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Since its opening in the Arboretum 60 years ago, the Seattle Japanese Garden has been a place of connection for many Seattle residents and visitors—a place to connect to community, nature, and the unique, intentional narrative experience that the Garden offers.

A crucial aspect of this Garden is maintenance: painstaking maintenance of both the physical elements (trees, shrubs, rocks and water) and, perhaps more significantly, the original intention of the designers. Both types of maintenance—physical and conceptual—must be responsive and adaptive to the dynamic forces of nature so that, as the Garden ages and develops, it grows closer to, rather than farther from, its original intention.

In the special 60th anniversary issue of the Arboretum Bulletin, head gardener at the Japanese Garden Pete Putnicki describes how he and his team work to maintain the authentic vision of the Garden’s designers in the face of constant change.

Photo: Gardeners finger-pruning a pine tree in the Japanese Garden. (Courtesy Aurora Santiago)