Friday, December 23, 2011

Japanese Garden, Los Angeles

The exquisite flower pictured above I found growing near our home last week. I was surprised to see that it was the flower of a cactus plant. Speaking of flowers, I recently read that the poinsettia plant was brought to the states from Mexico by Joel Poinsett, the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico. He found it growing as a weed on Mexican roadsides. It later became a favorite Christmas decoration and eventually was named after him. The shrubs blooming at this time of the year in the Japanese Garden are azalea, rhododendron, and  camellia.
 The Japanese Garden is located about five miles from where we are parked here in the San Frenando  Valley. Strangely enough, it is on the grounds of the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant. All of the water used in the garden is from  reclaimed waste water. Part of the water plant is pictured below.
Dr. Koichi Kawana was the garden's creator. In his lifetime he designed more than a dozen major Japanese gardens in the United States, including the one in St. Louis which is the largest of all of the gardens. In designing Suiho-en (the Japanese name for the garden) Dr. Kawana balanced the positive and negative forces,Yin and Yang, with a blend of traditional Japanese garden design and modern Western architecture. He was an architect as well as an artist and designed the contemporary water plant administration building located in the garden. His visionary goal was to teach visitors to the garden about the need for water recycling and reuse. We enjoyed walking around the lakes in the garden. Large groups of coots were busy feeding on the grass at the water's edge, and a lone white egret waded in one of the lakes searching for small fish to eat.  The tea house of the garden can be seen in the background of the picture below.

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