As landscape architecture students they understood the power of the Japanese aesthetic as expressed in gardens and thought this would have a wider appeal in the UK. It proved to be true and soon a number of people with experience of creating Japanese landscapes joined in the early development of the Society. Within 12 months over 250 people had joined, and it quickly became apparent that there was a very wide interest in the subject across the country. Now we have a fairly stable base of 600 or so members across the UK and some in other countries.
Our aim as a charity, that status being granted in 2011, is to educate the British public in the subject of Japanese gardens.
We choose to do this by running meetings around the UK, organised by six regional groups, giving lectures, visiting gardens, running practical workshops and so on. We also run regular trips to Japan for our members to study gardens and to experience Japanese culture first-hand. Since 2004 JGS has organised thirteen visits to Japan, visiting over a hundred and fifty significant gardens in various parts of Japan, some many times over.
Three years ago we created a large travelling exhibition entitled ‘Visions of Paradise – the Japanese Garden in the UK
’. This was first shown at the Embassy and has since been to Tatton Park in Cheshire, Norwich Cathedral, the Garden Museum in London among other venues. It will be on show at Chiddingstone Castle in Kent in May and June this year and at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute in October and November. An accompanying booklet with the same title as the exhibition is available from the Society, details on our website www.jgs.org.uk