Monday, March 2, 2009

Nitobe Memorial Garden, Vancouver, B.C. Part 2

Font sizeNitobe Memorial Garden
Photo: UBC Botanical Garden

The highly regarded landscape architect Professor Kannosuke Mori of Japan designed and supervised the building of Nitobe Memorial Garden.

In the spring the garden is aglow with the blossoms of flowering cherry trees brought from Japan to be installed in this serene Vancouver setting.  A tranquil spell is cast as you walk the garden's impeccably groomed paths, with native trees and shrubs growing among thriving azaleas, Japanese irises, and a gathering of  maples especially imported from Japan.

Oveall, the style of Nitobe Memorial Garden is informal. The Strolling Garden beckons visitors across the portal of its ceremonial gateway. Placed along the walkways are perfectly situated benches, and six distinctive bridges made of wood and stone, aimed at directing wanderers to admire the garden's fertile landscape and aesthetically pleasing views.

The garden's waterfalls, with their pacifying sounds, encourage contemplation. Suggesting nature's perfection is an essential part of the artistry of a Japanese garden; represented here in the elements of an artificial "mountain," an island and  lake.  A subtle beauty, of stone lanterns, ornaments the scenery and accentuates the plantings. Myriad shades of foliage, from deep jade to bright chartreuse, set off the garden's monochromatic plantings, which come alive with infusions of color from cherry blossoms, and azaleas in a pleasing palette of many hues. Blue irises lend cool accents to the garden in summer, and sumptuous scarlets and the tawny color of tangerines appear as the maples turn color in fall.

In Japanese culture, tea ceremony and garden art are closely linked. At Nitobe Memorial Garden, an exquisite Teahouse Rock Garden features paths of crushed rock surrounding a characteristic teahouse fabricated of Hinoki cypress. The tea ceremony still takes place, at times, in this lovely building.

Nitobe Memorial Garden is located 3 kilometers north of the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden on Northwest Marine Drive. You'll find a map of the UBC campus at 
that can be downloaded from the web site.


  1. Alice:
    A wonderful post on a gorgeous garden right here in Canada.... definitely added to my must see list. I love the tranquility of the Japanese inspired gardens, a true place to sit and contemplate the complexities of Nature.

  2. Looks so peaceful. I would love to walk there.

  3. That is one of Hermes favorite designs. You made it look and sound so grand. I can see that I need to come back and spend a day at your blog. Lots here I want to explore. I learn a great deal more when I can absorb what I'm reading. You have lots of tasty things to absorb.

    I see too that you have many of my friends on your blogroll. I consider it an honor that you stopped by my blog.

  4. Wonderful report on what looks to be a fabulous garden. I've been to the Japanese garden at Montreal Botanical Gardens, but that's as far west as I've explored other than Toronto (boring) and Royal Bot. Garden (fabulous but lacking a Japanese garden as far as I can remember. )

  5. What a well thought out garden. Directing people to certain vistas and providing benches for contemplation seems a perfect way to design a garden. That needs to be internalized into the design in my own garden. Now just to figure out how. :-)

  6. The Japanese have a way of making their gardens so peaceful, I think it's got to be the simplicity of the planting which makes it so calming.

  7. I love your new banner. Clematis seed heads are a work of art. You have the best job, visiting the loveliest places on earth.