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Submitted by Thomas Craveiro, Trustee, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden: This tea garden is designed to fully integrate the teahouse with the surrounding natural environment and provide an appropriate setting for Chado. The layout includes traditional elements such as an entrance gate, inner and outer gardens separated by a stone bridge, and a stone basin holding water (tsukubai つくばい). Stepping Stones (tobi-ishi 飛石) of local granite have been placed according to Chado principles by Masami Ichikawa. The ShinKanAn garden is one of the very few, if not only, to use exclusively native Californian plants in the presentation of a Japanese style tea garden. Where black pine might have been chosen, we have used manzanita (Arctostaphylos) in various forms. California strawberry (Fragaria) has been used as an evergreen groundcover. Western yew (Taxus brevifolia) was installed as a foundational shrub. Other commonly occurring native plants have been used to evoke a calm, serene canyon, lined by oak and cedar. The garden encompasses approximately 8,000 square feet and is anchored at the southwestern end by a large boulder, that shelters the tea house.
History of garden:
This tea garden was created in 2000 to accommodate the arrival of the ShinKanAn Teahouse, donated by the John H. Esbenshade family to the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. The Botanic Garden, established in 1926, showcases California’s rich native flora in a variety of landscapes. Using Japanese tea garden design principles and California native plants, this tea garden is unique.