Red Cedar Mountain temple has begun a total renovation of our entry courtyard garden. The existing garden was created as part of the preparations for the Mountain Seat Ceremony in the fall of 2000 during which Josho Pat Phelan was installed as our abbess. New features included a tin-roofed structure housing our temple bell, a koi pond, and many plantings.

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Recent view of our garden, koi pond not visible to far right

Many individuals linger in the garden, observing the koi (two of the original 5 survive) and plants as they bloom from spring into winter. Over the years, the plants have changed, a new entryway and entrance was added and a new access ramp. A small shrine in one corner houses a figure of jizo  and serves as our work altar. But more than fifteen years after its creation, the garden needed serious attention. One of the cedar supports for the bell structure roof was rotting; the railings on the access ramp were hard to maintain, and warping; the koi pond needed to be moved because it is too close to the utilities meters on the building.

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Garden in 2004, before new ramp and entrance

Because gardens are a traditional feature of Japanese temples, and becuase of the many upgrades to our public spaces in recent years, it seemed time to attend to the ‘front room’ of Red Cedar Mountain Temple. Accordingly, the board of directors approved a project to redesign the garden according to Asian principles and using natural rocks, a new pond and water feature, and native plants. In addition, we decided to move the existing steps to center on the new front door, replace the railings, and move the bell structure away from the ramp and more audible to those in the building. Work on the carpentry aspects has begun (June 2016) and the garden work will start in July.

Updates will be posted regularly. Anyone interested in making a donation to support the project may do so here.