Rose Garden of| Sakura City, Japan

The Section Featuring Shade Tolerant Roses: On the Top: 'Rush' under the roof, 'Pompon Blanc Parfait', left 'Prosperity'
City of Sakura, Japan | 2019 Calendar
City of Sakura, Japan | 2019 Calendar

A friendship forged by roses & the written word

This article is about a friendship that spans across the globe connecting hearts and minds by roses. This year’s Akira Ogawa’s package included ‘The City of Sakura’ 2019 Calendar with a rose mystery. Perhaps Meilland International can identify the ‘Mystery Rose’ of the Hotta Estate. Past President, Jolene Adams was editor of the American Rose Society American Rose Magazine when she explained she would invite authors from around the globe to contribute in-depth stories educating readers about their history and country’s experience with roses. Akira and I have exchanged calendars ever since I shared how much his story of the Rose Garden of Fukushima meant to me.

This section displays old garden roses originating in China, sent from the Zhun an Rose Garden in China,
This section displays old garden roses originating in China, sent from the Zhun an Rose Garden in China,

‘The Rose Garden of Sakura City’

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The Mystery Rose of the Hotta Estate

“In the estate of the Hotta Family in Sakura City, there is a rose which has been giving beautiful flowers for more than a century in front of the mausoleum holding the bones of the heads of the Family. It is said that the eleventh head of the family, Masatsune Hotta, obtained this rose when he visited Europe, and planted it in his estate.

The Section Featuring Shade Tolerant Roses: On the Top: 'Rush' under the roof, 'Pompon Blanc Parfait', left 'Prosperity'
The Section Featuring Shade Tolerant Roses: On the Top: ‘Rush’ under the roof, ‘Pompon Blanc Parfait’, left ‘Prosperity’

“Every year, from the end of April to the beginning of May, this rose gives hundreds of gorgeous pink flowers, fascinating all the visitors to the estate.”

The Mystery Rose of The Hotta Estate

The Mystery Rose Possibly 19th Century French Origin

Unfortunately, though we have been continuing our effort to identify this rose, we have not yet been able to specify its correct name. We consider it is a rose raised in France during the latter half of the 19th century, and suspect that it might be a variety which existed in Europe in those days, but has been lost there, and now can only be seen in this distant island country in the Far East. We tentatively named this romantic rose ‘The Mystery Rose in the Hotta Estate’.

Sakura Extends Beloved ‘Mystery Rose’ Throughout City

We are now planting this ‘Mystery Rose’ along several streets of Sakura City, dreaming of the days when the city is painted in the colour of this beautiful rose before extending to other cities in Japan.

The Hotta Family Connection To Tokugawa Shogunate

During the Edo Period (1603 – 1867), the  Hotta Family showed its  presence as a family of senior councilors of the Tokugawa Shogunate. The ninth head Masayoshi is widely known as the important government official who negotiated with the American Consul· General Townsend Harris toward the end of the Edo Period.

Features large pastel colored flowers flowers of Tea Roses. The roses covering the gate arch: Right: 'Triomphe de Guillot Fils', left: ' Cl, Devoniensis'
Features large pastel colored flowers flowers of Tea Roses. The roses covering the gate arch: Right: ‘Triomphe de Guillot Fils’, left: ‘ Cl, Devoniensis’

May The ‘Mystery Rose’ Live On & Thrive

The above-mentioned head, Masatsune, is the grandson of Masayoshi, and from 19l0s to 1930s, successively held jobs such as the President of the Japan Agricultural Association and the Imperial Navy Undersecretary.

‘The Mystery Rose in the Hotta Estate’ Description:

  1. Type: Climber (6m to 10m)
  2. Flowering Season: From the end of April to the beginning of May. Non-repeating.
  3. Flowers: Colour: pink Shape: perfect quarterly Fragrance: fruity
  4. Horticultural Classification:        Cl. Tea
  5. Health: Strong, nearly free from diseases and insect damage” *

Cover:   Fragrant Rose Section

This section, displaying the collection of fragrant roses, features a peaceful landscape created by the pale colors of old·fashioned roses. The rose on the near side is ‘Constance Spry’.

January: The Entrance to the Old Rose Section

The Section Featuring Shade Tolerant Roses: On the Top: 'Rush' under the roof, 'Pompon Blanc Parfait', left 'Prosperity'
The Section Featuring Shade Tolerant Roses: On the Top: ‘Rush’ under the roof, ‘Pompon Blanc Parfait’, left ‘Prosperity’

The flowers of old roses decorate the screen and welcome visitors.

