Islands of Peace Garden - Coventry - 2019/21

Since 2019 the Japanese Garden Society has been working with a group of five primary schools in Coventry to design and construct a Japanese Peace Garden in the Coventry War Memorial Park – Coventry’s largest city centre park. It is the culmination of a Japanese Peace Project, being run over the last few years within the schools.
The design of the karesansui or dry stone garden was by Robert Ketchell, Japanese garden creator and former JGS Chair, incorporating ideas suggested by the children.
Coventry is an International City of Peace, linked with Hiroshima through an annual ‘Hiroshima Day’. The City Council has fully supported this project and has contributed significantly towards the costs. The garden was opened in July 2021 and was part of Coventry being the UK City of Culture from May 2021.
The garden, as a space for reflection, will be open to the public, demonstrating the commitment of Coventry children to peace and reconciliation.
The JGS will contribute to ongoing maintenance of the garden.

Willowbrook Hospice Garden - number Three 2014/15

Following yet further building work at Willowbrook Hospice, the JGS team was called in again to suggest how the outer part of garden number 2 (2012) could be modified and extended to take account of the revised buildings. The new space was to be an extension of the original garden number 2, yet much of it would only be seen on its own – i.e. as garden number 3. Graham Hardman has designed rock arrangements and planting to suggest a landscape set in very curving areas of paving. This has been shaped to flow with the garden and allows two spaces for beds to be wheeled out into the garden in fine weather. The enclosing fence has also been shaped to reflect the overall theme. While not a garden that you would see in Japan, this does use many Japanese design principles and techniques and is aimed at providing maximum interest to viewers from the many windows that overlook it.

Bury Hospice 2013/2014

The huge garden at Bury Hospice was designed by Graham Hardman in parallel with the Show Garden at Tatton Park in 2013. There had been an agreement between JGS and the Hospice that JGS volunteers would design and build a Japanese garden at the Hospice if some of the materials and plants could first be used to construct a Show garden at the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show. Following the Show all the elements from the show garden were transported to Bury and construction started in September 2013. This was by far the biggest project undertaken by members of the Society and was finally completed in May 2014 after about 50 working parties and hundreds of hours of work. The Hospice received some generous donations for plants and materials and very significant donations of stone and transport from Marshalls plc, allowing the Hospice to have a very large garden for the very limited budget that they could afford. The result has been widely acclaimed and has been another great success as a ‘healing garden’ created by the JGS. The garden was officially opened in June 2104 by Mr Akio Miyajima, Minster Plenipotentiary at the Embassy of Japan in London.

Hatch Mill Nursing Home 2013

The JGS Southeast region was approached by Hatch Mill Nursing Home for advice on reshaping an existing courtyard garden. Robert Ketchell designed a completely new look using Japanese themed sections of garden around the paving of the courtyard. The results have been extremely successful and much appreciated by the residents and staff. A team of volunteers from the Southeast constructed the garden during the summer of 2013.
The JGS SE region contribute to ongoing maintenance of the garden.

Former Kaetsu Centre, Murray Edwards College, Cambridge 2012

In 2010 the JGS held its annual National Meeting at the Kaetsu Centre in Cambridge, this being a centre for Japanese studies associated with the Murray Edwards College of the University. The garden designed and built by the JGS no longer exists in it’s previous form, but parts of it can be viewed as part of the Murray Edwards garden tours.

Willowbrook Hospice Garden number Two 2012

Following the success of the first garden in 2009, the Chief Executive of the Hospice invited the JGS team back to design a much larger garden for a new courtyard created by a large building extension. This space was overlooked on all sides so had to look good from all angles and at one side had to be merged into the existing landscaping. This was dealt with by reshaping shrubs and the lawn so that the flowing shapes led the eye into the Japanese garden within the more enclosed space beyond. This second garden took several months to construct over many working parties, and was officially opened in June 2012 when Mr Yatsuhiko Kita from the Embassy of Japan in London planted a tree within the garden.

Norwich Cathedral 2010

While two JGS members were doing some research on gardens at the Library of the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures (SISJAC), based in Cathedral Close, Norwich, the deputy Director of the Institute asked for advice on building a Japanese garden within the confines of the Cathedral. The garden was to be sponsored by SISJAC for the Cathedral. Graham Hardman was one of the researchers and offered to provide a design on a voluntary basis for the Cathedral authorities and SISJAC to consider. Graham worked with Robert Ketchell on the design, which was approved and a small team of JGS volunteers built the garden in March 2010. Some members from the experienced group in the NW were joined by local JGS members from the Norwich area. The garden had to be designed without any planting at the request of the cathedral authorities, so is in the karesansui or dry landscape style with a simple rock arrangement set in a gravel ‘ocean’. The garden occupies a small space between the end of the modern welcome hall or ‘Hostry’ and the ancient wall of the cathedral. As such it is seen by all visitors to the Cathedral. The garden suggests a link between the traditions of monks in Zen Buddhist temples in Japan and those of the former Benedictine monastery on which the cathedral is based. The Hostry and garden were officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen in May 2010.

Willowbrook Hospice Garden number One 2009

Following an enquiry for advice about constructing a Japanese garden by the Chief Executive of Willowbrook Hospice the JGS NW Regional group offered to provide a design and if approved, a team of volunteers to construct a garden. This was a win-win situation as the Hospice had a very limited budget and our members were able to practice and enhance their garden construction skills, developed initially at Walkden Gardens in Sale. The space concerned was a very irregular shape which nevertheless lent itself well to treatment in Japanese style. The garden was constructed over two weekends in August 2009 and was an immediate success. Not only did patients find the garden interesting to look at but so too did families and friends, and staff found the garden a visual relief from their daily work. This became the first of three gardens that JGS has developed at Willowbrook hospice.

Walkden Gardens 2006

 JGS members in the North West Regional group designed and built a Japanese garden in Walkden Gardens, owned and managed by Trafford Borough Council.  The garden shows different aspects of Japanese gardens and attempts to give the ‘feel’ of a garden as seen in Japan.  Walkden Gardens are laid out as a series of garden ‘rooms’ separated by high hedges in the style of Hidcote Manor in Gloucestershire. The rooms contain different themes and styles of garden and the fact that they are self-contained made it an ideal site for a Japanese garden. The original space, half a thicket of shrubs and trees and half a bedding scheme, has been completely transformed into a Japanese landscape garden, subdivided into three sections: an entrance area, a woodland garden and an open karesansui, or dry-water garden. Construction began in early 2004 and was completed late in 2006, with some modification in 2009. The gardens were officially opened on Friday October 20th 2006 by His Excellency the Japanese Ambassador, Mr Yoshiji Nogami. Members of the JGS continue to maintain and develop this garden on a monthly basis. For information contact the NW Regional group.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens 2005

Japanese Courtyard Garden. In 2004 Birmingham Botanical Gardens sought help from the Japanese Garden Society in the re-design of the Japanese garden. Following a design workshop for Midlands’ JGS members, plans were drawn up and submitted by Graham Hardman, former JGS Chairman. The plans were approved and building work began shortly afterwards. JGS members were involved in rock placement, planting, making the dry stream and other constructional details. The Official opening of the garden by His Excellency Mr Yoshiji Nogami, Ambassador of Japan, was in May 2005.