Blosson-viewing at Friendship Garden celebrates the arrival of spring

Jim Sawada, right, has recently handed off his job as head gardener at the Friendship Garden to Bernie Zimmer. Photo: Bill MetcalfeJim Sawada, right, has recently handed off his job as head gardener at the Friendship Garden to Bernie Zimmer. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
A group of Selkirk College students from Japan and Korea attended the cherry blossom viewing day at the Friendship Garden in Cottonwood Falls Park. Photo: Bill MetcalfeA group of Selkirk College students from Japan and Korea attended the cherry blossom viewing day at the Friendship Garden in Cottonwood Falls Park. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Shoko Kurizaki taught Japanese calligraphy at the Sakura Hanami celebration at the Friendship Garden. Photo: Bill MetcalfeShoko Kurizaki taught Japanese calligraphy at the Sakura Hanami celebration at the Friendship Garden. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Eeena Kim from Korea and Mina Matsushita from Japan, students at Selkirk College, took part in the flower viewing event. Photo: Bill MetcalfeEeena Kim from Korea and Mina Matsushita from Japan, students at Selkirk College, took part in the flower viewing event. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Guests at the cherry blossom viewing celebration at Cottonwood Falls Park on May 7. Photo: Bill MetcalfeGuests at the cherry blossom viewing celebration at Cottonwood Falls Park on May 7. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Sakura Hanami, or cherry blossom viewing, is an ancient annual tradition in Japan, and it’s catching on in Nelson too.

The event gives family and friends an opportunity to get together and celebrate the arrival of spring, simply by appreciating the beauty of cherry blossoms.

On May 7, the Nelson Izu-shi Friendship Society held a blossom viewing gathering at its Friendship Garden at Cottonwood Falls Park.

Participants of all ages enjoyed Japanese tea and treats, and took part in workshops in calligraphy, kite-making, haiku, and origami.

The Friendship Garden’s founder and its original gardener, Jim Sawada, mingled and chatted.

“I’m not the head gardener any more,” he said, laughing. “Bernie Zimmer is my boss now.”

Zimmer has been volunteering at the garden for many years and is the planner and organizer of a new part of the garden being created on the west side of Cottonwood Creek near the Rod and Gun Club.

The Friendship Garden originated, as an idea, in 1987 when Nelson formed its sister-city relationship with Izu-shi, Japan. Development of the garden started in 2002.

Both cities built gardens to celebrate the relationship. Izu-shi’s garden contains a replica of Nelson’s orange bridge. The large stone lantern in the Nelson’s Friendship Garden was donated by Izu-shi.



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

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