Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Japanese Tea Garden

For my first "artist date", I went to the Japanese Tea Garden in San Antonio. The garden was built in 1918 at an old stone quarry. The quarry was transformed to include walkways, stone arched bridges, an island, water areas and a stone pagoda. When it opened in 1918, it was filled with exotic plants, many from Japan. If you take a close look at the photo above, you will notice it says Chinese Sunken Garden. The name was changed after the Pearl Harbor attack in World War II. The name was changed back to the Japanese Tea Garden in 1984.

I had fond memories of the garden from my childhood, so when we moved to San Antonio four years ago, I brought my husband to see it. My excitement quickly turned to disappointment. It had become overgrown, filled with graffiti and the ponds were drained of their water. What I had remembered as a treasure was in a state of neglect.

The city conducted a renovation of the gardens in 2007 and this was the first time I had been since the renovation. It was beautiful! They really cleaned it up and planted a lot of native plants. The ponds were full of fish and turtles. I spent about an hour, walking the paths and enjoying the view. Below are some of the the highlights.

The pagoda

The remnants of the smokestack at the old quarry.

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