View all News & Photos

Our Garden Community: Conserving What We Love

“In the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught .”

Those words from conservationist Baba Dioum perfectly sum up what we do at the International Japanese Garden Training Center.

Waza to Kokoro Seminar / Photo by Jonathan Ley

This past year, the Center brought acclaimed researchers, authors, and designers— Ron Herman, Marc P. Keane, Leslie Buck, and Kendall Brown— to share their extensive knowledge and experience with our Garden community. This year’s programming included five popular Garden Workshops for the general public and our long-established Haiku Alive program, which serves students in the Parkrose School District. We are still beaming with delight after our sold-out seminar, “Waza to Kokoro: Hands and Heart — The Use of Stone in the Japanese Tea Garden.” A participant described it as “one of the greatest learning experiences” of his life.

In 2018, we’ll be back with these programs and more – serving the Center’s mission: providing a place in North America for learning the skills and techniques for creating and stewarding Japanese gardens while acquainting learners with the cultural heart and soul of Japanese garden arts.

2018 Waza To Kokoro: Hands and Heart Seminar Series

Waza to Kokoro Seminar / Photo by Jonathan Ley

The three levels of the Waza to Kokoro seminar are designed to realistically help Japanese gardens serving communities across the country meet the need to find authentic, locally-appropriate solutions in design, construction, maintenance, and preservation. Admission is also open to landscape design and construction professionals, and students of landscape-related disciplines. 2017’s seminar was intermediate-level. In 2018, the offering will also include an entry-level seminar as well, that will provide an opportunity for a wider audience to enjoy this multifaceted educational experience. Applications for both the beginner and intermediate level seminars are now being accepted.

The planned dates are:
Intermediate-level seminar: July 19-30, 2018
Beginner-level seminar: September 20-27, 2018

Waza to Kokoro Seminar / Photo by Jonathan Ley

The seminar’s core focus is on stonework in the Japanese tea garden, taught by visiting Japanese instructors and Portland Japanese Garden staff. A traditionally-grounded, hands-on learning process is supplemented with preparatory theoretical instruction in drawing, design, garden history, aesthetics, traditional tool use, pruning techniques and other topics. The art form of tea ceremony provides an experiential cultural context. The various threads of the seminar are woven together to offer an immersive learning experience of not just the techniques but the cultural heart of the Japanese garden.

Dates shown are subject to change. The International Japanese Garden Training Center is supported by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership. To learn more or register for programs, please visit

-Kristin Faurest, Ph.D.
Director, International Japanese
Garden Training Center