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Waza to Kokoro – Hands and Heart: The Use of Stone in the Japanese Tea Garden

Later this summer, the International Japanese Garden Training Center will be presenting its seminar “Waza to Kokoro – Hands and Heart: The Use of Stone in the Japanese Tea Garden.”

Photo by Jonathan Ley

This 12-day seminar focuses on stonework taught in the traditional hands-on method offered in the context of the culture of the way of tea – an immersive learning experience of not just the techniques but the cultural heart of the Japanese garden. Owing to cancellations, the seminar still has two open places. Public garden professionals, landscape professionals and students of landscape disciplines are encouraged to apply, and scholarships are still available.

Ayse Pogue, Chicago Botanical Garden / Photo by Jonathan Ley

“My personal goals were exceeded as the seminar immersed us in the Japanese culture and explained the reasons behind many techniques and ideas used in Japanese gardens.”
– Ayse Pogue, senior horticulturalist, Elizabeth Hubert Malott Japanese Garden, Chicago Botanical Garden

The seminar features visiting instructors from Japan as well as Portland Japanese Garden staff. It promises an immersive learning experience, with both hands-on and theoretical content that includes:

  • Opening reception and public lecture with guest speaker Marc P. Keane
  • History module
  • Design module
  • Garden clinic
  • Practice with traditional Japanese tools
  • Preparatory lectures for hands-on workshop
  • Instruction in tea ceremony
  • Food culture lectures
  • Hands-on workshop for designing, selecting materials for and constructing the nobedanand tsukubai elements of a tea garden
  • Pruning master class
Photo by Jonathan Ley

Last year’s pilot seminar was highly acclaimed by the 11 experienced gardeners from Japanese gardens across North America and the U.K. who took part. Here are their testimonials:

“One of the things I appreciated the most was the incorporation of other elements to contextualize the garden. It’s one thing to do very technical discussions of gardening techniques but to incorporate the cultural context for those techniques really helps to put it into the right place.”
– Peter Putnicki, senior gardener, Seattle Japanese Garden

Tim Gruner, Anderson Japanese Gardens / Photo by Jonathan Ley

“One of the things Mitsuhashi-sensei told me was that you can never build a garden better than you are.  For us to really get it and really be able to create spaces that express the best kokoro, we need to learn more. He mentioned chanoyu and ikebana specifically. They’re not periphery, they’re integrated into the tea garden.”
– Tim Gruner, curator and head horticulturalist, Anderson Japanese Gardens, Rockford, Illinois

Photo by Rod Stevens

“I appreciated the level of experience that each of the individuals have, and how everyone came to work as a unit not just in their individual groups but as a whole.”
– Ben Chu, Missouri Botanical Garden, 30 years of experience in Japanese gardens

“Before this seminar I didn’t quite understand the appeal and significance of the tea ceremony.  I finally understand the grace and peacefulness that comes from participating and observing tea. For weeks after the seminar I felt like I had a missing calmness in the morning from not having daily tea ceremonies.”
-Cody Fong, certified arborist, Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada

To learn more and to apply, please click here.