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The Willow Pond Japanese Gardens have been constructed and cultivated since 1985, with most trees reaching a semi-matured stage. It’s an authentic Japanese garden designed by local landscaper Eiji Morozumi and constructed by the family of Norma and Ramon Lawrence.
The Zen Garden – Located to the left-hand side of Ramon’s, the Zen Garden at Willow Pond is based on the famous garden at the Ryoanji Shrine in Kyoto, Japan. Constructed from a karesansui 枯山水 style, this garden consists of rocks arranged on a bed of white pebbles in five groups of different sizes. 15 rocks are arranged in such a way that only 14 are directly visible at any time from any angle. It is said that only those who achieve enlightenment through years of Zen meditation can actually see the final concealed stone. The pebbles in these gardens have been raked to achieve circular and straight patterns. All this was done in keeping with the design principle of wabi–sabi, which allows the viewer’s mind to “fill in the blanks” through simplicity.
In 1994, Ramon Lawrence designed and constructed a second Zen Garden at the rear of the lake in dedication to the Tsukimino Kenyu Kai, a Japanese Kendo Association that visited our neighbor Budokan Academy that same year. Other sites in the garden have been dedicated to other martial arts teachers who helped develop the practice of martial arts at the Academy and across the nation.
Garden Weddings – The gardens provide a beautiful backdrop for photo sessions and for the actual ceremony.