Tribe.

Now he faces one more hurdle: raising the money for it.

“There is never going to be a true unification of people” as long as certain peoples and histories are ignored, said Suleman, who graduated from the UW in 2007 and now works as a freelance artist and tutor. “This garden is kind of a holistic effort to shine light” on those contributions.

The idea for the project originated during a class on the comparative history of ideas the 28-year-old Suleman taught at UW the fall after he graduated. Since its inception, the idea has gained support from the Bruce Lee Foundation, Lee’s family, community members and UW students.

The school, though now supportive of the effort, has declined to fund it.

Supporters hope to raise $100,000 by March; they say that would be enough to build and maintain the 2.5-acre Community Peace Garden on an untouched patch of land that houses native plants and animals, just south of Drumheller Fountain.

Initially, the UW resisted the effort to create a memorial to Lee, an action-movie star and martial-arts instructor who attended the UW and was buried in Seattle after his death in 1973.

A university spokesman questioned why this memorial should be on the UW campus, and why now. The official pointed out that Lee attended the UW for three years but did not graduate.

Supporters, however, argued that the school doesn’t adequately recognize its minorities. They maintained that Lee was one of its most famous students, so the school should honor his teachings and also that Lee had met his wife at the UW.

Suleman wanted to publicize Lee’s philosophical side as well. Lee preached unity and acceptance, teaching “under sky, under leaves, but one family.”

The garden’s organizers found a similar philosophy in Duwamish teachings, and incorporated the tribe into the plans. University officials began supporting the project, and landscape architect Katherine Kenney worked with Suleman to select a location.

During Suleman’s 2007 class, students originally wanted to honor Lee with a statue, but they decided Lee’s teachings would be better served through a meditative garden for students. They planned a garden that would intrude as little as possible on the native soil.

Shannon Lee, of California, the youngest of Bruce Lee’s two children, said she is happy about the choice to create a garden, saying it reflects her father’s lifestyle and teachings.

“I’m passionate about the depth and meaning of my father’s legacy, above and beyond the fact that he starred in a few films,” said Lee, who runs many companies and charities dedicated to her father. “This project speaks to that.”

Suleman approached Duwamish Chair Cecile Hansen last fall, wanting to provide a memorial to the region’s original occupants. While Hansen didn’t see exactly how her tribe fit into a Bruce Lee memorial, she was happy to accept Suleman’s offer.

“It doesn’t fit together, but any time they remember the tribe we love it,” Hansen said.

Suleman’s efforts have supporters outside the UW community. Stefan Grunkemeier, who works at Simply Rocks landscaping in Seattle, volunteered to design the garden, wanting to encourage his friend’s efforts.

“Jamil brings people together who normally wouldn’t be together,” Grunkemeier said. “That’s his persona. That’s the theme behind this project, and that was Bruce Lee’s philosophy.”

Sarah Freishtat: 206-464-2373 or

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Boulder’s Civic Area plan may call for band shell relocation

The guiding principles for the Civic Area Master Plan call for preserving central Boulder’s historic character while creating a vision for the future of the area between Ninth and 17th Streets along Boulder Creek.

But several of the plans for the area submitted to the city as part of an ideas competition omit one historical structure, the band shell in Central Park. Some of the plans move it to a new site within the proposed civic area boundaries, while others don’t show it at all.

City planners are in the process of taking ideas from those concept plans and turning them into three or four alternatives to present to the community and the City Council.

The omission of the band shell has caught the eye of members of the city’s Landmarks Board, some of whom want to see it stay where it is, between 13th and 14th streets on Canyon Boulevard, and all of whom don’t want to see it disappear.

“Moving the building has implications,” said Landmarks Board member Mark Gerwing, who said the site was carefully chosen and is part of the historic aspect. “Once you move a building, it’s no longer eligible for the national registry, and that speaks to funding for renovations.”

Gerwing noted that the community has organized repeatedly to save the band shell, including the push that resulted in its landmark status in 1995.

“The community has spoken, though it was a long time ago,” he said.

