National Garden Festival

History of the
Japanese Garden

The design for the Japanese Garden was conceived in 1970, construction started in 1971 and it was completed in 1974.  It represents a gentle, horticultural gesture of sister ship between two sister cities, Buffalo and Kanazawa, Japan.  Located on 6 acres along Delaware Park’s Mirror Lake, the original design contained over  1,000 plantings, nearly 20 globe-type lights, three small islands connected to the mainland by bridges.

 

In 1983, the City and the adjacent Buffalo Historical Society began efforts to renovate the Garden.  The upper banks were cleared of overgrown vegetation, the bridge was repaired, the islands were replanted and a seating area developed on the main island and extensive new plantings of trees and shrubs were completed along the shore and paths.  During the mid-1980s, the main path along Mirror Lake was also reconstructed as part of a larger pathway development throughout the park.

 

In 1994, An Ad-Hoc friends of the Japanese Garden group was established and with the newly elected Mayor Anthony Masiello, submitted a grant proposal to the city of Kanazawa Japan to fund the redesign and construction of the Garden landscape.  Design and construction was undertake over the following couple of years,  American Landscape Architects working hand in hand with Japanese Garden designers, American contractors working together with a highly skilled Japanese Garden crew.  The islands were restored with specimen Japanese Pines and Maples pruned by Japanese Garden experts, a natural stone stairway was installed using stones brought over from Japan, and several stone lanterns in addition to a Japanese Shinto Gate were imported from Japan for the Garden.

 

In July 2004 the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy took over the maintenance and management of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks.  Partnering with the Friends of the Japanese Garden the BOPC has made great strides to raise the level of maintenance in the garden, support cultural events, and make capital improvements to the focal landscape along Mirror Lake.

 

In 2008 the BOPC was awarded $1.2 million for improvements to the Jesse Kregal Scajaquada Creekside Trail by the Buffalo and Erie County Standing Committee of the Niagara River Greenway Commission.  A part of the proposal was to rehabilitate the deteriorated Japanese Garden.  The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy has just recently been able to commence the design development process for the rehabilitation of the Japanese Garden.

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