Our gardens are a major part of the dojo asthetic and have been designed by Mitsugi Saotome Shihan (“Sensei”), Patty Saotome, Dojo Members, and even some members who have been on staff at the US Botanical Gardens. We take pride in the fact that our gardens are a terrific environment to transition from daily activity into the space that the dojo has become. Our members frequently tend to the front and back gardens and can be found pruning, weeding, planting, trimming, raking, and watering. This can supplement training in ways that are indescribable, and our members benefit from a meditative experience on the verandas looking out onto nature with the birds and other animals that also share the space.

Front Garden

The front garden contains a variety of plants, beautiful dogwoods, magnolia, Japanese Wisteria and a special rock from members as a gift to the dojo and Mitsugi Saotome. As the Saotome family crest contains Japanese Wisteria, our members ensure that these fragrant flowering vines are kept in good order as a sign of thanks for the generosity, care, and mission our teacher has bestowed upon us.

Plants in the Front Garden

  • Boxwood
  • Crepe Myrtle
  • Flowering Dogwood
  • Japanese Dogwood (“kousa”)
  • Lamb’s Ear
  • Laurel
  • Magnolia
  • Orange Lily
  • Oriental Lily
  • Purple Coneflower (Echinacea)
  • Rose
  • Sedum
  • Solomon’s Seal
  • Tulips
  • Vinca
  • Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar
  • Wisteria
  • Various Mosses

Zen Garden

Mitsugi Saotome designed the rear garden with students to serve as a meditative space in what used to be a drive for accessing the garages that the dojo was built out of. Yes, it used to be a concrete pad! Black bamboo from the mountains of Japan, bonsai, mosses, specially ordered rocks, and a Japanese Cherry grace the garden to the rear of the dojo. Birds, squirrels, and opposums frequent the garden and members can take early morning opportunities to meditate on the veranda.

Mornings are delightful for pre-practice meditation, and you can find some members meditating at this time.

Rear Zen Garden and Veranda for Meditation and Gatherings

Plants in the Zen Garden

  • Black Bamboo
  • Japanese Cherry
  • Japanese Maple
  • Juniper
  • Japanese Iris
  • Various Mosses