The Glen Huntington Band Shell, named for the well known Boulder architect who designed it, was built in 1938 and dedicated to the city by the Lions Club. Denver-based city planner and landscape architect Saco DeBoer worked on the placement of the band shell and the amphitheater seating.

The band shell is a rare example of Art Deco architecture in the city and one of only a few park band shells in the state.

The band shell received landmark status from the city in 1995, partly in response to discussion about moving the band shell to make way for the historic (and peripatetic) train depot that now sits near 30th and Pearl streets.

To change anything about a landmarked structure requires getting a landmark alteration certificate and is subject to review by the Landmarks Board.

Boulder Comprehensive Plan Manager Lesli Ellis, who is co-managing the Civic Area Master Plan process, said city officials are aware of the significance of the band shell for many people in the community. The participants in the ideas competition were encouraged to think outside the box, and the final plan won’t look like any one of the submissions.

“What’s probably not on the table is any proposal to demolish the band shell,” Ellis said. “There isn’t a lot of support for that in the community. But we do see some support for moving the band shell to another location where it would be more conducive to performances and have better access.”

The site near Canyon Boulevard has a lot of traffic noise that competes with the music when concerts are held there.

Ellis said at least one of the alternatives put together by staff will show a new location for the band shell, but other ideas include improving the landscaping and adding other amenities to Central Park.

City Councilman Tim Plass, a former Landmarks Board member, said he would support moving the band shell and would like to keep it in central Boulder. He believes demolishing it would violate the spirit of historic preservation behind the landmarks ordinance and set a bad example for the private sector.

“I’m not sure it can still serve its purpose where it is on the corner of Broadway and Canyon,” Plass said. “I don’t want to see it demolished. I don’t want to see it go away. I think it might be moved so that it can better serve its purpose. It’s also a prime corner for maybe doing something else.”

Boulder Mayor Matt Appelbaum said he’s never cared for the band shell, and the way it backs up to Canyon detracts from the pedestrian experience of the street, which the city would like to turn into a tree-lined boulevard.

“We have a lot of opportunity to really re-imagine the space, and to do that, I think you have to be willing to talk about moving the band shell,” he said.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Erica Meltzer at 303-473-1355 or

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Master Gardeners taking skills ‘Beyond the Garden Gate’ Feb. 23 – The Banner

People are marking their calendars for the upcoming Putnam County Master Gardeners’ Advanced Training Seminar. This year’s seminar is called, “Beyond the Garden Gate.”

It’s going to be a day filled with several interesting speakers, good food to enjoy, chances to win prizes, vendor booths to visit and fellow gardeners to meet.

This all-day event will take place from 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Putnam County Fairgrounds.

In the morning, following registration and breakfast for everyone, there will be three classes, with breaks in between for folks to stretch their legs, visit the vendors and meet one another.

Following lunch, each of the participants will receive a bluebird house kit, which all will have the chance to build and take home.

The rest of the afternoon rounds out the presentations with two more classes and a brief wrap-up, ending scheduled events at 3:30 p.m.

Throughout the day, there will be drawings for prizes — gifts that have been donated by local businesses, vendors at the seminar and several Putnam County Master Gardeners.

Vendors will be available not only during all breaks but before and after the day’s activities as well.

Five speakers will be conducting workshops on a variety of topics. The presentations cover subjects that our local Master Gardeners have asked to learn more about, and the seminar speakers were chosen with their suggestions in mind.

Topics include Great Landscaping Ideas, presented by Colletta Kosiba; Creating a Natural Habitat in Your Garden, by Joni James; Organic Gardening, by Luella Mozingo; Poison Plant Sonnets, by Joe Heithaus; and Tomatoes–There’s So Much More, by Ann Delchambre.

It is not necessary to be a Master Gardener to attend. In fact, the seminar planners hope that new people register, attend the seminar, and discover how much they can enjoy learning about gardening and want to join the Putnam County Master Gardeners.

The cost of the seminar is $35 for individuals or $60 for couples. Early registrations are due by Monday, Feb. 11, and seating is limited. After Feb. 11, late registrations will be $45 for individuals and $80 four couples.

