The Japanese Garden in Van Nuys, CA, shares the same entrance and grounds as the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant. So is it a garden or is it a sewage reclamation plant? How about both?
The Japanese Garden, composed of water, plants and pathways is a 6½ acre authentic Japanese garden fashioned after “stroll gardens” constructed during the 18th and 19th centuries for Japanese Feudal lords.
The Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant (DCTWRP) was designed to produce reclaimed water to relieve the overburdened portions of the wastewater collection system between the San Fernando Valley and the city’s main wastewater treatment facility, the Hyperion Treatment Plant, located in Playa del Rey, roughly 25 miles away.
Some of the water processed in the tanks at the plant is reclaimed and used for the Japanese Garden (and the Lake Balboa Recreation Area in the same proximity).
As you know by now, about once a month I tag along on my mother’s assisted living group outings. It’s good for her to get out and see the world. And, admittedly for selfish reasons, I enjoy the trips too! There are many different Japanese gardens around the Los Angeles area but I had never been to this one before.
It is described as the garden of water and fragrance. Well, it is a sewage treatment plant so the “fragrance” was a little ripe, but not uncomfortable.
The garden incorporates three classical designs: a dry karensansui, a wet garden with promenade chisen, and an authentic tea ceremony garden with tatami mat tea room.
There is no separation between the garden and architectural structures according to Japanese design concepts.
The waterfall is designed in three tiers: upper “heaven,” middle “man,” and lower “earth.” The waterfall is the main entryway of water from the sewage reclamation plant into the gardens. About three million gallons of reclaimed water pass through the lake on a daily basis.
The interior of the tea house. It is a house of peace, and visitors who have brought weapons, such as Samurai swords, must leave them outside!
Many of the concepts and esthetics involved in traditional Japanese gardens stem from Zen Buddhism.
Dr. Koichi Kawana, the designer of the gardens, pioneered the idea of creating traditional Japanese gardens with plants native to the location of the garden. He died in 1990 at age 60.
An important concept in the garden is “simplicity” or kanso. Simplicity means the achievement of maximum effect with minimum means. Buildings, bridges, fences, and pavement all utilize natural material constructed in an imaginative and refined manner.
The Western concept of “an instant garden” is unknown in Japan. With time and proper care the true beauty of the properly designed garden will manifest itself.
My favorite part of the garden was the lily pond. Following are several photos of that area:
The green “fuzz” in the foreground are the seeds from the lilies.
The lily pads are humungous… all that good fertilizer!
Monet would have gone crazy seeing this lily pond!
In the dry parts of the garden, islands are symbolized by rocks of different sizes and interesting shapes.
Trees and plants displayed in the Japanese garden are closely interwoven with the spiritual and physical life of the people. The pine is a major basic structural tree. Traditionally it is called tokiwa and, as an evergreen, expresses both longevity and happiness.
Wet Heron Lantern. A lantern is primarily for decoration but can be placed where light is needed in a garden, such as this junction of the pathways. Early lanterns were metal while later ones were carved from stone.
The Administration Building for the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant has received many architectural awards.
And we leave the peace, harmony and seclusion of the Japanese Garden to be hurled back into the world of traffic and freeways.
Info source: http://www.thejapanesegarden.com/index.html
Please click on all the photos for a larger view.
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