Takata Japanese Garden
To demonstrate the Japanese style of gardening for for this part of the world.
One of several HCP gardens set within a second-growth Douglas-fir forest, these woodland gardens display a range of light exposures from full sun through glade to full shade. The ponds and stream are on the site of a naturally occurring, seasonal stream.
The native silty marine clay (Saanichton) is suitable for some of the moisture-loving plants olong the stream bed, but is amended with organic matter, and sometimes sand, for most individual plantings. the entire 1,400 square metre (0.33 acre) garden is irrigated and requires moderate to heavy watering.
This westernized version of a Japanese “stroll garden” is designed to create an atmosphere of peace and tranquility through the careful placing of structures, rocks, and plantings.
Moving and still water and the extensive use of arranged and constructed objects add dimensions not found in the other HCP gardens. The Vincent Pond at the top is lined with blue clay and the connecting stream and lower pond are lined with butyl pond liner.
A pump is used to recirculate water to the upper pond. The stream, called Quayle Creek, can be crossed and recrossed using the 10 metre arched ‘Moon’ bridge, the zigzag bridge (designed to twart evil spirits, who can only travel in straight lines, or the stepping stones).
Other constructed objects include an authentic 12×12 ceremonial Teahouse and covered waiting benches overlooking the ponds, various types of edging for the paths and water edges, and diverse fencing and screening materials.
This garden consists over 100 varieties of introduced plants located in a native woodland setting. In additon to the native Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziessi) and grand fir (Abies grandis), native plants include common snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus), sword fern (Polystichum munitum), Cascade Oregon grape (Mahonia nervosa), and vine maple (Acer circinatum).
Traditional trees and shrubs include several varieties of Japanese maple (Acer palmatum), Japanese yew (Taxus cuspidata), pieris (Pieris japonica), Japanese red pine (Pinus densiflora), umbrella pine (Sciadopitys verticillata), and ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba).
Several members of the genus Rhododendron, and different species and varieties of the genera Camellia, Astilbe, and Hydrangea supply spring color. Fall color is produced by deciduous trees and shrubs already mentioned, the Katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum), and varieties of the genera Spirea, Parrotia, and Hosta. Plants along the stream and pond borders include Japanese iris (Iris japonica), marsh marigold (Caltha palustria), varieties of the genera Primula and Dierama, and numerous ferns.
This is not a garden for someone who wants to spend weekends on the boat. In addition to the plants, this garden requires maintenance of the water circulation equipment, the constructed objects, and the ponds. The garden is maintained on a twice-a-week schedule by a small group of dedicated volunteers.
This garden came about after an unsuccessful attempt by the Takata Japanese Garden Society (1986 – 1994) to recreate a garden on the site of the historical Japanese Garden in Esquimalt’s Gorge Park (1907 – 1942). The funds raised by the Society for the original project were transferred to the HCP and construction of the Takata Garden began in 1995.
The final phase of major construction was the Zen Garden overlooking the water, which was completed in 2003. Donations — funds, plantings, and many volunteer hours — have facilitated the ongoing construction of the garden.
The garden is developed and maintained in accordance with an agreement between the HCP and Takata Garden Partnership Group.