Japanese garden closed for post-Wilma restorations
By Deserae del Campo
After South Florida's damaging hurricane season, the Ichimura Miami-Japan Garden on Watson Island is closed until it can be restored to its pre-hurricane beauty, according to a Miami official.
"The garden did receive damage from Hurricanes Wilma, Rita and Katrina," said Meredith Nation, senior project representative for the city's economic development agency. "The park naturalist assigned to the garden has made some repairs, but work remains to be done."
Although a perimeter wall designed to block sound from MacArthur Causeway protects the garden, some plants fell victim to high winds from the three hurricanes.
"The plants look scorched of their leaves, and some palm trees fell over," said Jeff Shimonski, director of horticulture for nearby Parrot Jungle Island.
The city committed $115,000 for the construction of the perimeter wall.
Funding for the garden reached $855,000 when it was reopened in April 2004. Ko Kodaira, consul general of Japan, presented a grant of 20 million yen - about $184,000 - to city commissioners.
"New plants and other materials are added to the garden on an ongoing basis," Ms. Nation said. "The most recent additions were aquatic plants added in October as part of an overall pond maintenance."
The garden was opened in 1961 as San Ai-En Japanese Garden by Kiyoshi Ichimura, founder of Ricoh Corp. It was closed for several years after it was destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
City parks staff has been assigned to assist in the garden cleanup, said Ms. Nation. "They have put forth a tremendous effort and have been working overtime since Hurricane Katrina."