Hugo Torii is the Garden Curator at Portland Japanese Garden, making him the 10th to take on this critical role since the Garden opened in 1967. As Garden Curator, Torii helps to keep Portland Japanese Garden true to its original intent and design, while also allowing it to grow and evolve. Torii oversees a team of gardeners and in working with the Chief Curator, is actively involved in the process of all Garden maintenance, keeping in mind the short term needs as well as longer term implications.
Prior to becoming the Garden Curator, Torii spent more than 2 years as the Director of Grounds Maintenance, overseeing the physical aspects of Portland Japanese Garden, its maintenance, and development. In this role, he started several projects that he continues in his current role as the Garden Curator, including building a training structure for the gardening team and starting an exchange program with gardeners from other notable gardens, to continue to position Portland Japanese Garden as a leader and key resource in preserving the art of Japanese gardening.
With a master’s degree in Landscape Design from the Kyoto University of Art and Design, Torii brings a background of studies and experience in both Japanese gardens, Japanese aesthetics in horticulture, and floristry. Prior to his roles at Portland Japanese Garden, Torii spent over three years at Peter Berg Landscape Design in Rheinland Pfalz, Germany, and 12 years at the prominent UEYAKATO LANDSCAPE Co. Ltd., as a gardener and landscape architect in Kyoto, Japan. During this time, Torii managed projects including the Japanese garden and greeneries for the nearly 60-acre Keihanna Commemorative Park, the strolling pond garden at the Yosui-en Garden, and annual maintenance of pine trees at Nijo Castle, a World Heritage Site listed by UNESCO.