The Island Garden, our Japanese-style garden located at the west side of Wellfield Botanic Gardens, will open late this year.
A little background refresher about our Island Garden: A generous gift from Don and Jurate Krabill, initial construction started in 2014 with work to reshape the surrounding ponds creating an ‘island’ arising where no island had previously been. The island’s highest point is 13-feet above the surrounding water. Sadafumi ‘Sada’ Uchiyama, the Garden Curator of the Portland Japanese Garden and world-renowned Japanese Garden Designer, is guiding aspects of the construction, including the Island Garden master plan design, which he completed in July of 2016.
Japanese Gardens are built around asymmetrical balance, irregularity, rustic elegance, harmony and simplicity with simple compositions of stone, water and plants. Stones are the core and framework of a Japanese Garden. Plants are chosen more for texture and form than color; colorful perennials are used sparingly. The eastern slope of the Garden is being planted in a more naturalized style to fit the context of the surrounding gardens. The western side of the garden is being planted and maintained in more traditional Japanese style.
The central feature in the Island Garden is a one of a kind wooden pavilion named Yu Sui Te 遊水亭”, which translated from Japanese means “pavilion befriended by waters.” It was constructed by the Eggink Construction Company and Gowdy Woodworks. The floor of the pavilion is made of granite slabs the size of traditional Tatami mats, measuring 35.5” by 71”. The ten ‘mats’ are laid in an auspicious pattern designed to bring good luck. The Garden will also feature a woodland mountain stream and waterfall, pebble beaches, iris-filled wetlands, and open shrubland.
Honoring the long tradition of Japanese-inspired gardens built around the world takes time…to get it right. If you have been to the gardens this spring, you have undoubtedly seen steady progress being made: water features and electrical infrastructure being laid, boulders being set and large trees being planted. Here is a small photo update of further work accomplished this week including: cement poured for a future stone veneer wall, stone footers laid for a viewing pavilion near the arched bridge, railing being installed on the stone entry bridge, and stone steps/boulders being installed on the northeast corner of the Yu Sui Te patio area. Enjoy!
Josh Steffen, Horticulture and Facilities Manager