Garden Expressions Public Lectures

Our Garden Expressions lecture series provides a platform for sharing new ideas and promoting vibrant discussion about Japanese gardens and their related arts. Acclaimed authors, scholars, and practitioners present on a wide variety of topics in the inspiring setting of the Garden and its venues.

2018 Garden Expressions Lecture Series

Courtesy of Hoichi Kurisu

Hoichi Kurisu – Restorative Landscapes: The Healing Garden at the Oregon State Penitentiary


Renowned garden designer Hoichi Kurisu is collaborating with a group of Oregon State Penitentiary inmates to create a Japanese-inspired healing garden at the state’s only maximum security facility. Kurisu will present the project and lead a discussion about how a garden can lead to redemption and rehabilitation.


Photo by James Bowden

Jake Hobson – Niwaki: Interpreting Garden Trees Outside of Japan


Author, sculptor, and pruning expert Jake Hobson explores the use of trees in Japanese gardens and how to rethink their use outside of Japan. With a sculptor’s eye, he’ll blur the line between east and west for a bold new view on the shape of plants.

Made possible with support from Hasegawa Kogyo Ltd.


Photo by Miko Hayashi

Balazs Bognar – Tradition Serving the Future: Lessons from the Portland Japanese Garden’s New Architecture
April 19 | 2-4pm & 4-6pm

Architect Balazs Bognar will use the new design for Portland Japanese Garden to unpack lessons for the future, focusing on the idea of learning from tradition while updating it to suit contemporary needs. In a lecture exploring themes of materials, details, methods, processes, and spatial experience, Bognar will offer a deeper, more thoughtful understanding of how tradition can inform the future of architecture to foster sensitive designs that serve generations to come.


Photo by Kenji

Ann McClellan – Bonsai: Tiny Trees, Big Stories
May 24 | 1:30-3pm & 4-5:30pm

Join Ann McClellan for a compelling introduction to the world of bonsai and its intriguing cultural history. The author will share fascinating tales of the miniature trees and landscapes, highlighting their famous creators and invaluable and surprising roles in international diplomacy.