Fort Pierce, FL 34982
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One of the favorite spots at Heathcote is the Japanese Garden. The original garden was created by Mollie Crimmins, known locally for her Japanese garden design. Jim and Mollie Crimmins owned Heathcote nursery and lived in the adjacent two story home that is now the administrative office.
Most of Mollie Crimmins’ garden designs have been lost. Preserving this garden was one of the motivating factors in the creation of Heathcote. The size of the Japanese Garden would have been smaller (and Heathcote Drive larger) if not for Laura Baker standing in front of an overeager bulldozer driver who was determined to take more than the designated 30 feet of land for a right-of-way.
The Japanese Garden here was not designed in any particular style, but it does incorporate many traditional elements and symbols. It contains pathways that direct your attention and provide an ease of footing, boulders that represent a distant mountain range, and purifying water. There is movement through a series of distinct “rooms” and through thresholds such as the entrance gate, the bridge, the opening in the hedge, and the elevated pathway. Each signifies progressions through different stages of consciousness. The replica tea house was an Eagle Scout project.
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