• About the Friends

FRIENDS OF THE JAPANESE GARDEN’S GOALS ARE:

• Introduce the Garden to the citizens at large through various public festivals and events.
• Restore the cleansing reservoir and redesign the sinking water purification pool.
• Install a deck for easy access to the water in the pond.
• Encourage use of the Garden by Garden Clubs, artists, musicians and other groups.


YOU CAN VOLUNTEER IN THE GARDEN
We need members and volunteers in order to attain our goals. All areas of work are available for potential members. The work could range from actual gardening to more of an organizational assignment or public relations/fund raising part of our future.


Incorporated in 1984 as a non-profit, 501 (C)3 organization, Friends of the Japanese Garden was, at that time, a group of volunteers dedicated to salvaging and restoring SAN-AI-EN (Three Loves Garden) to its original splendor following a period when the Garden maintenance was neglected for lack funds. Also, during this period of neglect, an influx of homeless began to use the Garden and the Teahouse as their home which resulted in significant destruction and deterioration of the property. Members of Friends of the Japanese Garden (FJG) dedicated every weekend to repairing the Garden. They began to pull weeds – some weeds exceeding the heights of the members. They then unearthed a pond beneath the thick growth and discovered a foot of sludge that needed to be removed. The work seemed unending. However, all of the work was a true labor of love for these workers as they envisioned a newly restored SAN-AI-EN.

Beginning in 1984 and continuing for several years following, Friends of the Japanese Garden decided to hold annual Spring Festivals in early May. While the Garden was not in usable condition, the City of Miami gave FJG permission to use the adjacent grassy field to hold the Festival. The City of Miami provided a large stage on wheels for shows. The shows included Taiko drummers, Martial arts, Japanese Dance and Bonsai demonstrations among other cultural acts. In addition, tents were rented for between 30 to 40 vendors of Asian food and products. The focus for the group now became introduction of Japanese culture through events at the Garden and sometimes at venues away from the Garden such as classical Japanese Dancers and professional Koto players in concerts at Miami Dade Junior College. Following the devastation the Garden suffered from Hurricane Andrew, FJG paid a commercial gardener to do the minimum maintenance for the Garden. But, the Garden was eventually closed by the City of Miami in 1997 when the City leased 18 acres of land (including the Japanese Garden acreage) to Parrot Jungle for a theme park to be called Jungle Island. The City promised to move and rebuild the Japanese Garden to another site east of the new theme park. With the advent of the new Garden, ICHIMURA MIAMI JAPAN GARDEN, opened in 2005, the role of FJG gained a new perspective. Along with planning cultural events at the Garden, FJG took on the assignment of bringing in authentic Japanese elements to this Garden. The first item was the acquisition of a new Stone Lantern from Japan. Presently, this is the only perfect stone lantern in the Garden. The many art objects which had adorned the original Garden no longer existed.

Much more work awaits the Friends of the Japanese Garden in the new Garden, the most ambitious and important of which is the building of a Teahouse!

Ms. Agnes Youngblood, Founder
Mr. Richard Freelander, Past President
Mr. Rick Del Vecchio, President
Mr. Hirama Koichi, Vice President
Ms. Teiko Koide
Mr. Robert Parente
Mr. Robert Young
Ms. Mieko Kubota
Ms. Connie Stieger
Mr. Mark Ingmir
Ms. Michiyo Ishii-Sloane
Mr. Mike Poller