Open late April to October on Saturdays and Sundays 11:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m Call to confirm for hours and special events.
$5; no reservations are required. $10 for tour with tea ceremony (reservations required)
Added to JGarden:
The Humes Japanese Stroll Garden in Mill Neck, N.Y. is designed on a very sloping 4-acre site of deeply wooded land adjacent to a wild life sanctuary. The garden was begun in 1960 upon the return of Ambassador and Mrs. Humes from Japan. They became interested in Japanese gardens, and over the following four years, engaged the services of a Japanese garden designer and his wife. The garden was given to the Wild Life Sanctuary in 1980 by Ambassador Humes, and his Foundation was started for the purposes of maintenance and preservation. Upon his death, Ambassador Humes left the garden to the Foundation and the garden opened to the public in 1987. The Garden Conservancy assumed care, management and preservation in 1993. The local Long Island Community has been providing volunteers to assist in maintenance, visitor services and special events. The garden is one of few northeast examples of traditional Japanese garden design.
The garden is a combination of several design concepts and immediately evokes (quite successfully) the sensation of yamazato, the transcendent feeling of a deep, remote mountain hamlet. These design concepts are conditions that were common of, and quite mandatory for Japanese garden and landscape design. There is a scenic representation
of a lake garden (without an 'island') which contains a water condition dating far back into Heian imperial design (circa 790) in the 'bottle gourd' traditional configuration. The lake garden is authentically replicated on a plateau of land midway through the garden, at a point approximately midway up the elevation. The lake is also pleasantly viewed from the windows of the cha-shitsu (tea house), so participants in wabi-cha (tea ceremony) will have meditative surroundings. The house was brought to America by Ambassador Humes and is characteristic of the
shoin-dzukuri form set forth in the Ashikaga period (1300's). This house is the largest and dominant architectural form within the garden, recessed behind specimen plantings of evergreens, bamboos, and the famed 'tortoise' planting of shrub and rocks (symbolizing longevity)- a very essential element of imperial garden design, as well as an essential element of the calligraphic art of the old masters. The water of the lake garden religiously evoked a principle tenet of Zen Buddhism:
paradise or eternity was a water garden and was the heavenly abode of Amida (a very benevolent deity). Along the roji are several yatsuhashi, which are plank bridges and although these were originally functional, they serve as more transitional spaces within the garden. Entering from the guests entrance, one passes over the yari-mizu (drawn stream) which winds its way into the garden and the pond. Aesthetics characteristic of Japanese garden and landscape design relate directly to the Buddhist and Shinto elements of beauty: appreciation of age; impermanence;
imperfection; perishability; simplicity; irregularity; incompleteness: understatement: and mystery.
The Japanese stroll gardens have been found in history dating back centuries, and the design elements are extremely different when compared to Western gardens. There are very specific principles governing all gardens in Japan, be they small tsuboniwa (courtyards), monastic retreats or residential properties, and some of the grander imperial gardens still exist in towns such as Kyoto and Nara. The primary element of Japanese garden design is symbology, for the garden is a compilation of metaphors based in the religions of Shintoism and Buddhism, where the gods inhabit nature. The garden was designed to compress the sensory qualities of the natural world into a small space of land, in most cases, no more than a few hectares. The design elements conformed to the principles of architecture at th