5.04.2010

THE SUNKEN GARDENS

Too much work and not enough play. I gave myself the day off and I went to check on the progress at the Japanese Tea Gardens in Brackenridge Park. The Tea Garden was developed in 1917 in an abandoned limestone quarry. Donicio Rodriquez, recognized as one of America's foremost Faux Bois sculptors, was commissioned to replicate a Japanese Torii gate. His work is featured throughout the park.
In 1926, the city of San Antonio invited Kimi Eizo Jingu, a Japanese-American artist, to help design and maintain the gardens. He and his wife Miyoshi opened the Bamboo Room, where light lunches and tea were served. Jingu was a representative of the Shizuoka Tea Association and was considered an expert in the tea business. He died in 1938. His wife and eight children continued to maintain the gardens and operate the Tea Room. In 1942, the family was evicted amid the rise of anti-Japanese sentiment of World War II. The name of the sunken garden was changed to the Chinese Tea Garden.

In 1984 it was returned to the original name of The Japanese Tea Garden in a ceremony attended by Jingu's children. I wonder if they will change the name back on the Torii gate?
Koi ponds lie at the bottom of the quarry.Over the years, the Tea Gardens were neglected and became a target for graffiti and vandalism. In 2005, the City began the restoration process that is underway.

A waterfall cascades sixty feet to the Koi ponds below.Scaffolding and metal fencing surround the original stone buildings. Perhaps by summer's end I'll be able to enjoy a Japanese Tea Ceremony and lunch at the gardens.



In the meantime, it's back to the pied-รก-terre for a light lunch of European Smoked Salmon, cilantro and cream cheese finger sandwiches........................................................
Diane's Sugar Cookies (the only recipe I've found that works with my pineapple cookie stamp)

And tea - kept in a tea canister that my Mother gave me when I was 14....................
Served on a tray that my daughter made for me. Not a bad way to spend the day.



Photography By: Ryannan Bryer de Hickman
Sotto Il Monte Vineyards
Top Image: Unknown Artist - If anyone knows who this artist is - please let me know. I've had this image in my files for years .

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing about the beautiful Japanese tea gardens and the lovely Koi fish. Those European Smoked Salmon sandwiches look delicious. Your daughter is very talented, I think the tea tray she made is very unique and special.

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  2. Incredible photos Ry. I do know the man and his family that make the fois bois in San Antonio, but knew nothing of the Tea Gardens. What a great post.

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  3. What a lovely post....I can see that my hushband is making the mini-version of this garden in our garden, but in The Netherlands...We do love this sooo much.
    And what a treat for you from your precious ones.
    Enjoy and thank you.
    Lieve groeten
    Godeliva van Ariadone

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  4. What a Wonderful entry!!! I have been waiting for the re-opening of the gardens so I can show my children...looks like time for a visit... they look far better than they did the last time I went before children...very excited! thanks!

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  5. What a lovely relaxing ritual to immerse yourself in Ry. Those 'Pineapple' Sugar Cookies look fabulous.
    Millie ^_^

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