• Lakeside Park 2017

NAJGA will be holding a two-day pruning workshop and garden tour on Friday and Saturday, July 21-22, 2017 at Lakeside Park.  Lakeside Park is located in the heart of Oakland, California and is a seven-acre collection of themed gardens surrounding Lake Merritt, including a Japanese garden and a bonsai garden.


The workshop is being held in conjunction with the Oakland-based Aesthetic Pruners Association.  Day one will consist of small group on-site pruning demonstrations throughout the various gardens, and will feature presentations by Avram Dalton, Toshikazu Eto and Yuki Nara, all recognized experts in the field who have trained in Japan, each of whom will present his/her various approaches to pruning. Writer Leslie Buck will be on hand to discuss her recently released book, Cutting Back:  My Apprenticeship in the Gardens of Kyoto, and Hida Tool and Hardware (based in Berkeley California) will have an array of Japanese gardening tools available for purchase.

Day two will include a visit to the award-winning Japanese tea garden at Central Park in San Mateo, as well as guided walking tours of four local private gardens, led by experts in the field.  Most of these gardens are not open to the public and are only accessible to attendees of the conference.

Registration will begin in late May and is limited to 45 people.  More details to be posted as they become available.


Toshikazu Eto

Toshi is a third generation Japanese garden builder from Northern Kyushu, Japan. Mr. Eto’s company, Eto Suirakuen, builds all types of traditional gardens including tea gardens, stroll gardens, koi ponds and dry gardens (karesansui). Mr. Eto has worked for his father for most of his career but, as is Japanese tradition, studied under a different garden master for his apprenticeship. In that way Mr. Eto has had the good fortune to study garden techniques from both sides of Japan. Mr. Eto has also had extensive training in the tea ceremony and flower arrangement, which he uses to inform his pruning style.


Yuki Nara

     Born and raised in Japan, Yuki has been a pruner and teacher of aesthetic pruning for almost two decades. Along with her ongoing pruning practice, she has lectured on the subject at numerous symposiums and seminars in the US and Japan. She is a member of the Aesthetic Pruning Association, the Merritt College Aesthetic Pruning Club and the North America Japanese Garden Association.

     Yuki's work is highly intuitive. She specializes in pruning Japanese maples; her pruning style reveals the grace and beauty of the trees. She believes that the integration of philosophy and technique, and a heartfelt connection to the trees is essential to the successful practice of Aesthetic Pruning and ultimate satisfaction of client, pruner, and tree. Website: wayofmaple.com

Avram David Dalton

Avram is a garden builder from Southern California. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Japanese Studies from the University of California San Diego.  After living in Tsukuba Japan as an exchange student, Avram worked for a Landscape Construction Firm in the Tokai region of Japan.  Since returning to the United States he served as Head Gardener of the San Diego Japanese Friendship Garden until starting his own construction company in 2013. His specialties are woven fences and stone wall construction.

Steven Pitsenbarger

     Steven has worked as a gardener at the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park since 2007. He completed the Environmental Horticulture program at City College of San Francisco in 2008. That same year he won the Alice Eastwood Scholarship Environmental Horticulture Award, as well as the Nancy McNear Memorial Award in Horticulture. The money from these two awards funded a trip to Japan where Steven visited more than 30 gardens in Kyoto and Tokyo in the fall of 2008. One surprise from that visit was the profound impact of the karesansui or "dry landscape gardens". Zuiho-in within the Daitokuji complex was a favorite because of the vibrant energy contained in that living work of art.

     In 2013 he won the William Hammond Hall award for excellence in horticulture from the San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department. 2015 he was certified as a Bay Friendly Landscaper.  Steven continues to study the art of Japanese-style gardening with the firm belief that learning is a never ending process.

Leslie Buck

Leslie Buck is a garden designer and aesthetic pruner who specializes in natural design in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has over two decades of gardening experience, and a fine art degree from U.C. Berkeley and the Bordeaux School of Fine Arts in France. In 2000, Leslie studied with Uetoh Zoen, one of the oldest and most highly acclaimed landscape companies in Japan. Leslie has worked, taught, and volunteered in hundreds of private landscapes and as well as dozens of public gardens including the Portland Japanese Garden, Hakone Japanese Garden, Tassajara Zen Center, and Merritt College. 

Dr. Kendall H. Brown

Ken Brown is Professor of Asian Art History at California State University Long Beach. He received BA and MA degrees in history and art history from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University.  His books on Japanese gardens in North America include Japanese-style Gardens of the Pacific West Coast (1998), Quiet Beauty: The Japanese Gardens of North America (2013) and Visionary Landscapes: Japanese Garden Design in North America, The Work of Five Contemporary Masters (October, 2017). Ken served as President of the Board of the North American Japanese Garden Association from 2012-14.   He is also an art historian and has published and curated widely of Japanese art.

Featuring exceptional tools from Japan, Hida Tool is your source for woodworking tools, gardening tools, and kitchen knives that continue the metalworking traditions of the samurai sword makers.


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