I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in tune once more.
- John Burroughs, American naturalist (1837-1921)
For almost half a century, the Portland Japanese Garden has served as a resource for members of this community who want to learn more about Japanese art, culture, history, and horticulture. Lectures at the Garden cover a broad range of subjects.
Past Japanese Garden Lectures
Marc Treib: “Isamu Noguchi: The Sculpting of Space“
Thursday, May 16, 2013
When the time came for me to work with larger spaces, I conceived them as gardens, not as sites with objects but as relationships to a whole . . . If sculpture is the rock, it is also the space between rocks and between the rock and a man, and the communication and contemplation between.
- Isamu Noguchi
Sculptor Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) imagined that one day the Earth would serve as the sculptor’s medium. This bold vision compelled Noguchi to focus his creativity on a grand scale. He turned landscapes into experiential works of art in places such as Miami’s Bayfront Park and at Moerenuma Park, outside Sapporo. His austere sets for Martha Graham helped define modern dance. And his UNESCO garden in Paris, shaped earth, water, and greenery into a series of multisensory surprise.
Marc Treib is Professor of Architecture Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. Since leaving full-time teaching, he has been writing and lecturing on landscape architecture, regional architecture, and the intersection of architecture, art, and landscape design. Among his published works are Noguchi in Paris: The Unesco Garden (2003) and the lead essay on the sculpture garden at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston—The Sculpture of Space (2005). He has received Fulbright, Guggenheim, and Japan Foundation fellowships, as well as an advanced design fellowship at the American Academy in Rome.
The Center for Architecture has graciously donated the space for Professor Treib’s lecture.
David Cobb: Photographing Japanese Gardens
Friday, April 12, 2013
In conjunction with the Garden Gift Store’s sale of the new book Quiet Beauty: The Japanese Gardens of North America, plan to join photographer David Cobb for this lecture and book signing. Enjoy a virtual tour of Japanese Gardens of North America with photos from the book. Cobb will discuss the finer points of photographing Japanese gardens and impart what he has learned about capturing the broad perspectives, the smallest details, their commonalities, differences, and unique beauty through the seasons.
Dr. Yoshiaki Shimizu: Ito Jakuchu – From Green Grocer to Master Painter
Thursday, January 31, 2013
The Garden is honored to host a lecture by Dr. Yoshiaki Shimizu, Marquand Professor of Art and Archeology Emeritus, Princeton University. Dr. Shimizu will discuss how Ito Jakuchu, the son of a Kyoto green grocer, rose to become an 18th century master painter. With colorful images from a rare set of thirty exquisitely crafted scroll painting of birds and flowers on silk, Professor Shimizu sheds light on one of the most remarkable painters in the history of Japanese art. An exhibition of these paintings once owned by the Imperial family and rarely seen in Japan-much less abroad-was held in Spring of 2012 at the National Gallery of Art, for whom Professor Shimizu served as advisor. Please join the Garden in welcoming Professor Shimizu, now a Portland resident, to the Garden community.
Mike Houck, Executive Director, Urban Greenspaces Institute and Co-Founder, The Intertwine Alliance
Thursday, October 25, 2012
For the past four decades, Mike Houck has been the leading voice in our community for the integration of nature in the city. He has served for more than thirty years as Urban Naturalist for the Audubon Society of Portland, and in 1999 he founded the Urban Greenspaces Institute. The Institute’s motto, “in livable cities is preservation of the wild,” speaks to his philosophy that only by creating livable cities will the rural landscape be protected and restored. And, to be livable, a city must provide urban residents with access to nature where they live, work, and go to school. He will discuss the importance of access to nature to our physical and mental health as well as the intrinsic values of nature in the city.
Mike is also co-founder of The Intertwine Alliance, an alliance of nonprofits, agencies and businesses working to create a world class system of parks, trails, and natural areas in the Portland-Vancouver region. His presentation will also describe the evolution of The Intertwine and its work to protect biodiversity and watershed health inside and outside the region’s urban growth boundaries and across the urban and rural landscapes. Houck is co-editor of Wild in the City, a Guide to Portland’s Natural Areas (2000) and the new Wild in the City, Exploring the Intertwine released by OSU Press in the fall of 2011. His credits also include Wild on the Willamette—Exploring the Lower Willamette River (2003). He has been recognized for his contributions to urban green spaces locally, nationally, and internationally. A book signing will follow the lecture.
