• Four Chicago-Area Gardens Take Center Stage at 2014 Conference of the North American Japanese Garden Association

Four Chicago-Area Gardens Take Center Stage at 2014 Conference of the North American Japanese Garden Association

Tuesday, September 09, 2014 9:37 AM | NAJGA Communications (Administrator)

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS (Sept. 9, 2014) -- All roads lead to Chicago and its Japanese gardens for more than two hundred professionals and enthusiasts from the US, Canada and around the world who are attending the 2014 North American Japanese Garden Association's (NAJGA) biennial conference happening October 16 to 18.  NAJGA, a non-profit organization, promotes the horticulture, business culture and human culture of Japanese gardens across North America.


The three-day conference, taking place at the Chicago Botanic Garden, features workshops and lectures on Japanese garden design and maintenance, horticulture, garden history, business practices, education and cultural programming, and health and wellness.  Top Japanese garden experts and scholars from North America, as well as from Japan and the United Kingdom, will be in town to lead the sessions. 

Visit these links for more details: 

NAJGA Conference Home

Design and Horticulture

Health and Wellness

Garden History

Business in the Garden

Education and Cultural Programming

Presenters and Workshop Instructors

Conference Registration

On October 15th,  a special pre-conference, full-day workshop at the Garden of the Phoenix  (formerly Osaka Garden) in Jackson Park, Chicago, will serve as a living laboratory for skills development on moss gardening, aesthetic tree pruning and small stone work for pathways. Registration for the workshop is open to the public with some limits on capacity.  Participants will have the rare opportunity to work in this historic garden originally designed to showcase Japanese culture during the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. (Photo on the right: www.gardenofthephoenix.org)

Also on Wednesday,October 15th, many conference attendees will have the opportunity to visit the Anderson Japanese Gardens and the Rosecrance Japanese Garden in Rockford, Illinois, with the gardens' designer himself, Hoichi Kurisu. (Photo on the right: Anderson Japanese Gardens)

Twice-honored by the White House for his landscape designs, Kurisu will deliver the keynote address at opening ceremonies on Thursday, October 16th. His remarks will align with the NAJGA Conference theme "New Pathways: The Role of the Japanese Garden for Society and Self" in emphasizing the evolving role of Japanese gardens in modern society, in areas such as medical therapy, holistic wellness and even in healing the natural environment. Three other Kurisu-designed gardens in Oregon and Florida that successfully play up the medical and environmental potential of Japanese gardens will also be presented during the conference. 

Chicago Botanic Garden's very own Sansho-en, the Elizabeth Hubert Mallott Japanese Garden, will be the focus of an October 16th workshop ("Improvements in the Evolution of a Maturing Garden: Observing Sansho-en With New Eyes") that emphasize the importance of maintenance in the art of the Japanese garden. 

The workshop team is led by garden designer Sadafumi Uchiyama, curator for the Portland Japanese Garden. He will discuss real issues and potential problems for a maturing Japanese garden.  Uchiyama, who hails from a multi-generational gardening family in Kyushu, Japan, also has strong roots in Illinois, earning his Bachelor and Master degrees in Landscape Architecture from the University of Illinois. 

Continuing Education for Chicago-area Landscape Designers

Landscape designers in the Chicago area and elsewhere in USA and Canada who are members of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) can earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from selected sessions to comply with their professional certification requirements. 

Aside from the above-mentioned workshops at the Garden of the Phoenix and Sansho-en, CEUs are also available for two other sessions: an October 18th design workshop ("The Creative Process: How To Find the Big Idea and Create Gardens With Impact") to be conducted by Dr. David Slawson, author of "Secret Teachings in the Art of Japanese Gardens,"  and the October 18th keynote lecture ("The Spirit of the Kyoto Garden Craftsman: Fostering Scenery, Connecting Time and Space") by Dr. Tomoki Kato, the eighth-generation head of one of the oldest and most successful garden design and maintenance companies in Kyoto, Japan. 

Other design and horticulture-related topics in the conference include updating traditional lighting in the Japanese garden, Sukiya-style architecture, shoji screen design and repair, specimen tree selection and maintenance, and koi husbandry. 

NAJGA's affiliation with Japanese gardening organizations in Japan and the United Kingdom is also making a wealth of knowledge about Japanese garden history available to conference attendees. Dr. Takahiro Naka, the world's leading scholar on Byodo-in, a UNESCO World Heritage Site near Kyoto, will speak on recent archaeological and restoration efforts for this ancient cultural treasure that has a historical connection to Chicago's Garden of the Phoenix. The original garden, built in 1893, actually included a miniature replica (the Ho-o-den or Phoenix Hall) of the Byodo-in Temple. 

Click HERE to register for the conference or inquire at info@najga.org, tel (503) 222 1194. On-site and one-day registrations are also available.