Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Japanese Friendship Garden, Part 1

It has been a while since I visited the Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix — in fact, it was back in 2006 (back when LAHP was in its infancy). So as a special treat on my birthday this year, I went to the garden with camera in hand for an updated visit. The Garden sits above the Deck Park Tunnel — a short tunnel carrying I-10 traffic beneath the center of Phoenix. Many of us have often driven through that tunnel in busy traffic not realizing the tranquility that resides above.

By the way, the garden is closed for the summer — so don't rush down there just yet. It re-opens in October.

From their website, "The Japanese Friendship Garden, named Ro Ho En, is a joint project of the City of Phoenix and our Sister City Himeji, Japan. Himeji Mayor, Matsuji Totani proposed the garden in 1987 to cement the bonds of friendship between Japan and the United States and particularly between the peoples of Himeji and Phoenix."


The garden is a place of beauty and tranquility. For instance, you would not know, if I did not tell you, but this photo was taken just outside of the bathrooms. Beauty and tranquility.

There is a well-planned mixture of shrubs, trees, water and hardscape that blend harmoniously. Here is one of my favorites — honeysuckle. Oh, spells so good.

Turning around, I view the pond. Curiously, I see something I don't recall, high-rise apartments or condos just outside the garden. I later went back and reexamined the photos from my last visit — there were some but more now. Progress?!!

On the other hand, if I lived in one of those buildings, I would definitely purchase an annual pass to the gardens and stroll through the serenity any time I wanted (when they are open, of course).

On one side of the pond is a pagoda-inspired lantern which nicely complements the water, rocks and flora.

Common in Japanese traditional gardens are the trees, often dwarfed and carefully pruned into an artistic shape. I am feeling more calm and serene already.

This pine is obviously being trained — not much bigger than a bonsai tree.

Mama duck is out with the babies for a morning swim. Lucky that golden koi is not contemplating duck for lunch.

Meanwhile, Papa duck is doing his part by protecting his offspring from the dangerous photographer.

This particular tree is one my favorites — because of the way it has been trained to lean dramatically to the right.

And of course, falling water always brings tranquility to a garden. The science background in me suggests it is the "white noise" that drowns out the hustle and bustle of hectic modern life. Whatever, I love it.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com