Contemplative Photography Lecture and Workshop with Andy Karr
Lecture: Thursday, Sept 13, 2012
Workshop: Friday, Sept 14, 2012
Photography may be the most revealing of the arts. On the surface, it seems so mechanical, but when you examine the way different photographers make their images, it is striking how much their work consistently reflects who they are and how they see. –Andy Karr
There is richness and beauty hidden in the ordinary. The practice of contemplative photography reveals what is concealed in plain sight. It is a method for seeing and photographing the world in fresh ways.
Andy Karr is a longtime teacher and photographer, and the co-author of The Practice of Contemplative Photography: Seeing the World with Fresh Eyes (Shambhala Publications, 2011), a book that teaches the most essential photographic skill—clear seeing. He trained intensively with two of the great founding teachers of Western Buddhism: Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, author of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, and Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, author of Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior. Andy’s first book, Contemplating Reality, a series of investigations into the nature of mind and the phenomenal world, was published by Shambhala in 2007.
Lecture and Workshop
Instead of emphasizing subject matter or the technical aspects of photography, this workshop will provide training in how to see clearly, and make images based on fresh perceptions.
The two-day program will begin with an evening talk and slideshow, followed by a half-day workshop that includes: a presentation of the basic contemplative photography principles, a slideshow, visual exercises, a photographic assignment, and critiques of participants’ images. Participants may choose to attend the lecture only or the pair of lecture and half-day photography workshop.
Health Benefits of Gardens with Teresia Hazen
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Throughout history, cultures around the world have regarded gardens as a source of comfort and healing for body, mind, and soul. Gardens and green spaces throughout the community play a role in healing, health and wellness. Four health practitioners will discuss the many benefits of gardens and their own experiences with gardens in the healing process. A hands-on activity will bring home the healing quality of nature. Speakers include: Teresia Hazen, MEd, HTR, QMHP, Registered Horticultural Therapist, Coordinator of Therapeutic Gardens and HT, Legacy Health; Vi Hansen, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Cancer Services and Surgical Services, Legacy Good Samaritan; Val Riggs, RN and Nurse Manager, Trauma Acute Care Recovery Unit, Legacy Emanuel; and Marie Valleroy, M.D., Rehabilitation Institute of Oregon and Rehabilitation Medicine Associates.
Gardens Below the Watchtower
with Landscape Architect Anna Tamura
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Gardens created by Japanese American inmates in World War II incarceration camps offer insights into a little known, but very moving story of how people coped with the psychological trauma of imprisonment during the War in part by creating Japanese gardens. With unparalleled dedication and extremely limited resources, inmates who had worked as landscape gardeners for residences along the West Coast before the War went to great lengths to create remarkable gardens of stones and plant materials laboriously collected in the landscape around them. Both the labor of love and the resulting touch of beauty they brought to their desolate environment helped them to heal in the midst of these devastating circumstances. The gardens successfully buffered the monotony of the military issue barracks and barbed wire, as they buffered the psychological and physical trauma of the incarceration experience.
The U.S. government assigned renowned American photographer Ansel Adams to document life in the internment camps during WW II, and Tamura’s presentation is richly illustrated with a selection of his black and white photographs.
Anna Tamura is a landscape architect at the National Park Service in Seattle, Washington. She received her Master of Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Art at Bard College. She is currently engaged in researching and planning for historic cultural landscapes for the Park Service, with a focus on the development of former internment camps at Manzanar and Minidoka as future National Parks to bring them to public attention and ensure that this sad chapter in U.S. history does not repeat itself in the future.
A Different Kind of Luxury: Japanese Lessons in Simple Living and Inner Abundance
October 27, 2011
Author and writing teacher Andy Couturier introduces ideas and people from his book A Different Kind of Luxury: Japanese Lessons in Simple Living and Inner Abundance. Raised in the tumult of Japan’s industrial powerhouse, the eleven men and women profiled have made the transition to sustainable, deeply fulfilling lives in the mountains of Japan. Published in 2010, this book is a treasure chest of stories about real people in Japan who have created an abundance of time for contemplation, connecting with nature, artistic practice, and contributing to their communities.
Andy Couturier is a Pushcart Prize-nominated writer and the author of Writing Open the Mind. He has contributed to Adbusters, MIT Press, The Oakland Tribune, The Japan Times, Kyoto Journal, Creative Nonfiction, and The North American Review. Couturier lived in Japan for four years where he taught, was a journalist, and worked on environmental causes. He currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and runs a center for courses in writing: The Opening.