Anyone who would like more information or who would like to register may contact Jane Jackson at 720-5212, or email,

Feb. 2 — Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry, State Fairgrounds

Feb. 2 — E.H. Leader Lesson “Handy Woman 911” at Extension Office 1 p.m.

Feb. 7 — Ext. Homemakers Holiday Program at the Fairgrounds, 7 p.m.

Feb.11 — Farm Management Program Clay County 6-8 p.m.

Feb. 14 — Ext. Homemakers County Council meeting, Ext. Classroom, 11:30 p.m.

Feb. 16 — Bi-State 4-H Judges and Leaders Clinic, Cloverdale KNOY Center, 9 a.m.

Feb. 17 — Putnam 2013 4-H Launch, Fairgrounds, 2-4 p.m.

Feb.19, 20 — Certified Livestock Producer Program, Knoy Center 5-8:30 p.m.

Feb.23 — “Beyond the Garden Gate” Master Gardener Advanced Training Fairgrounds 8-4 p.m.

March 1-2 — Indiana Small Farms Conference, Danville

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Upper Lawrenceville works hard to fashion a new image

McCandless Avenue is a steep shot down from Stanton Avenue to the Allegheny River, and it lies at the heart of a new neighborhood plan for Upper Lawrenceville.

Where it meets Butler Street, it could be the hub the neighborhood lacks. Where it meets the Allegheny, it could provide river access the neighborhood craves. And with strategically planted trees, curb cuts and landscaping, it could detour much of the stormwater that rushes down it.

The plan designates these roles for McCandless. It had the support of standing-room-only crowds at meetings in October, November and January at the Ancient Order of Hibernians hall on Carnegie Street, where residents poured out ideas to improve housing, greening and retail opportunities.

The western border on Butler intersects with 51st Street/Stanton, where the stone wall of the Allegheny Cemetery reinforces the division between Upper and Central Lawrenceville. Several blocks in, the intersection with McCandless could be activated for a warmer neighborhood welcome. The eastern border taps Morningside at 62nd Street; the southern border with Stanton Heights stutters along a wooded hillside full of dead ends and public steps.

Market forces that have transformed Lower and Central Lawrenceville are already marching in, with new home buyers and storefronts on Butler. The planning process gives Upper Lawrenceville a way to direct the market to respond to its self-image — distinct from its trendier, less industrial and increasingly expensive sisters.

“We are scared to death of gentrification in the 10th Ward,” said Deirdre Kane, a 39-year-old native who, like many old-timers, still refers to the neighborhood that way. “We heard it from people from their 20s to their 70s: ‘I don’t want to be priced out of my house.’ “

Most homes are modest and working class. Many offer sweat-equity opportunities appealing to young people.

“It’s the only affordable place to move if you absolutely want to be in Lawrenceville,” said Ms. Kane, a steward of community gardens. “And hipsters are not afraid of a little grit or a place that’s still a little sketchy.”

The neighborhood sees the opportunity for grit, industry and affordability co-existing with more investment, amenities and environmental improvements.

“I feel like it’s finally our turn,” lifelong resident Nancy Bittner said. “Our problem was we had more public safety issues and a larger senior population. We had our share of landlords who weren’t as diligent as they should have been.”

A 21-year board member of Lawrenceville United, she said she has seen crime drop dramatically. “We have worked very hard with the Zone Two police” and with landlords to be more compliant with the city code and in tenant control.

“The neighborhood is back to where people feel safe,” she said. “Now we can concentrate on our vision.”

Except for a barren stretch of riverfront owned by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the Allegheny is lined with manufacturers that inhibit public access to the water. The plan has adopted a “we make it” slogan to attract small businesses, playing off the industrial identity, but residents also want to use the riverfront.

The plan devises a possibility at the end of McCandless. If it were enacted today, a stormwater retention plaza with a bicycle repair station near a trail would cozy up to the west side of the Barber Spring Co.

The metal guard rail at the street’s dead end would be replaced by a landscaped walk to “McCandless Beach,” which would include a put-in for kayaks and two stationary barges, one with a swimming pool, the other for movie showings.

