Middletown, CT 06459
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The Freeman family garden Shôyôan Teien was designed and built in summer 1995 by Stephen Morrell, a landscape architect specializing in Japanese-style gardens. His earlier public projects have included meditation gardens for Zen Mountain Monastery in Mount Tremper, New York, and Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York, as well as a tea garden exhibition for the New York Japan Society. Since 1981, he has been Curator of the John P. Humes Japanese Stroll Garden in Mill Neck, New York.
Shôyôan Teien falls within the tradition of the viewing garden, one intended primarily for contemplative viewing from within an adjoining room or from a veranda or bench just outside. Unlike the more expansive strolling garden, which presupposes a moving viewer and sequential experience of shifting views, an intimately scaled courtyard garden like Shôyôan Teien is designed to disclose its full panorama to a stationary visitor seated at its edge. The tradition of the viewing garden has a long history in Japan, attaining its classic formulation in the fifteenth-and sixteenth- century gardens of such Zen monasteries as Ryoanji and Daitokuji in Kyoto.
Japanese Cherry Trees
In 2005 the garden was enhanced with the addition of three lovely cherry trees, which were a gift from Professor Satoshi Omura, who was installed as the inaugural Max Tischler Professor of Chemistry that year. In 2015 Prof. Omura was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine, and we asked him to tell us more about the origin of the delightful cherry trees that adorn our garden, and he offered these reflections (in English and Japanese).
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