Delicate pink surveyor’s flags echo the magenta of the early cherry blossoms in Hermann Park’s Japanese Garden, where maintenance, new features, and a new gate are under construction. Sections of the 5.5-acre space are currently sectioned off by orange construction fencing, and many of the larger water features (including the one pictured in the top photo) are temporarily in rock garden mode.
The Hermann Park Conservancy’s website estimates wrapping up the first phase of the renovation project this summer. Currently, the koi that inhabit some of the garden’s ponds are set up in temporary housing along the eastern edge of the park:
An entrance gate is planned for to the northwestern side of the garden, facing Fannin St.; a sidewalk under construction on that side crosses the tracks of the Hermann Park train:
Earthwork is also occurring along much of the Fannin side, just beyond the previous footprint of the garden gate. The wrought-iron fence has been pulled on this side, and temporary construction fencing encloses the rest of the workspace:
Planned renovations include the addition of an events lawn, as well as a dry streambed garden section:
The existing entrance to the garden, near the southeast corner along the Hermann Park reflection pool, is marked by several boulders, one of which is sandblasted with calligraphy in the handwriting of Japanese Former Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu (also the donor of the teahouse in the garden, after his 1990 visit to Houston for the G7 Summit):
A stone lantern, gifted to the City of Houston by its sister city Chiba, Japan, also sits by the entrance:
The garden, opened in 1992, was a project of Japan’s Commemorative Association of the Japan World Exposition, which finances projects using funds seeded by the revenue of the 1970 World Expo. The space was designed by Japanese landscape architect Ken Nakajima. Following Nakajima’s death in 2000, the careful pruning and maintenance that characterizes Japanese gardens slipped; since 2006, a team of Japanese landscapers has been brought in annually to maintain the site and help train others to do so.
- Japanese Garden [Hermann Park Conservancy]
- Hermann Park’s Japanese Garden serves as city oasis [Houston Chronicle]
- Takeshi “Ken” Nakajima [The Cultural Landscape Foundation]
- Japanese Garden in Hermann Park [JGarden.org]
Photos: Swamplot inbox