Lawrenceville United and the Lawrenceville Corp., two complementary nonprofits, will fit elements of the plan into work they are already doing on greening projects and economic development, said James Eash, a community outreach specialist for the Lawrenceville Corp.

Evolve, an environmental design consulting firm, was hired to lead the planning process. Under the guidance of Christine Mondor, a principal at evolveEA, the plan calls for McCandless to become a demonstration model of stormwater solutions.

If the plan were enacted today, street trees with elongated and deep root wells would march the length of the corridor, turning it into a green boulevard. Intersections would be bumped out to slow traffic and accommodate tree circles.

“With a chain of continuous tree wells to slow, clean and infiltrate [water],” Ms. Mondor said, “by the time you get to the flat area, you can divert water into McCandless Park, which has a proposed redesign. At the [riverfront] plaza, you’d have significant infiltration.”

Mr. Eash said revamping McCandless would address several complaints residents have about the avenue.

“They say, ‘People drive too fast.’ They say, ‘We want more street trees.’ And then there was the larger, critical issue of stormwater mitigation.”

The Lawrenceville Corp. is writing grant applications seeking funds to begin implementing changes on McCandless, he said.

Reuse of the former McCleary School and a marketing strategy for selling alley houses are other priorities of the plan.

“The alley housing was such a major issue” several years ago, Mr. Eash said. Many were derelict and used for drug dealing. With the worst of them demolished, he said, “now we can see them as assets.”

The alleys are too narrow for cars to park and the houses are tiny, but he said several people at the meetings said, ” ‘Hey, I ride a bike. I’d love to have a place like that.’ “

Ms. Kane said the planning process was uplifting “because of the range of people old and young coming together who all want the same things.”

“I’ve lived here all my life, and I couldn’t believe how many people I didn’t know,” Ms. Bittner said. “It seemed like this happened quietly, people coming over time, but with everyone in one room, you feel the impact. And they were concerned about things the older people wanted.

“The older residents deserve this. They stuck it out, came to block watches, picked up trash. They worked and worked. You work and work for change and wonder if you’ll see it in your lifetime, then all of a sudden you see that it has already come.”

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Traffic Q&A: City works to beautify Sprague Avenue

Question: What’s happening on Sprague Avenue where you get off on the exits from Highway 16? They’ve been limiting lanes for several days, and sometimes the backups have been pretty long. On the east side of the street they’ve put in new landscaping and what looks like a long line of half-buried barrels. — Dorothy, Gig Harbor

Answer: What you’re seeing is the most recent phase of the City of Tacoma’s ongoing “Sprague Enhancement Project.”

The new Nalley Valley viaduct improvements have turned Sprague into a highly visible gateway to Tacoma, and the city is trying to pretty things up. They’re also improving stormwater treatment. For the past week crews have been putting in curbs for a new center median that’s intended to calm traffic.

What looks like barrels is actually drainage pipe — part of new bio-retention rain gardens that will treat roadway runoff. The rain gardens and extra landscaping will improve the city’s tree canopy and reduce rainwater runoff into the Foss watershed.

At some point, you’ll see a new neighborhood gateway sign, which is also included in the project.

Rob Carson: 253-597-8693

Have a question about traffic congestion, construction, spending or other transportation issues? Send it to Include your name, hometown and daytime telephone number. We’ll answer as many as we can.

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Bangalore’s Koramangala residents manage to eat their own produce with …

BANGALORE: In the times of our constant references to the phrase ‘concrete jungle’, Koramangala’s citizens have managed to maintain green spaces in their homes – on their terraces.

Bangalore’s commercial hub, Kormanagala has recently witnessed a sea change in the way its residential spaces are being explored. Homemakers, working women and botany enthusiasts alike have joined hands into making private terraces and balconies greener. Not only are they making it palatable to the eye, but, they are also using the space to source their kitchen requirements.

This trend is analogous to the development of the gardening and landscaping industry in India. Professional players, here in Koramangala, are joining in to provide their services to builders, companies and households.

