GLENCOE, Ill. (March 13,2012) — To honor the 100th anniversary of Japan's gift of cherry trees to the United States, the Japanese government is gifting trees to public and private organizations throughout the United States. The Chicago Botanic Garden will receive 20 trees.
Chicago's Consul General of Japan, Mr. Yoshifumi Okamura and Sophia Shaw, president and CEO of the Chicago Botanic Garden, will plant the first cherry tree on Sunday, March 25, at 1:30 p.m. The tree planting will be a highlight of the Garden's annual Japanese Garden Spring Weekend event.
"We are honored to have been selected as one of the recipients of the commemorative cherry trees," said Sophia Shaw, president and CEO of the Chicago Botanic Garden, "and we cherish our special relationship with the Chicago Japanese Consulate."
The Elizabeth Hubert Malott Japanese Garden is known as Sansho-En, or the "Garden of Three Islands," and brings nature's tranquility to visitors. With its carefully styled plants and judiciously placed stones, the garden is a tribute to the beauty of pure form. This garden is a year-round favorite, especially in winter, when the shadows of trees and boulders on the snow create another dimension in the garden.
Designed as a stroll garden with curving paths, it discloses its plant treasures gradually. Pines are pruned to open up distant landscapes, framing perfect views of lakes, grassy hills, woods, and the gardens beyond. In the dry garden on the island of Keiunto, gravel represents water and plants represent landmasses. The focal point is the traditional Japanese lantern, Ikekomi, with the shaft buried in the ground to look as though it were surrounded by water. Wintergreen Korean boxwood represents the islands behind the lantern.
During the Japanese Garden Spring Weekend event, children and their families can participate in hands-on activities such as raking miniature dry gardens, trying chopsticks, and practicing calligraphy.Â Additionally, families can enjoy a koto harp performance by the Chicago Koto Group, create hanging scrolls, and write haiku to celebrate the arrival of spring. The Japanese Garden Spring Weekend takes place Saturday and Sunday, March 24 and 25, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Also during this weekend, the Chicago Botanic Garden will remember the devastating Great East Japan Earthquake, with a special program "Resilience: Lessons from Japan," which will be held on March 24 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Dance, taiko drumming, and garden-inspired lectures will be presented by five Japanese Americans, who will share their insights on how traditional teaching of order, respect, and gratitude gave rise to the ability to be resilient.