San Francisco Spring Break – A Visit to the Japanese Tea Garden

I have a general rule of thumb when it comes to Spring Break. Get out-of-town. Why? Because it’s inevitable the weather will be better…most anywhere else.

You may think this an exaggeration but I think not. I remember a few years ago when we were spending Spring break in Phoenix, Arizona and I overheard two ladies discussing weather conditions. They were going on about snow, rain, wind, hail, sleet and an icy mix. Each was consumed with checking their phone weather forecasts and even their Facebook pages for weather updates from friends. After awhile I was finally curious enough to ask where all this crazy weather was happening and sure enough, it was Boise, Idaho!

Therefore this year when we had the opportunity to visit San Francisco during Spring break, we packed our bags and hit the road before the weather gods could get started…

One of the activities we enjoyed during our time in San Fran was a visit to the Japanese Tea Garden located in Golden Gate Park.  This was my first time visiting this garden and the timing seemed perfect.  Although I’m sure it is beautiful any day of the year, I couldn’t help but feel especially lucky to see the glorious Cherry trees in full bloom!  I have a major fascination with Cherry blossoms and these trees fed it well.

The delicate posture of the individual blooms is so alluring….the bold conviction of them amassed upon the branches is arresting.

There are so many  beautifully shaped trees in this garden.  The artistry that has gone into shaping the framework of the trees is so subtle that one may take it for granted.  However gardeners especially, know how to appreciate this art form.

No matter where you glance there is an interesting silhouette to consider.

And how can the contrast between the bright blooming azaleas in the understory of the classic deciduous and evergreen trees not be noticed?  The azaleas seem to serve several functions when taking in the garden scenery.  That of focal point as well as a layer of depth that highlights the plantings nearby, is what occurs to me.  But then again, I’m not well-versed in this sort of design so maybe this is just the way I happen to see it.  One thing I do know is that all of the garden scenery is comforting, relaxing and very pleasant to observe.

It is funny how preferences change and your eyes and heart hold beauty differently as you go through life.  I say this because when I lived in Portland, OR I would not even turn my head to look at an azalea in full bloom.  They were so common.  I usually thought of them as “leftover” plants from gardens that had seen better days or plants that were popular in the “old days.”  Now I see that was my “green” as in newbie, point of view.  Now, after several years of no azaleas in my environment I appreciate their tidy shrub-style and am impressed by the multitude of vivacious flower power they put out every Spring.

Here are some more shots of some of the lovely scenery at the Japanese Tea Garden.

The Japanese Tea Garden is not overly large, just big enough for gardeners to have a true sensory experience (much inspiration on many fronts) and non-gardeners to experience an interesting (so many elements), pleasant 1-2 hour  walk.  My family and I enjoyed the visit very much and it was especially fun to conclude our day having a cup of traditional Japanese tea (Sencha and Genmaicha) at the Tea House while watching happy hummingbirds at work and the cherry blossoms gliding to rest on the water.

How about you?  Do you have a fascination with a certain tree or certain Spring blossoms?  Do you enjoy touring public gardens?  What are some of your favorite open gardens?  Have you toured gardens in Japan?
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