James and I recently had a wonderful opportunity to visit several Japanese-inspired gardens in Texas, thanks to an invitation from renowned Japanese garden enthusiasts, Don Pylant and Jeanette Schelin. Over two sunny days in Austin and San Antonio, we explored two public gardens with detours to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center and a private residential garden.

On our travels, we enjoyed lively discussions about the art and philosophy behind Japanese gardens. Learning about the challenges of adapting these age-old principles outside Japan–from climate issues to finding the right materials–was eye-opening. We are grateful to Don and Jeanette for not only sharing their wisdom but also showing us the sheer dedication required to mirror the perfection of traditional Japanese gardens in the United States.

This experience has been a profound reminder of the dedication, passion, and resilience needed to bring such beauty and tranquility to life. We returned inspired and with a renewed appreciation for the intricate balance of nature and meticulous care these gardens represent. With all of our friends passionate about gardening, nature, and the calming influence of green spaces, we encourage the support of these precious environments as places of beauty that nourish the soul and bring peace to our hectic lives.

Contributed by Betty Hanselman
Gardener’s wife (& grateful garden visitor)