Two young people working in a garden

Okayama Garden

This garden, funded by the Okayama Women's College in Japan, was designed and constructed entirely by students in the Horticulture program. Students were encouraged to create a garden which would incorporate both Japanese and western gardening styles. They were also asked to consider and make use of symbolism, such as the yin and the yang, and to include into their design, water, rock and plants. In addition, students could choose to use paving materials, sculpture, lighting and benches, while taking care to plan for permanence, durability and resistance to vandalism. Students were expected to construct a quiet, contemplative area into which a person could enter, stroll through and perhaps sit down. The surrounding concrete and glass buildings were also to be considered to permit pleasing views of the garden from the west, north and south.

The result of this project is a designed space where people can interact with nature, a harmonious blend of local and Asian-derived materials. West Coast rock and cedar compliment Chinese granite lanterns and traditional, twine-tied, bamboo grid-fencing. Indigenous plants such as sword and maiden hair fern, Oregon grape and Kinnikinnick grow alongside Japanese maples, Stewartia and Katsura trees. An Austrian Pine, pruned for many years in the Japanese style, exemplifies the meeting of east and west in a single plant.

The visitor has a choice of paths to take: straight ahead, connecting, crossing water or with a terminal destination, each one providing a variety of textures underfoot.

Students involved with the project have the satisfaction of giving the VIU community a place of peace and beauty, of nature and poetry.

Site plan of the Okayama Garden