On the near side:’Pink Iceberg’; the white rose on the right: ‘Nonoka’ ( wild field flowers); on the scree n: ‘Louise Odier’.

February:    Gallica Roses in The History of Roses Section

On the near side (left): ‘Complicata ‘; on the right: ‘Cardinal de Richelieu’

March:   The Chinese Rose Section

The feature of this section is the large, pastel-coloured flowers of Tea Roses.

The roses covering the gate arch: right: ‘Triomphe de Guillot Fils’;              left: ‘Cl. Devoniensis’

April:    The History of Roses Section

This is the scene which comes into your sight when you enter the garden from the camping ground in the park.

Left: ‘Newport Fairy ‘;  center: ‘Phyllis Byde’; right (back): ‘Raubritter ‘ 

This section displays old garden roses originating in China, sent from the Zhun an Rose Garden in China,
This section displays old garden roses originating in China, sent from the Zhun an Rose Garden in China,

May:   The Chinese Rose Section

This section displays old garden roses originating in China, sent from the Zhun·an Rose Garden in China. Many of them give gorgeous double flowers. Dark pink flowers in the center : ‘Tian·nu·guan’ (meaning “heavenly maiden’s crown”

June:   The Section of Asian Species Roses

Toward the end of May, the pergola is entirely covered with single white flowers.  In autumn, they turn into red hips, dressing it up gorgeously.

The  near,  right side:‘R. .ihpes;          left side: R. mulligan.ii

July:    ‘Yellow Rose Section’

In this collection of yellow roses, flowers with different shades of yellow, from cream to orange, display their unique beauty.

White & Pink Rose SectionWhite & Pink Rose Section; Serentity garden of old garden roses Right trained round a pole: 'Cl Summer Snow', center, covering the pergola 'White Mrs. Flight', left 'Raubritter'
White & Pink Rose Section; Serentity garden of old garden roses Right trained round a pole: ‘Cl Summer Snow’, center, covering the pergola ‘White Mrs. Flight’, left ‘Raubritter’

August:     White and Pink Rose Section

Let’s take a rest for a while, surrounded by white and pink old garden roses, enjoying a sense of serenity you cannot find anywhere else.

Right, trained around a pole: ‘Cl. Summer Snow’; center, covering the pergola: ‘White Mrs. Flight’                         left: ‘Raubritter’

September:       The Santa Maria Valley

This is the section where roses donated by Mrs. Helga Brichet are planted. The creamy flowered rose is ‘Andre Brichet’,  named after her husband.  As they open, the  flowers are tinged with pink, changing their expressions little by little.

The Section Featuring Shade Tolerant Roses: On the Top: 'Rush' under the roof, 'Pompon Blanc Parfait', left 'Prosperity'
The Section Featuring Shade Tolerant Roses: On the Top: ‘Rush’ under the roof, ‘Pompon Blanc Parfait’, left ‘Prosperity’

October:      The Section Featuring Shade Tolerant Roses

This is the section which collects roses which do not mind a shady environment so much. On top of the  pergola: ‘Rush’; under the roof. ‘Pompon Blanc Parfait’; left: ‘Prosperity’

November:      The Section for Roses of Japanese Origin

This is the section where wild roses native to Japan and their hybrids are collected.

In  autumn, their red hips shine against the blue sky. The photo: hips of a variety of R.multi.iora.

December:       The Section Featuring Roses from China

Early in May, gorgeous flowers of a Tea Rose from Qing Yuan Xiang (China) stand out against the R. banksiae in full bloom.

*Information given on the last two pages of the ‘City of Sakura Rose Garden 2019 Calendar

The Rose Garden of Fukushima Wins WFRS Literary Award

The Rose Garden of Fukushima by Maya Moore
The Rose Garden of Fukushima by Maya Moore
The Rose Garden of Fukushima by Maya Moore

The Rose Garden of Fukushima

Review: Before and after photos of the Futaba Rose Garden appeared in an article called â€œRoses Abroad”, written by Akira Ogawa in the July/Aug 2013 issue of The American Rose Magazine of The American Rose Society. I was moved, and stricken with such sorrow and grief for Okada, his family and the people of Futaba Town, I contacted the honorable Akira Ogawa expressing my sincere sorrow for their loss due to the Great East Japan Earthquake measuring 9.0 at 2.46 pm on Friday, March 11, 2011. The earthquake, created the tsunami and subsequent nuclear disaster at the three Fukushima Daiichi reactors which combined effect of loss and devastation shall be felt for generations. Mr. Akira Ogawa and I have stayed in touch. On New Year’s Eve of 2014, I opened a package from Mr. Ogawa, it was the book called The Rose Garden of Fukushima by Maya Moore.

