Shofuso Japanese Garden gets a traditional style makeover

A woman looks at the koi at the newly installed boat landing at the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden in Fairmount Park. Credit: Facebook
A woman looks at the koi at the newly installed boat landing at the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden in Fairmount Park. Credit: Facebook

The Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, a 17th century traditional Japanese house and garden snuggled in Fairmount Park, was in serious need of a makeover. The greens were overgrown, the pond was dirty and it didn’t look like how original landscape designer Tansai Sano envisioned five decades ago.

Thursday morning, Shofuso officials will unveil the work they’ve been doing since last year to the gardens in a special rededication ceremony.

“It turned out better than I imagined,” said Kim Andrews, executive director for the Friends of the Japanese House and Garden.

The garden had been installed in 1957 with the traditional Japanese building going up a year later. When Andrews started as executive director four years ago, she knew she wanted to raise money to repair the garden.

“A garden is a living thing,” she said. “You can’t wipe it out and start over.”

Andres said Sano’s original design principles were recaptured when planning the garden’s makeover. An example of that is representing Japan’s geography. The pond is the ocean, the rock islands are Japan’s islands and trees represent the country’s forests.

Andrews next project for the garden is to apply the principle of a borrowed view — something in all traditional Japanese gardens. Their borrowed view will be of the bronze dome of Memorial Hall. Right now, trees block it. They will be removed.

Andrews’ favorite aspect of the garden is the boat landing.

“A common practice for a wealthy estate owner is to launch a boat and ride around reciting haikus, enjoying the moon, signing songs, playing instruments—very typical of a 17th century garden,” she said. “Sano had installed a boat landing but he had planned a path that was never implemented. We raised the landing up and carved a new path, which is so powerful and exciting because it puts you right at the pond.”

Thirty koi feed right at your feet.

Most of the construction was done last fall and finished up this spring. Andrews had helped to raise $75,000 for the repairs, funded by the McLean Contributionship, the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission and the William Penn Foundation.

The rededication ceremony is scheduled for 11 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 15.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

US military tried, but failed to rescue journalist…

The U.S. military earlier this year tried to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages held in Syria ,but failed to find the captives.

National

Fate of captured beluga whales in hands of…

A Georgia aquarium went to court on Wednesday seeking federal permission to bring 18 captured beluga whales to the United States from Russia.

Local

After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.

Local

'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

And then there were six. It was a big night on stage as the Top 6 got to dance with each other, All-star partners and perform a solo routine.

Television

'Doctor Who' personality profile: the 4 Doctors

When the time comes for a new Doctor, there's always some anxiety over the big question: Who will he be? The series owes its longevity…

Television

Billy Crystal to commemorate late actor Robin Williams…

  Comedian Billy Crystal will pay tribute to late actor Robin Williams at television's Primetime Emmy Awards on Aug. 25, the show's organizers said on…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

GAMES Hudson Common Open Aug. 21, 7 p.m. Hudson Common 356 W. 58 St. Free, www.hudsoncommonnyc.com The U.S. Open begins on Monday, but most of…

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

NFL

Jalen Saunders still unsure what caused car accident…

Jets rookie wide receiver Jalen Saunders spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since his car accident, but he didn't say a whole lot.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Wellbeing

Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…

Wellbeing

Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…