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Waterfront Botanical Gardens has unveiled plans for an authentic Japanese garden that will bring some international flair to the city of Louisville.
The organization shared plans Wednesday morning for the new 2.5-acre garden alongside its Japanese designer, Shiro Nakane.
Nakane is the son of renowned traditional Japanese landscape designer Kinsaku Nakane and is in high demand for his Japanese garden designs.
The planned Japanese garden is slated to include a waterfall, lake, stream and tea house. The garden also will feature a local Bonsai collection donated by Louisville resident Tom McCurry. The collection features more than 20 plants across several different species, styles and sizes. Some of the plants are approaching 100 years old.
The Japanese garden will be constructed north of the existing Graeser Family Education Center inside the gardens. Waterfront Botanical Gardens received a $500,000 matching gift from the heirs of the late Emil and Nancy Graeser last year for the Japanese garden, and another $500,000 needs to be raised to match the gift.. The educational complex was named in honor of the Graesers.
Total costs for the garden have not been finalized, but it should break ground later this year and be complete by the end of 2021. Nakane and his sons, of Nakane and Associates, will travel to Louisville several times to oversee and assist with the design process alongside Perkins+Will.
In Harmony with Nature
Nakane said during a phone interview with Louisville Business First that the ideal Japanese garden emphasizes harmony with nature and plants while also communicating some elements of Japanese history to its guests as a way to connect the American and Japanese cultures.
He said the garden also will communicate Japan's love of nature.
“The Japanese do not view nature as an enemy. They view it as a beautiful world where we coexist with nature,' Nakane said through a translator.
Nakane has designed gardens in 40 to 50 countries and has worked within the U.S., completing a Japanese garden in Boston and designing another with his father at The Carter Center and The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Georgia.
He said he hopes the garden in Louisville helps teach the value of preserving nature to young children so they can pass that love to future generations.
'I think people who visit the Japanese garden can feel that quiet and feel that sense of sacred, and the people who visit can look at the plants and see how important it is to preserve nature,” he said through the translator.
Botanical Gardens President Kasey Maier said she sees the garden as a unique experience for the area.
'I’m excited about this being an additional cultural asset in Louisville, Kentucky and our region,' she said. “... Most people don’t get to go to Japan to see a Japanese garden.”
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