New year, New Faces at Seattle Japanese Garden

Sunny day at the garden
Sunny day at the garden

During the quiet winter months, some exciting organizational changes have been quietly taking place Seattle Japanese Garden.  Photo: Aurora Santiago.

Seattle Japanese Garden received the highest number of attendees to date in 2015, topping 70,000 for the first time in its operational history.  The garden is being embraced and becoming known by a greater number of supporters all the time, as evidenced by the daily growth in Facebook page likes, which increased by the thousands in less than 12 months, too.

With the increased interest comes a greater responsibility to preserve this garden treasure, to share Japanese cultural and gardening traditions, and to benefit garden supporters by offering means of accessing the peace and tranquility of the garden--even when they are physically away from it.

During the winter months, some exciting changes have taken place to better support the garden and its mission.

First, we've welcomed a new Senior Gardener.  Peter Putnicki, who came on board the Japanese Garden staff in late-December. Previously, a Garden Educator with Plant Amnesty and the Portland Japanese Garden, Peter has begun his tenure at our garden by contributing to capital improvement projects taking place, primarily around the north harbor of the pond.  Peter has 20-plus years of experience in gardening, landscaping and tree work with an emphasis on traditional Japanese gardening, and will be applying his considerable expertise to the daily tending as well as long-term planning of the garden.

Second, on January 11, Seattle City Council unanimously voted to approve the transition of the support function of our garden from the Associated Recreation Council to the Arboretum Foundation.  This new partnership between Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Arboretum Foundation was designed to strengthen both the financial and cultural viability of Seattle Japanese Garden.  The Arboretum Foundation will support the special events, marketing, volunteer management and community outreach in addition to fundraising for the garden.  More details on this transition, and associated staffing changes, will be announced shortly.

We at Seattle Japanese Garden are excited about the possibilities ahead, and look forward to greeting our visitors again in March.

Rumi Tsuchihashi is the Support Manager for Seattle Japanese Garden and the editor the garden's blog.