The future for gardening and landscaping industry looks bright this year. According to India Landscaping Report 2013, the industry remained small and fragmented in India until last year. The small market size ensured global gardening majors overlooking India, which in turn has favoured the indigenous entrepreneurs.

Garden enthusiast Nanda Devi, a high school teacher, has employed half of her first floor-terrace space to keep her childhood hobby alive and spends an hour a day on it. “Terrace gardening is economical and eco friendly,” she explains.

Usha Raghavan a resident of a Koramangala high rise apartment, who developed a keen interest in organic terrace gardening, now, has begun to occasionally provide for her family with healthier, organic vegetables too.

Raghavan is following a Facebook page exclusively dedicated to people interested in organic terrace gardening. The page initiated by a Bangalore-based group of enthusiasts began about two years ago with 200 people and has now grown to over 3,000 members. Inspired members meet once in three months to discuss on subjects like farm yield, organic manure and better seeds. The next meeting called “Oota from your Thota” (meaning food from your garden), is scheduled to start on 24 February 2013.


The page following testifies the potential growth the market has and Radha Eashwar is tapping into this. Founder of ArtyPlantz, a garden solution provider, she has helped Koramangala’s citizens to create home gardens and urban farms. An architect by profession, Radha believes that Koramangala’s corporate as well as public spaces are in need of this. ArtyPlantz was started as a tiny horticultural therapy centre in February 2012.

“Better homes are an easy possibility and a terrace, balcony and even a windowsill can be converted into a green space without employing much resources,” she says.

Many citizens from around Koramangala have approached Radha with needs that require customis ation. “While a builder or a campus developer may ask for a private terrace designed especially for a pool area, an individual customer may just be looking for a more compact and low maintenance green space,” Eashwar informed.


Some of the players are looking at the construction happening around Koramangala as a possible future demand. Veena Nanda, who owns Sunshine Boutique, a garden store, believes that the builders as well as homeowners’ special attention for including green space during construction has proved fruitful.

“Koramangala is one of those newer localities where more citizens’ are going out of their way to add more eco-friendly value to their homes,” she says. Eashwar’s ArtyPlantz aims to reach out to 25,000 customers by 2016. Since 2012, ArtyPlantz’s customer base has grown five times since then. Today, the setup has received landscape gardening enquiries from medium to large sized builders across Koramangala. “Big names like Sri Ram Properties, developers like Shilpa Builders, Connect Builders, Kaman Holdings and K2 Builders have expressed their interests. If all goes well, we shall set up office in another city in two years from now,” hopes Radha.

This year, the market is slated to grow at Compound Annual Growth Rate of 22 per cent to reach a value of Rs 751.04 crore. The gardening market will be driven by housing demand and demand from residential areas like Koramangala. Nanda agrees, “Our business has rebounded after the 2008 dive, thanks to the stronger economic growth conditions. This was supported by spending by customers especially from smaller households and other residential apartment builders. We hope that our business will get a push from the construction activity in the areas surrounding Koramangala,” she says.

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Greco Middle students help plan campus garden

Greco Middle School students are working with Temple Terrace Community Gardens members to design a garden plot for the school’s campus.

The students are in Greco Middle’s STEM program. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

STEM students submitted design proposals for the garden, which will be the gardening group’s third plot in the city. It will be accessible to residents of northern Temple Terrace as well as Greco Middle students.

The students who submitted winning designs are: Paola Rioja, first place; Carley Gonzalez, second place; and Lilith Aya, third place.

Elizabeth Leib, president of Temple Terrace Community Gardens, said the garden plot at Greco, 6925 E Fowler Ave., will incorporate elements from each of the winning designs.

“We’re very pleased and grateful for their (the students) enthusiasm and we look forward to having a great garden for the community that also involves the students.”

Rioja, Gonzalez and Aya on Thursday will receive recognition for their efforts at the school’s parent’s night.

The gardening group plans to create the Greco Middle plot in March. Temple Terrace Community Gardens also has a small garden at Riverhills Elementary School and a larger plot in Riverhills Park.

