Progress in the Japanese-Style Garden

tree tubes at pond
The area around the Lotus Pond continues to be developed into a Japanese-style garden. You may notice a number of tall, translucent green tubes above the pond; these shelter bare-root trees that were planted this spring, many of which have an Asian provenance.

“One of the trees we’re excited about is a Japanese maple variety called ‘Koto no ito,’ which is an especially beautiful tree,” says Horticulture and Facilities Manager Benjamin Carroll. When mature, the tree possesses a delicate beauty in its graceful branching structure and finely cut leaves. Translated, the name ‘Koto no ito’ means ‘harp strings,’ in reference to the leaves. The tree is especially lovely in the fall, when it turns yellow-orange. A dusting of snow highlights the tree’s exquisite structure in winter.

Other trees planted in the vicinity to increase biodiversity include Sorbus alnifolia (Korean mountain ash), Larix (larch), Metasequoia glyptostroboides (dawn redwood), Styrax japonicus (Japanese snowbell), Davidia involucrata (dove or handkerchief tree) and Sciadopitys verticillata (Japanese umbrella pine). Hess Nursery donated several of the trees as well as a boxwood topiary shaped like a chicken that will be placed in the Garden soon.

ssjuly2015photo3rocky trail at pond

In other developments in the Japanese-style garden, the stepping stones across the upper end of the pond have been re-set, allowing visitors to cross the pond.

A new Family Moments station, The Rocky Trail, is also underway in this area, thanks to a grant from Babcock Charitable Trust. Located above the Lotus Pond, this feature will allow children to splash and play safely in a shallow rocky stream. The stream will one day tie into a small pool that will be located near a tea house.

A new pier will be built out into the Lotus Pond this summer, allowing visitors with an additional opportunity to enjoy the wildlife there. The project is funded with the remainder of a grant provided by EQT, which was used for other projects associated with the Lotus Pond.

Thanks to the now-clean waters, the Lotus Pond is teeming with wildlife, including fish, frogs, many species of dragonflies and blooming lilies and lotus. Two new species of water-loving birds spotted at the pond have been added to our bird list—blue heron and hooded merganser—bringing the total to 105 species recorded.