The Rose Garden of Fukushima by Maya Moore
The Rose Garden of Fukushima by Maya Moore

Mr. Ogawa asked that I write a review of Ms. Moore’s book. Akira translated the following book review for Japanese television to promote Ms. Moore’s amazing work that is an important historical work, lest we forget. And I am grateful that Ms. Moore’s book now has been recognized for the literary work of art & historical relevance it is by the World Federation of Roses by naming ‘The Rose Garden of Fukushima’ their literary award winner of 2018.

The Rose Garden of Fukushima by Maya Moore

‘The Rose Garden of Fukushima’ “is the story of one of the “countless narratives that unfolded from the momentous tragedies of the great Tohoku Earthquake and explosion at the nuclear plant”. Ms. Moore tells the story of how the Futaba Rose Garden was designed, built and maintained by one man, Katsuhide “Katz” Okada, and his wife Kazuko and their family over the course of 50 years with pictures of the garden before the earthquake and nuclear disaster of March 11, 2011. With pictures of the garden as it stands now after the disaster occurred and its devastating effects on the landscape. It is very raw and powerful.

A Rose Garden on a Sleeping Dragon

Katz began his dream garden when he was only 17, with the support of his father, and would end up “creating an oasis unparalleled in the country, if not the world.” 50,000 people came to visit the rose garden each year in Futaba Town nestled in Japan’s historical Soma region. Ms. Moore’s book is a pictorial of how a little town and its beautiful garden nestled in a pristine setting so close to a sleeping dragon eventually came to be swallowed up by the beast.

“Natural”, “Green”, “Atmospheric”, “Roses”: Foundation Stones

These are the four key concepts Katz called foundation stones, “Natural,” “Green,” “Atmospheric,” and of course “Roses.” His first task was to modulate the space with visual rhythms. This is a powerful force he put in play with Himalayan cedars and vertical design elements. Ms. Moore’s book is a treasure that captures the visual beauty of the garden’s design elements. It also tells the story of what happened on that momentous day in March on another 11th day we have in common with the people of Japan that changed the world forever when this garden and so many lives ceased to exist. In Ms. Moore’s beautiful chronology of the story of the garden as I turned the pages upon reaching page 82, I began to cry at the sight of the garden as it stands today frozen in the despair of that fateful day.

The Archway of The Futaba Rose Garden After the Nuclear Disaster
The Archway of The Futaba Rose Garden After the Nuclear Disaster

The Archway of The Futaba Rose Garden After the Nuclear Disaster

Remnants of the beauty remain draped in an arbor once so beautiful but now poised as if in anguish shown in the picture on page 85. Some of the pictures actually look like a snarled web of destruction, within a wilderness among wisps of frightened loneliness. The pictures on page 87 depict such barrenness and a statue once beautiful frozen as if asking an eternal question of why? Katz was inspired to tell the history of roses to visitors in a chronology from Wild Roses to Modern Roses so visitors would know the history of roses.

The Rose Garden of Fukushima Archway Before
The Rose Garden of Fukushima Archway Before

The History of The Futaba Rose Garden

The history of the garden hold a lesson we need to remember of the fragility of life. Countless people drew beauty and wonder from the Fukushima Rose garden, now this book by Maya Moore captures this story for all time. I am so thankful that the honorable Akira Ogawa sent me The Rose Garden of Fukushima by Maya Moore, and he wrote about Katz Okada and his Fukushima Rose Garden for The American Rose magazine. Ms Moore captured for all time how one man’s dream became a reality, as it was and as it is today so we never forget. All of life is but a vapor that can be gone in an instant, but hope endures in the human spirit and in all living things. Katz at the end was beginning anew with his roses and Ms. Moore tells the story eloquently. Ms. Moore’s book is a beautiful work that I highly recommend.

Futaba Rose Garden Before the Nuclear Disaster and After

Futaba Rose Garden Before the Nuclear Disaster and After
Futaba Rose Garden Before the Nuclear Disaster and After

2019 Note From Akira Ogawa

The Rose Garden of Fukushima Was Nominated as Winner to the WFRS Literary Award
‘The Rose Garden of Fukushima’ by Maya Moore Was Nominated as Winner to the World Federation Literary Award

Author: Maya Moore

Publisher: Sekai Bunka Publishing

Year: 2014

Language: English

ISBN: 978-4418142361

Magnificent photographs and heart-wrenching story about a real rose garden that perished with the meltdown at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant in Japan in 2011.The roses and their demise depict the personal tragedies that are rarely told.