The roots of my interest extend back to my childhood.

[star jasmine]


When I was a kid, our family occasionally visited relatives in Hawaii. During our visits we would see gardens of tropical lushness. Even back then, I decided that if I ever built my own garden, it would have the same lush feel.

As you all know, life can be busy. There was college, career, and family. There was no time for a garden greater than a few potted plants. Then I noticed that the kids had grown up and I had retired.

In retirement I learned more about gardening: I took training as a Master Gardener; I learned to propagate plants at the UC Davis Arboretum; I grew more potted plants. By then China had been open to the west for a few decades and had refurbished many of its private classical gardens. The UN designated many as World Heritage sites. Experts wrote and illustrated books about them. (I bought a bunch of those books.) Now, after all these decades, I had enough training, experience, and time to believe I could build my own Chinese garden. I was right, but it wasn’t easy. I bought a house with a suitable back yard and made plans. After copious revisions and even more copious sweat I had my own Chinese garden.

Now the plants are well rooted and settled in nicely. I enjoy just being in it. It feels exotic and refreshes my soul.

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