People wishing to become involved in any of the group’s gardening activities are invited to attend a meeting at Café Kili, 5731 E Fowler Ave., at 2 p.m. Saturday.

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Morikami Museum and Gardens is a hidden gem

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Eerie creaking and odd groaning. I had never been to Asia and had never sat on a bench in a bamboo grove, as I was doing, watching leaves flutter and long green bamboo trunks clink and grind against each other, making weird noises in the wind. The sounds were haunting and alluring, oddly loud and surprising, especially since I was not in a sacred Japanese bamboo forest.

Rather, I was sitting on a sunny day this past January in a bamboo grove in south Florida — 7 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean between Delray and Boca Raton and 20 miles southwest of the Gilded Age mansions and designer boutiques of Palm Beach.

The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens is a quiet hidden gem set on 16 acres of a 200-acre property in what was once Florida pineapple country. Known to locals, the property is less well known to tourists who, if they decide to venture west from the beach for a day, are in for a most pleasant surprise.

Besides its beautifully manicured, historic, and serene Japanese gardens, with wooden bridges, benches, water features such as koi ponds and waterfalls, sculpture, rocks, tropical plants and trees, a bamboo grove, bonsai collection, and tea house, the Morikami has a good restaurant with Japanese foods including teriyaki, wakame salad, and sushi. The museum and grounds also include an extensive art gallery, tremendous programs ranging from tea ceremonies to origami workshops and lectures, a library with historical volumes on Japanese art and gardening, and a small but excellent gift shop with items imported from Asia ranging from silk jackets and bamboo purses to porcelain vases, wind chimes, and jewelry.

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Morikami Museum Japanese Gardens

Bamboo forms a triad of auspicious emblems with pine and plum, a common motif in Japanese art.

The connection between Japan and Palm Beach County goes back over 100 years to 1904, when the scion of a samarai family named Jo Sakai, a recent graduate of New York University, returned home from his studies in this country to his birthplace of Miyazu, Japan, a castle town on the
Sea of Japan. He was there to recruit a group of pioneers who agreed to help him realize his utopian vision of revolutionizing US agriculture.

With the help of the Model Land Co., a subsidiary of Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway, the idea became a reality and they named their community Yamato, the ancient name for Japan. Initially only men, Yamato eventually included wives brought from Japan and children. So in the early 20th century, inland Florida became an odd melting pot of Japanese settlers in traditional costume with utopian ideas about farming who maintained their language, religion, and cultural traditions living peacefully among a bunch of pineapple farmers.

Morikami Museum Japanese Gardens

James and Hazel Gates Woodruff Memorial Bridge marks the entrance to the Japanese gardens.

Like most utopian communities, however, Yamato eventually failed to live up to its founders’ expectations. By the 1920s, the community, which had never grown beyond about 35 individuals, succumbed to the reality of easy cash for land as speculators and developers threw around piles of cash before the Great Crash of 1929. Most members sold their farmland, gave up their dreams, and returned to Japan.

Only one settler remained, a brave soul named George Sukeiji Morikami, who arrived at Yamato when he was 19 and who continued to cultivate crops after everyone else had left. During World War II, he endured anti-Japanese prejudice; at the same time the US government was isolating and segregating Japanese-Americans, Morikami tolerated indignities like having to carry a letter addressed “To Whom It May Concern” and signed by a local government official, proclaiming that Morikami, “who resides on a farm four miles south of Delray Beach on the Federal Highway has permission to travel on Saturday, July 18, 1942 from Miami to his home.”

Morikami Museum Japanese Gardens

The Karesansui Late Rock Garden (Edo Period, 17th-18th centuries). Karesamsui means “dry landscape.” In this style of garden, rocks are arranged in a bed of raked gravel, while plants take a secondary role.

Besides farming, Morikami also worked as a fruit and vegetable wholesaler. He eventually became rich. In the mid-1970s, when he was in his 80s and shortly after finally receiving US citizenship, Morikami donated much of his land to Palm Beach County to be used as a park to preserve the legacy of the original Yamato settlers. Now the museum and gardens are a nonprofit public-private partnership in cooperation with the county park system.

