Butchart Gardens, Victoria BC, Canada
Although, sadly, the Takata Tea Garden no longer exists, one can still see the legacy of his creations at the Hatley Japanese Garden (located at Royal Roads University) and Butchart’s Japanese Garden. He created all of these gardens plus a private garden before he left Canada at the age of 70 in 1912. To provide authenticity, the materials and plants used by him in these gardens were imported from Yokahama. He used Japanese seal hunters in their off time to assist with the construction. Mr. Paul Allison, a Royal Roads gardener has researched the life and work of Isaburo Kishida.
Follow down a path that meanders beside a serene dry streambed reflecting the magic that exists in interpreting the Japanese landscape style to the lush climatic conditions of the Pacific Northwest.
Pause at a raked sea of gravel in the Zen style featuring a stately Japanese umbrella pine (Sciadopitys verticillata). This tree, one of the hallmarks at both Butcharts and Hatley Japanese gardens, was purchased between 1909 and 1910 from a Yokahama Nursery.
You continue onto a camellia and lantern, which had been purchased at the same time and listen to the relaxing sound of running water. Throughout the two Japanese gardens is the sound of water, which had been created by Isaburo Kishida through the incorporation of rock lined water channels, which include cobblestones.
Carry on up and have a seat in a rustic covered seating area beside the camellia. This style of structure was created in both Hatley and Butchart gardens. Look to your right at a moss carpeted fairyland featuring a traditional ‘wild boar scarer’ to enjoy yet more uses of the water channels (see below).
As we stop to look at the nearby inlet through the picture window cut in a hedge, one can think back to the role that the magnificent waterfront settings of these two gardens must have played in their development.
The desire to blur the line between man and nature was shared by the two Edwardian families- the Butcharts and the Dunsmires- and the elderly landscaper from Yokahama, leading to the establishment of two wonderful Edwardian Japanese gardens.