Join revered Japanese Master Gardener, Masa Mizuno, for a pruning workshop at Meerkerk Gardens on South Whidbey Island.
The event includes a demonstration, opportunities to explore the gardens, a question and answer session, and a Japanese bento box luncheon!
All proceeds benefit NWLACC’s Global Cultures Program.
For more information call us at 360-321-2101 from Monday-Friday from 10am-6pm. You can also email us at [email protected]
About Masa Mizuno
Most consider landscaping to be a chore, but for Masa Mizuno it is a work of art.
While others heave pruning shears into the garden to take a whack at unruly shrubberies, Mizuno calmly contemplates the space, the inherent shape of the foliage, the delicate balance of forms and lines of sight.
Mizuno is a Portland-based master gardener responsible for the establishment and upkeep of numerous traditional Japanese gardens throughout the Pacific Northwest, Canada and Japan including the Nikka Yuko Japanese garden of Lethbridge, Canada which he has maintained since 1990 and the Portland Japanese Garden. He has also worked with landscape architect Koichi Kobayashi in the Seattle Japanese Garden.
While attending school in Japan, Mizuno had the choice of attending college or learning a craft.
“I couldn’t study in the classroom; I’d get sleepy all the time,” Mizuno said with a grin.
He opted to take up landscape architecture, which he studied for three years. After graduation, Mizuno landed a job with a landscaping firm in Osaka before moving to Tokyo to join another, larger company. In Tokyo, he received training from elder gardeners and worked to maintain and establish residential and historical, public gardens.
Historically, gardens built for emperors and nobility were designed for aesthetic pleasure while those built for Buddhist temples were designed for meditation and contemplation. The earliest Japanese gardens were established in the first century CE.
Types of gardens include karesansui, rock gardens or Zen gardens where white sand takes the place of water; roji, which include teahouses where tea ceremonies are conducted; kaiyu-shiki-teien, designed to allow visitors to stroll along a path to admire landscapes; and tsubo-niwa, small courtyard gardens.
In the 1980s, Mizuno developed his own firm, Masa and Associates. He relocated to the United States in 2000 and began work at the Portland Japanese Garden as landscape director. He has also established and maintained a number of sites in the region, including several on Whidbey.
Most of the plants Mizuno uses are already on site. Native species protect more traditional plants. Traditional Japanese gardens feature miniature, idealized landscapes, typically with an abstract design, and most often feature asymmetrical shapes. The idea is not to change the history or natural characteristics of the site, he said. Although it would be possible to change it, doing so would require an “enormous amount of time and energy.”
In addition, Mizuno pays careful attention to lines of sight, ensuring that visitors’ view is not obstructed. Mizuno will touch upon these and other principles of the craft, during the workshop. It’s important for people to understand that it’s a very rare opportunity to observe and to ask questions. Knowledge of horticulture is not necessary to learn the craft, said Mizuno, though an artistic eye is extremely helpful.
Mizuno will demonstrate techniques, answer questions and lead a tour of the gardens. Lunch will also be served.