29 January 2009

Japanese Garden Zen at the Fort Worth Texas Botanic Garden

Just a few hours south of Muskogee, there is a wonderful haven for garden lovers. Last weekend when it was 26-degrees and cloudy in Muskogee, it was 75-degrees and sunny at the Ft. Worth Botanic Garden (www.fwbg.org/).
the weather station on our roof
The Botanic Garden itself looked like most winter landscapes but the seven-acre Japanese Garden (www.fwbg.org/japanese.htm) maintains its distinct beauty in the winter.

The entire botanic garden is 109-acres with 23 gardens that are home to 2,500 species of native and exotic plants.

The Japanese Garden was the inspiration of the parks and recreation director and the botanic garden director in 1968 and it was built on a site that was originally a bluff that opened onto the Trinity River floodplain. It served as a watering hole for cattle, a trash dump and a gravel pit.

Clubs, businesses and individual donors contributed plants, materials and art objects to make the garden a reality.

The garden has three entrances, representing heaven, man and earth. Inside the garden visitors can wander along tea garden paths and relax in a tranquil setting. The interconnected paths, bridges, decks and pavilions surround several ponds with large Koi, or Imperial Carp, that visitors can feed.

Although the gardens were built in the tradition of stroll gardens of the Edo-period other features were added. There are 5,900 feet of walkways and exposed brick and asphalt; gardeners used 71,000 plants in the original construction.

Nagaoka Japan, one of Fort Worth’s sister cities, donated a portable festival Shinto shrine, a Mikoshi. Other unique features include an Indochinese Buddha, and the stone monkeys (Mizaru, Kikazaru, and Iwazaru).

The Suzuki Garden, designed by its namesake, Shigeichi Suzuki has stone structures softened by evergreens. It was completed in 2000.

The Meditation Garden was designed as a replica of the Ryoanji Temple Garden of the Abbot's Quarters in Kyoto Japan. The Karesansui or dry landscape garden is made of 15-rocks placed in sand that is raked to resemble flowing water. It is surrounded by an enclosed, viewing veranda.

A Japanese Teahouse extends over one of the pools.

The Moon Viewing Deck is an adaptation of the one at the Silver Pavilion Garden at Kyoto Ginkakuji temple. A Taijitu yin-yang symbol is embossed in exposed concrete at the top. The amphitheater is the location of the fall and spring Japanese festivals and the site of many weddings.

The Botanic Garden itself offers free admission where visitors can walk through these gardens: Rose, trial, butterfly, Fuller Perennial, fragrance, water conservation, etc. Throughout the park there are entertaining and educational features for children and adults.

The Texas Native Forest Boardwalk provides a walking education in forest ecology. The botanical Conservatory is a 10,000 square foot indoor tropical garden – a perfect place to visit on a winter day. Flowers in the conservatory include: Orchids, bromeliads, birds-of-paradise and tropical trees. Admission costs under a dollar.

One-half acre of the park is a community garden where elementary school students grow vegetables, herbs and berries. The produce is donated to feed the hungry.

Disaboom.com, a website community for the disabled, considers the Fort Worth Botanic Garden one of the most accessible gardens in the U.S.

Ft. Worth Botanic Garden is at 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd, Ft. Worth, TX 76107, 817.871.7686. Admission to the Japanese Garden is Adults $4.00, seniors $3.00, Children $2.00, under 4 free.

5 comments:

Sharon said...

Hi: I loved taking a trip to warm weather in your article about the Japanese garden. I also enjoyed your posts about winter gardening frustration. I've got it bad. Only 2 months before the ground becomes visible. Check out my blog...scroll down for a pix of the snow on the corner of my block. http://www.moxiegardener.com

If I close my eyes, I can see your broccoli seedlings...too early for me to start any. Soon I'll be able to start some, but not soon enough.

Martha said...

Wow, Sharon. I visited your moxie gardener blog and found out that Johnny's has 24 pages of Asian greens.
I'll have to curl up with that catalog this afternoon. In the past I've had some germination problems with Johnny's but so many other gardeners swear by their seeds that I'll have to give them another try.

Thanks for dropping by.

Sally said...

That's great that you have such a treasure just a few hours away. Our gardens here in Boston are under ice as well, so a little virtual traveling has brightened my day.

Sharon said...

Just a clarification---Johnny's has 24 pages of all types of greens, including Asian. (In the interest of truth in advertising.)
But we gardeners love to look at the seed catalogs, whatever the numbers.

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