Thursday, April 29, 2010


Looking at this picture, with cool water flowing over granite boulders surrounded by lush vegetation, where do you guess it might be? Here are a couple of other clues:

A koi pond:

Lotus flowers:

Somewhere in Japan maybe? Thailand? China? Actually, these photos are from Ro Ho En, the Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix, built right on top of the Highway 202 tunnel at Roosevelt and 3rd Avenue. This little oasis includes a traditional Japanese tea house, over 70 species of plants, including a small bamboo forest, and numerous traditional sculptures from the sister city of Himeji.

The most remarkable thing about this garden are that you can wander through the place and have no idea that you are in Phoenix Arizona. It really is as if someone lifted a chunk of Japan and transplanted it here in the Sonoran Desert. Every square inch of the place is landscaped. Each boulder in the waterfall was carefully selected and shipped to downtown Phoenix from elsewhere. The water is piped in from the Salt River. Fish, lilies and bamboo were imported from Asia. River polished rocks gathered from an unknown distant shore are carefully arranged in patterns around the pond and garden borders. The tea house was hand built by Japanese artisans. Not a single saguaro or any other cactus in sight.

Yet just below, heavy traffic rumbles through a mile long six lane tunnel between 7th Avenue and 7th Street.
I am awed at what we can create, both tunnel and garden.
Tea anyone?


Chris Webb said...

Thank you for posting this. I had no idea this garden existed.

Anonymous said...


Belladonna said...

This is AMAZING. I bet dollars to donuts that there is some geocache hidden here!

In Walla Walla there is a pond and garden tour every year as a fund raiser for Hospice. It was one of my annual traditions to go see the many pretty ponds people had created in their yards.

Some of them were simple back yard fountains with nice plantings but a few were VERY elaborate and had it not been for the ticket admission only tour you would never know they were there.

I wonder what other cool water features are hiding in Phoenix that we don't know about.