California State University, Long Beach
Inside CSULB Logo

Japanese Garden To Debut Documentary, Findings Of Survey

Published: June 15, 2012

Thanks to a $47,000 grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden (EBMJG) at CSULB conducted a detailed conservation survey of its iconic tree collection. The garden is one of only 31 institutions awarded with a conservation grant, providing transformational support in the management of the garden’s specimen tree collection of Japanese black pines, maples and ginkgoes pruned in the ueki style, a cultural art practice.

“This grant provided the funding needed to bring our collections management into the digital age,” said Jeanette Schelin, director of EBMJG. “It will help us maintain the beauty of the garden for many generations to come.”

The project paired Michael Mahoney, a certified consulting arborist, and Dennis Makishima, an educator and highly respected aesthetic pruner, to assess the garden tree by tree. They surveyed each tree for health issues and established its role within the overall design composition of the garden. Garden staff worked to document maintenance practices, digitize records, photograph the collection and establish an online database as a repository for the collected information to be used to train staff and assist future garden administrators.

EBMJG will share its findings from the project and highlight the significance of the collection with an event on Sunday, June 24 from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the garden. “Ueki: the Art of Pruning Black Pines Celebrating a Legacy, 1987-2012” will honor the contribution of Ueki Art Tree Trimming Clubs of America following the annual “Pruning of the Black Pines” workshop from 9 a.m. to noon that day.

The event will feature a presentation of “The Care and Culture of Trees at EBMJG,” a documentary that chronicles interviews with long-time garden curator Vergil Hettick and ueki club members about their relationship with the garden and the significance of artful pruning. A panel discussion will follow with nationally recognized tree specialists including Makishima and Mahoney on best tree management practices and their experiences as consultants on the project.

The community is invited to this free event; however, space is limited and reservations must be made by calling 562/985-2169.

This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support profession development.

The Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden was founded in 1981 as an educational resource for the CSULB campus and the community and continues to serve its purpose through the help of its dedicated volunteers and members. The 1.3-acre hill-and-pond style garden and living museum is open free to the public and houses many varieties of flora, including ueki-style Japanese black pines, maples, ginkgoes, azaleas and Japanese irises. To learn more about EBMJG, visit the garden’s website.

–Anne Ambrose