Japanese garden brings serenity

Volunteer gardeners Brett, David, Colin, Kathleen, Tara, Jay, Susan with Brian (the dog) and Phil.

Margie Maccoll

A Hoop Pine and a circle of tall eucalypts in the back yard of Katie Rose Cottage Hospice were the inspiration for Kathleen Bolt to begin the creation of its Japanese garden.

A former nursery owner and long term gardener Kathleen was asked to help out with a much smaller zen garden project.

“I looked at the Hoop Pine and had an on the spot idea, let’s do a Japanese garden,” she said.

“I wanted it to marry with the zen garden. The Hoop Pine is very Japanese. I could see the gums had created a circle. I thought that would be a good area for contemplation.”

From the inception of the idea the next step forward was research to determine what was needed to establish a Japanese garden and to find out what Australian natives would grow in the area and would substituted for traditional Japanese plants.

Kathleen said a team of 12 talented volunteers got together in 2018 to put forward ideas for the garden, apply for financial grants for the project, and work out how to progress.

It was decided a tea house, pond and bridges were required. Kathleen said a series of three smaller ponds better suited the landscape than one larger one because of the land’s steep incline .

Phil Barry designed the pond the bridges, and retired builder Bob Lennox built the bridges and tea house, she said.

“We met once a week on a Thursday and slowly, slowly the garden was executed.”

The garden is a work in progress which will blossom as the plants grows.

Kathleen said the community had contributed in many ways. The Cooroora Woodworkers have built two Japanese benches for the garden and locals have donated plants.

Katie Rose chair Carol Raye said she sees the “connectedness” the garden creates.

“I think the gardeners have taken ownership of it. They’re very proud of it,” Carol said.

“It’s not just the hospice, it’s supporting our volunteers.”

The garden has become a place of peace for guests, family members and volunteers of the hospice where everyone is considered family.

“We’re so unique. We’re a home away from home. That’s what we do. We make people feel at home.

“For guests to enjoy the garden, it’s very important.”

Hospice clinical nurse consultant (CNC) Pauline Blunden said the garden had become a place of tranquility for guests and family members.

“Just to step outside with the gardens and other people it takes the stress away,” she said.