Sensory Engagement and “Sense of Place”
June 30, 2011
The restorative qualities of nature are evident perhaps nowhere more beautifully in Portland than in the tranquil setting of the Portland Japanese Garden. As a follow-up to this year’s Living in Harmony with Nature theme, next year in 2012, Art in the Garden and the Garden Lecture series will explore the role of the garden as a vehicle of restorative therapies. This summer, a special lecture on “Healing Nature” by noted expert Vince Healy, sets the tone for the coming year by providing a definition of “healing” and “restorative” gardens, and discussing some of the many ways in which multi-sensory experience in garden settings can benefit healing.
Mr. Healy holds a BFA from the University of California, Irvine, an MFA from UCLA, and was a Loeb Fellow at The Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He is the author of several journal articles, and has counseled authors writing books on the healing properties of garden environments.
Underwritten in part by the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, and by Legacy Health System.
Art in the Garden opening lecture
Author Azby Brown:
Just Enough: Lessons in Living Green from Traditional Japan
January 28, 2011
Beyond the Bubble—Current Trends in Japanese Architecture
October 21, 2010
The Garden is honored to present a lecture on new directions in Japanese architecture by Professor Botond Bognar, the Edgar A. Tafel Chair in Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Born in Budapest, he is the pre-eminent international scholar on the history and theories of contemporary Japanese architecture and urbanism. A licensed architect, Professor Bognar is the author of numerous authoritative books on Japan’s top 20th and 21st century architects, architectural history and Japanese aesthetics.
The Japanese Garden in the 21st Century—An Evolving Art of Healing
July 22, 2010
This talk will focus on the continuing evolution in the field of Japanese garden design and construction—an area in which Mr. Kurisu is a master.
Former Garden Director of the Portland Japanese Garden, Hoichi Kurisu is one of the most respected Japanese garden designers in the world. Owner of Kurisu International, Mr. Kurisu was a principal designer of the Morikami Gardens in Florida, the Anderson Japanese Gardens in Illinois, and the roof garden on the Contemporaine in Chicago—among many others. Over the last 20 years, his practice has focused on the creation of what we know today as “restorative or healing gardens” at various healthcare facilities throughout the US.
Mr. Kurisu is responsible for many significant contributions to the beauty of the Portland Japanese Garden, including the superbly executed reconstruction of the waterfall in the Garden’s Lower Pond after it suffered major damage in a landslide in the 1990s. According to Garden Curator Sadafumi Uchiyama, “Hoichi Kurisu refers to his Japanese gardens as ‘Gardens of Vision…for Lives of Insight,’ an approach that has evolved and been refined over the past 30 years. His efforts are now crystallized into ‘Restorative Gardens’ that all of us are
longing for in this chaotic world.” Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from one of the Portland Japanese Garden’s former Garden Directors, and one of the most revered landscapers in the world.
The Wonderful World of Japanese Maples
Owner and president of Buchholz & Buchholz Nursery and the Flora Wonder™ Arboretum, Buchholz is a wholesale grower of Japanese maples, dwarf and unusual conifers, and other choice ornamental trees and shrubs. He’ll speak about his long experience with developing new varieties of Japanese maples— how they are selected, trialed, and introduced.
Talon’s nursery fosters an environment where the discovery, trial, and introduction of new species and cultivars are a principal focus. Many Buchholz introductions are grown across the United States and Canada as well as Europe and Japan; and many choice new plants from abroad are first made available to Americans by Buchholz & Buchholz Nursery. Mr. Buchholz and his staff enjoy close relationships and plant sharing with some of the world’s greatest growers of plants.
In Search of an Unknown Garden
March 18, 2010
Landscape architect and author Ron Herman talks about his remarkable career in garden design and the influence of Japan on his work. Author of the highly regarded A Guide to the Gardens of Kyoto, Ron spent several years studying in Japan and has designed many of North America’s largest and most intricate private gardens. He has created more than 400 full-scale garden designs in his 35+ year career in landscape architecture, including the 25-acre Japanese style village of California software billionaire Lawrence Ellison, as well as several large estates throughout the country. His presentation will also focus on his ongoing research on Shugakuin Imperial Villa in Kyoto, the study of which has become a central theme in Ron’s career.
Sean Hogan Speaks on Japanese and Asian Plants
January 28, 2010
The Garden is pleased to welcome Sean Hogan, author of Trees for All Seasons: Broadleaved Evergreens for Temperate Climates. Sean is the co-founder of Cistus Design in Portland, Oregon, a nursery world-famous for its collection of rare plants and display gardens. More than half the entries in Sean’s book are of Japanese or Asian origin, the topic he will address in his January lecture. Sean was formerly a horticulturist at the University of California, Berkeley Botanic Garden, where he managed the New World Desert, as well as Australia/ New Zealand, Africa, and California-cultivar gardens.