Over 20 years after Morikami donated his land, and following construction of the Yamato-kan teahouse, viewing gallery, and gardens, the Morikami Museum in 1993 opened a second large museum building. It now houses the restaurant, library, a 225-seat theater, classrooms, a permanent collection of more than 7,000 Japanese art objects and artifacts, exhibition galleries, the museum store, and an outdoor cafe with a scenic view of the lake and gardens.

There are many interesting artifacts and photographs about the history of the Yamato settlement and Morikami himself on display in the Yamato-kan, the Morikami’s original building, a teahouse inspired by traditional Japanese architectural design. Outside this picturesque building is a huge collection of bonsai trees.

When I visited the museum, I had the impression I had stepped into ancient Japan. In the main museum there was an exhibit on Japanese dolls and Kabuki theater as well as rooms full of paintings and photographs.

Morikami Museum Japanese Gardens

James and Hazel Gates Woodruff Memorial Bridge marks the entrance to the Japanese gardens, was erected in memory of Mrs. Woodruff, a lover of Japanese gardens, by her husband, a US Naval commander and veteran of Pearl Harbor.

The Zen-like gardens, though, are what originally attracted me to the Morikami. Space, light and darkness, texture and color, sounds — of rushing water and rustling leaves — Japanese gardens are designed to be holistically sensual rather than merely visual.

Designer Hoichi Kurisu created the complex around a lake as six distinct gardens — each from a different period of Japanese history.

Shinden Garden is from the Heian Period, between the 9th and 12th centuries, when the Japanese nobility adapted Chinese garden design ideals that featured lakes and islands that emphasized informality and appreciation of nature. Paradise Garden comes from the 13th and 14th centuries when strolling gardens were introduced as an earthly representation of the Pure Land or Buddhist heaven. Early Rock Garden is inspired by the 14th century when Japanese gardens were inspired by Chinese landscape paintings in ink that depicted water cascading from distant peaks into a sea or lake.

The other three gardens are: the Karesansui Late Rock Garden, based on 15th- and 16th-century rock gardens; the Hiraniwa Flat Garden from the Edo Period of the 17th and 18th centuries, which evolved out of late rock gardens; and the Modern Romantic Garden from the Meiji Period of the late-19th and early-20th centuries, reflecting Western influences that had begun to permeate Japan.

Walking through the gardens shortly after the New Year, I left the bamboo grove, walked over a Japanese wooden bridge, and wished I could stay for a meditation retreat. Walking slowly, staring at swaying leaves, breathing deeply — it was a great way to start 2013.

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Mountaintop garden to be explained by noted designer

The New Canaan Nature Center is hosting Gordon Hayward, a garden designer, writer and lecturer, at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7, in a program called “Gardening on Granite: Making a New Hampshire Mountaintop Garden over Twenty Years.”

It is the tale of New Canaan residents Teddy and Peter Berg’s journey with Hayward and others in creating their own truly extraordinary landscape. The presentation will be followed by tea, sandwiches and cookies and a book signing.

Starting in 1986, Hayward and dry-stone waller Dan Snow collaborated with Theodora Berg on the development of a five-acre garden on Rice Mountain in southern New Hampshire, registered with the Smithsonian Institution since 2011.The central force driving the design of the garden was to evoke the passage of centuries of time, while acknowledging elements from Old and New England.

The one-hour lecture, which includes 80 pairs of images, traces the evolution of making a garden, including four trips to England looking for inspiration and artifacts.

Hayward wrote for Horticulture Magazine for 25 years and lectured on a nine-city tour across America. He was a contributing editor at Fine Gardening Magazine for six years and a contributing editor at the newly revamped Organic Gardening Magazine. He is the author of 11 books on garden design, two of which have won national awards. Hayward and his wife, Mary, have been developing a 1.5-acre garden around their 240-year-old farmhouse in southern Vermont for the past 29 year,s as well as a garden outside their cottage in the Cotswold Hills of England. They have led 16 tours for garden clubs to southern England.

The cost $10. For information or to register, visit or call 203-966-9577.

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