Louisville Waterfont Botanical Gardens Lands $1.5 Million for Japanese Garden

A two-acre reinvention in Louisville Waterfront Botanical Gardens is coming, with new construction underway soon.

The project, the latest development of the popular Butchertown attraction, landed $1.5 million in funds from the state’s latest budget for 2022, according to a statement from the gardens. Ground preparation work for an authentic Japanese garden on a former dump, an effort led by Japanese landscaper Shiro Nakane, will begin later this year.

The new development will be one of only three such garden landscapes outside of Japan, according to the gardens. The only other two projects Nakane has worked on in the United States are the Jimmy Carter Presidential Center Gardens in Atlanta and the National Art Gallery Gardens in Washington, D.C.

Nakane works closely with the Waterfront Botanical Gardens team and Perkins and Willthe architectural firm of Gardens, to develop the new space.

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“This is a perfect example of the state investing funds to ensure that the foundation is laid, literally, for the future growth of a tremendous cultural asset,” Kentucky Senate Speaker Robert Stivers said. in a press release. “These gardens are a unique treasure in Kentucky and this authentic addition will certainly attract more visitors to fuel our economy.”

In which parts of the botanical garden will state money be used?

The $1.5 million will be used specifically to create a construction access road for heavy vehicles from the main driveway and into the gardens. Installation of a new sewage system is underway to improve drainage at the site, a former landfill.

“It’s wonderful to see more and more people from Louisville, across the state and around the world visiting the Waterfront Botanical Gardens,” said Senate Majority Caucus Chair Julie Raque Adams. . “The educational programs and cross-cultural experiences the gardens provide are great for both children and adults. It is a great pride for Louisville to have repurposed this urban space and created such beauty for the enjoyment of so many.

The new garden is expected to include a traditional Japanese tea house, which will introduce park visitors to the Japanese tea ceremony, one of the most symbolic and prestigious rituals in the country’s culture.

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External funding for the authentic Japanese garden

Nakane’s plans include ornate gates used to enter the Japanese garden, a mountain stream, stepping stones, a pebble beach, a waterfall that leads to the new lake, a summer house, a heart-shaped pond, islands, a bamboo grove, trees and shrubs that match the garden setting, and a promenade of carnelian cherry trees native to Southeast Asia.

The authentic garden will also include the Graeser Family Bonsai Garden, a project already underway thanks to a $1 million donation from the Graeser family and a $250,000 donation from bonsai enthusiasts Joe and Debbie Graviss. Other Donors are also involved.

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Construction will begin later this year, according to the release, and is expected to take the Japanese craftsmen about 15 to 18 months.

“This is not just a project that is boosting tourism, but also a project that is culturally significant to the whole of the Commonwealth,” said Metro Council Chairman David James. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to have this great community asset here in Louisville.”

Contact Caleb Stultz at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @Caleb_Stultz.

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