The Japanese garden in Cottonwood Falls Park received a facelift last week, with the garden’s creator Hiro Okusa in town to oversee the process of pruning, cleaning up and reconstructing the crumbling rock walls.
“Theres a nice waterfall here, and I took advantage of it. The Japanese maples and the Japanese cherry trees have been very popular, and all the rocks were found here in the surrounding area,” said Okusa, who originally installed the garden ten years ago.
Jimmy Sawada of the Nelson Izushi Friendship Society was helping out, as was a representative from the city. Two Japanese students, Yuki Izu and Akira Nishimoto, accompanied Okusa and put in some time weeding and raking.
Akusa said the park is a labour of love, and does not receive city funding, but recently Mayor Deb Kozak told him they’re investigating ways for the city to help out.
“Every year we have a work party going on here. We’re doing pruning, general cleaning, and this year we undertook rebuilding the crumbling rock walls,” said Sawada.
The Nelson garden has a Japanese counterpart in Izushi, Japan. The gardens are meant to demonstrate the close relationship between the two cities.