(Link to the Flickr set if the blog page loads too slowly for you.)
I haven't been to the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park in about 25 years, even though it's right next to the Botanical Garden and I go there all the time.
In fact, I was at the Botanical Garden today for a this volunteer appreciation luncheon. I love this place and these people. As far as I'm concerned, I'm honored to volunteer here and I don't need to be feted. It was great to see everyone today and reconnect with some people I haven't seen in over a year.
We had delicious Asian cuisine and of course lots of wine. Seating places were set with plants in 4" pots that attendees could take home. I got a rooted cutting of Luma apiculata!
This is one of my favorite small trees. I included a picture of L. apiculata in a post from last July.
Warmed by good food (and wine), I was ready to visit the Japanese Tea Garden on this cold, cloudy fall day.
The structures loom over the garden fence from a ways away.
The garden dates from 1893 when it was built as part of a Japanese village exhibit for the Midwinter International Exposition of 1894. A brochure I bought at the gift shop details the history of the garden which becomes especially interesting during WWII when the descendants of the builder, Makoto Hagiwara, were evicted from their residence in the garden. You can read the brochure here if you're interested.
According to many sources, this is the oldest public Japanese garden in the United States--which begs the question, where is the oldest private Japanese garden in the United States?