The Japanese Garden at Dawes *
© Becky Linhardt 2012
Dawes Arboretum near Newark, Ohio has a wealth of arboreal splendor that can be viewed on its 4 mile auto tour or accessed on the 8 miles of walking trails that wind through the almost 2000-acre property. Founded in 1929, the gently rolling hills of the arboretum include 15,000 different plants, landscaped into many dedicated bio-areas such as the Conifer Valley, an All Seasons Garden, the colorful Azalea Glen, a Cypress Swamp – and my favorite the contemplative Japanese Garden.
The arboretum has always had a large collection of Bonsai. In 1963 Dr. Makoto Nakamura, a lecturer in Landscape Architecture at the University of Kyoto, was invited to create a Japanese Garden on the property. The challenge for him was the size. Most Japanese gardens are small and hint at a larger landscape. Dr. Nakamura had plenty of space and worked to develop a design that had the feeling of intimacy and tranquility found within the best Japanese gardens.
To rest the eyes and calm the mind, much of the color palette is green, subtle shadings and varied textures of trees, grass, understory plants, and reflections of those forms on the waters of the pond and lagoon.. There is also a raked sand and boulder section below the pond sightlines. Mother Nature has made some changes over the years but adjustments have always followed the intent of the original plan.
Seasonally there are accents of color – bright floral growth in spring and the multi-hued change of colors in the autumn. Large, flat boulders set to separate the lagoon and pond visually can be used as stepping stones to cross the shallow water feature if you choose.
A walking path rings the pond and lagoon so that you can enjoy the garden from all angles and directions as the sunlight changes patterns of light and shadow throughout the day. There are small islands and two arched bridges to create visual interest and a Japanese style shelter offers seating to sit and peacefully contemplate the beauty of nature at the moment.
Wildlife finds a home at Dawes Arboretum – geese on the water or maybe a chipmunk scurrying across the path ahead of you. Birdwatchers enjoy watching for migratory visitors in the Dutch Fork Wetlands and numerous children explore nature at the Discovery Centerand through programs available at the Visitor Center. The Bonsai Collection is displayed at the Visitors Center. There the staff can answer questions and give you information about self-tours throughout the arboretum and the guided tours available at the Dawes House Museum and the Daweswood House Gardens also on the property.
Watch for more information about other features at Dawes Arboretum in separate postings.
* DESIGN INSPIRATION
The simplicity of design within this garden can inspire simplicity within the home. Colors are natural and tone on tone so that the eye is not jumping from color to color, it relaxes, and so do visitors to this garden. A punch of color in the spring, seasonal changes, work like added decorative accents – not much, nothing to shake things up, just enough change to keep simplicity from being BORING.
Dawes Arboretum: 7770 Jacksontown Road, Newark, OH 43056
800-443-2937 or www.dawesarb.org
www.escapetolickingcounty.com or 800-589-8224