JGS Gardens and Show Gardens

2014 Willowbrook Hospice Garden number 3 (Prescot, Merseyside)  Following yet further building work at Willowbrook Hospice, the JGS team was called in again to suggest how the outer part of garden number 2 (2012) could be modified and extended to take account of the revised buildings. The new space was to be an extension of the original garden number 2, yet much of it would only be seen on its own – i.e. as garden number 3. Graham Hardman has designed rock arrangements and planting to suggest a landscape set in very curving areas of paving. This has been shaped to flow with the garden and allows two spaces for beds to be wheeled out into the garden in fine weather. The enclosing fence has also been shaped to reflect the overall theme. While not a garden that you would see in Japan, this does use many Japanese design principles and techniques and is aimed at providing maximum interest to viewers from the many windows that overlook it.


2013/2014 Bury Hospice  The huge garden at Bury Hospice was designed by Graham Hardman in parallel with the Show Garden at Tatton Park in 2013. There had been an agreement between JGS and the Hospice that JGS volunteers would design and build a Japanese garden at the Hospice if some of the materials and plants could first be used to construct a Show garden at the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show. Following the Show all the elements from the show garden were transported to Bury and construction started in September 2013. This was by far the biggest project undertaken by members of the Society and was finally completed in May 2014 after about 50 working parties and hundreds of hours of work. The Hospice received some generous donations for plants and materials and very significant donations of stone and transport from Marshalls plc, allowing the Hospice to have a very large garden for the very limited budget that they could afford. The result has been widely acclaimed and has been another great success as a ‘healing garden’ created by the JGS. The garden was officially opened in June 2104 by Mr Akio Miyajima, Minster Plenipotentiary at the Embassy of Japan in London.

2013 Hatch Mill Nursing Home  The JGS Southeast region was approached by Hatch Mill Nursing Home for advice on reshaping an existing courtyard garden. Robert Ketchell designed a completely new look using Japanese themed sections of garden around the paving of the courtyard. The results have been extremely successful and much appreciated by the residents and staff. A team of volunteers from the Southeast constructed the garden during the summer of 2013.

2012 Kaetsu Centre, Cambridge  In 2010 the JGS held its annual National Meeting at the Kaetsu Centre in Cambridge, this being a centre for Japanese studies associated with the Murray Edwards College of the University. The Chief Executive raised the issue of a particularly difficult part of the garden. Two small areas of ground had been left at the sides of a glass-surrounded stairwell at the rear of the building. Gardeners had found it difficult to find a satisfactory solution to keeping these looking good, mainly due to lack of light. The design team of Robert Ketchell and Graham Hardman came up with a scheme which was subsequently built by members from the JGS Southeast region, supported by some of the regular team from the NW. The garden eventually became four separate elements, the two sides of the stairwell, an indoor tray-scape between the two at the foot of the stairs, and an outer area beyond the stairwell. Each had its own theme, but all linked to the basic purpose of the centre, the provision of education.

2011/2012 Willowbrook Hospice Garden number 2 (Prescot, Merseyside)  Following the success of the first garden in 2009, the Chief Executive of the Hospice invited the JGS team back to design a much larger garden for a new courtyard created by a large building extension. This space was overlooked on all sides so had to look good from all angles and at one side had to be merged into the existing landscaping. This was dealt with by reshaping shrubs and the lawn so that the flowing shapes led the eye into the Japanese garden within the more enclosed space beyond. This second garden took several months to construct over many working parties, and was officially opened in June 2012 when Mr Yatsuhiko Kita from the Embassy of Japan in London planted a tree within the garden.

2010 Norwich Cathedral  While two JGS members were doing some research on gardens at the Library of the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures (SISJAC), based in Cathedral Close, Norwich, the deputy Director of the Institute asked for advice on building a Japanese garden within the confines of the Cathedral. The garden was to be sponsored by SISJAC for the Cathedral. Graham Hardman was one of the researchers and offered to provide a design on a voluntary basis for the Cathedral authorities and SISJAC to consider. Graham worked with Robert Ketchell on the design, which was approved and a small team of JGS volunteers built the garden in March 2010. Some members from the experienced group in the NW were joined by local JGS members from the Norwich area. The garden had to be designed without any planting at the request of the cathedral authorities, so is in the karesansui or dry landscape style with a simple rock arrangement set in a gravel ‘ocean’. The garden occupies a small space between the end of the modern welcome hall or ‘Hostry’ and the ancient wall of the cathedral. As such it is seen by all visitors to the Cathedral. The garden suggests a link between the traditions of monks in Zen Buddhist temples in Japan and those of the former Benedictine monastery on which the cathedral is based. The Hostry and garden were officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen in May 2010.