Osborn School has unveiled a Japanese garden in the interior courtyard to provide a natural environment in which students can learn. The garden was created thanks to the efforts of a dedicated Gardening Committee at the school as well as the Japanese PTO. The Committee and parents collaborated with others in the community to bring the garden to fruition after years of discussion.
The Gardening Committee met with Taro Ietaka, a director at Rye Nature Center, who connected them with Kohtaro Tanaka, a RHS student and Life Scout who dedicated his Eagle Scout project to the Japanese Garden development. His parents, scout leader, and fellow scouts all joined in to lend a hand working on the garden and getting others to participate. Kohtaro also involved Mr. Mamoru Takanashi, President of Takanashi Landscape, Inc. and expert in Japanese gardens. Mr. Takanashi donated his time and talent towards the garden design. Mr. Stomu Miyazaki, a professional architecture and interior designer, also volunteered his expertise and assisted with Kohtaro’s project.
The courtyard area already featured a cherry tree, which is common in Japanese gardens. The tree was planted years ago by an Osborn parent in honor of her daughter, Andrea Phillips. Mr. Takanashi strategically placed many very large stones as well as stepping stones, edge stones, white gravel to represent a river bed, and beach colored gravel. He also planted azaleas and junipers. Osborn hopes to eventually add a water basin and a lantern to the garden.
The benefits of outdoor environments and nature experiences are plentiful. They include inner peace; stress reduction; fitness; healing; mental health; creativity; physical, emotional and intellectual developments; bonding with nature; appreciation for nature; and heightened sense of beauty. Additionally, improving the pond as part of the garden installation will benefit the fish, turtles and birds that live in the garden.