Running now through November 13th at the Botanical Conservatory is the Japanese Tea Garden Exhibit. If simplicity can be a luxury, then this installation fits the bill perfectly.
Immediately upon approaching the garden you notice the clean, simple, rustic quality of the scene. Enter through the forest path, past the bamboo fencing, and walk along the pine mulched pathway. You’ll travel by the delicate leaves of a Dawn Redwood tree, and pass a stout stone pagoda-style lantern. You then cross the inner gate and walk across the flat stones of the walking path. The stones of the path are placed close to one another so you’re encouraged to slow your pace to the tea house. This slowing of the gait is meant to purify one’s mind and draw attention to the details of the surrounding nature. While on the path, you’ll notice a bright red paper patio umbrella which adds contrast to a nearly monochromatic scene.
The whole environment inspires your senses to kick in. The scent of the pine needle mulch mixing with the smell of wood mulch, bronze chimes sounding faintly from the outer garden. And at the end of the trail is the tea house, where you view the elements of the tea ceremony; rice mats (tatami) for sitting, brazier for heating the water, and delicate porcelain bowls. Viewing the tea ceremony pieces brings me the memory of green tea scent and its slightly bitter taste, and the sensations of deliberate movements.
As I sat on the wooden bench in the outer garden, I wondered how I might transform part of my yard into a Japanese tea garden. And while that may not happen soon, I would visit again just to take in the peaceful scene.
If you go…
Sunday 12 noon to 4 pm