The fine art of Japanese Gardening has spread worldwide, with many incredible examples found outside Japan. Here in Oklahoma, we can view Japanese inspired garden in several locations. In Grove we find the delightful Lendonwood gardens replete with Japanese maples, rhododendrons, azaleas and tree peonies. Stillwater is sister city to Kameoka, Japan and houses two gardens built by members of a Kameoka garden Club: the lovely gardens outside the Community Center and the tea garden at The Botanic Garden at Oklahoma State University. The later also houses a garden incorporating several distinctive styles of Japanese gardens, blending an Edo-period strolling garden with a karesansui or dry landscape garden.
Nearby Fort Worth Botanical Garden houses a delightful Japanese garden sunken into the hillside. Winding paths and beautiful vistas await travelers. Also nearby, Garvan Woodland Garden in Hot Springs, Arkansas includes a variety of garden spaces of Asian influence. A bit farther, but worth the drive, is the incredible Seiwa-en Garden at Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. Among the largest Japanese gardens in the US, Seiwa-en is a pond and island style garden that incorporates a traditional style tea house, bridges and tori or lanterns.
One of my favorite Japanese gardens in the US is Portland Japanese Garden in Oregon. The 5.5 acre garden is composed of five distinct areas and styles: karesansui or dry landscape, tea garden, strolling garden, nature garden and Zen garden. Set in the verdant hillsides of Portland, the spaces evoke peace and tranquility. Oregon’s mild climate supports rich plant material lush any time of year. Be sure to add this to your list of must-see gardens.