Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New Obsession: Japanese Gardens

A couple of years ago, I was fortunate to spend a weekend at the Grand Hyatt in Atlanta.

If you took the elevator to the 8th floor, you could stroll out into their beautiful Japanese Garden. I fell in love with this garden, and for the magical, transportive qualities of its Japanese aesthetic. I spent much of my free time here, marveling at the fact that just outside was one America's biggest, busiest cities. Here, everything was serene and tranquil. And it was all man-made.

Since then, I've read everything I can about Japanese Garden design, and visited perhaps the finest American Japanese Gardens, in Portand, Oregon.

One would expect a Portland garden to be spectacular; after all, its temperate rainforest climate gives all sorts of exotic flora a chance to thrive. It was indeed spectacular.

But almost equally spectacular was the Japanese Garden I recently visited in Ft. Worth. Yes, dry, sun-baked Ft. Worth, where little seems to grow without constant artificial watering.

These gardens were all the more impressive because I know how hard it is to grow things in a semi-arid climate. The native trees were seamlessly incorporated into the design, which was sprinkled with hardy plants that do well in the region, like the Nandina.

I can't wait to go back. If Portland's Japanese Gardens rate and "A," Ft. Worth's surely rate a solid "B."

Enjoy the pix.

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