Carleton College News Bureau


Contact: Marla Holt, Director
(507) 646-4183

May 18, 2000

Japanese Garden at Carleton College Named One of 10 Best


Northfield, Minn. - The Journal of Japanese Gardening has named Carleton College's Japanese garden one of the 10 highest-quality gardens outside of Japan. In an effort to determine the gardens most worth visiting, the journal surveyed 39 Japanese garden specialists in Europe, North America and Australia, and Carleton's garden was ranked number seven among more than 300 public gardens.

The results of the survey appear in the May/June 2000 issue of the Journal of Japanese Gardening. Carleton's Japanese garden is highlighted for its "grace, human scale, and contemplative atmosphere."

The specialists were asked to identify the highest-quality Japanese gardens, and to avoid selecting gardens simply because they were large or well-known. According to the article, the specialists seemed to favor gardens displaying intimate traits such as subtleness, natural beauty, moderation and human scale.

Nestled in a quiet area of campus behind Watson Residence Hall, Carleton's Japanese garden is named Jo Ryo En, or The Garden of Quiet Listening, and is known as a place for inner reflection. The garden is a kare-sansui, or dry landscape garden. It features a stream of dark, flat stones emptying into a lake of white gravel, surrounded by large rocks, two stone lanterns, low shrubs, ground cover, and trees carefully arranged to simulate a microcosm of hills and mountains.

The other public gardens honored by the Journal of Japanese Gardening are The Portland Japanese Garden (Portland, Ore.), Anderson Gardens (Rockford, Ill.), Japanese America Cultural & Community Center (Los Angeles), University of British Columbia (Vancouver), Fairmount Park (Philadelphia), The Morikami Museum (Delray Beach, Fla.), Washington Park Arboretum (Seattle), Museum of Fine Arts (Boston) and Missouri Botanical Garden (St. Louis).

Carleton's Japanese garden was conceived by Bardwell Smith, the John W. Nason Professor Emeritus of Asian Studies at Carleton, and was designed and constructed by David Slawson, a well-known Japanese garden designer from Cleveland, Ohio. The garden was completed in the fall of 1976 and is maintained by Slawson and Mary Bigelow, a professional gardener from the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

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