Momiji-en goes international / by William Cook

Tea house with pine shadows

During the first week of October this autumn we will be hosting a 22-member contingent from the Japanese Garden Society of the United Kingdom (JGSUK) for a day in Corvallis, including touring Momiji-en. For the first time as a group, our guests are traveling to the West coast of the United States to view gardens from Vancouver, B.C., all the way to Corvallis over an 8-day period. JGSUK members previously have toured the Midwest and East coast, sometimes to attend meetings of the North American Japanese Garden Association (NAJGA). We met their leaders at the 2014 NAJGA conference in Chicago and, there, suggested they come see what the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

To help make this happen, we have been encouraging and coordinating travel details with the group’s leaders for some time now. With friends and local Japanese garden enthusiasts Caroline Kerl and Bill Lunch, we’re eagerly looking forward to hosting our United Kingdom friends here in Corvallis.

Spotlight on water lilies

Beyond anticipating details of the day’s visit (tea, lunches, what to do if it rains, how to handle this number of guests), the upcoming visit has for us triggered a special focus on our own garden goals. Almost everything we have planned for garden fostering this summer is flavored by this event. It has prompted us to embrace various projects that we might have otherwise set aside for another year. It is keeping us busy working for the ultimate goal of presenting a garden that will “knock their socks off!”

Last light

Special event-focused summer projects include: new security fences, irrigation improvements, completing details of the tea house and its surrounds (tea house interior finishes, granite nobedan walkways, a chabana cutting garden), installation of Japanese roof tile edging in several places for ground textural separations, spreading of fresh gravels and mulches throughout the garden, staining and painting various items such as the Shrine and fence posts, building new bamboo fences, and even adding a few new special detail plantings to finish certain areas. Momiji-en will be ready and better than ever when our welcome visitors arrive.

This has been a good reminder that it is vital to set goals when you really want to get something done!