This 10-hectare site is perhaps the most ambitious Japanese garden ever constructed in North America. Ellison, the co-founder and president of Oracle Corporation does not do small projects, though, and Ron Herman's design for this site is said to be very impressive. It is expected to be completed in 2003-2004.
The estate includes a large waterfall, a cascade, a pond and seven buildings. A round stone bridge and pathways lead to a courtyard where guests can see the main residence (north and south wings) over the three-acre pond. The teahouse, which was re-assembled in Woodside after being brought from Japan, stands in a deep forest.
The garden is being constructed by Shigeru Namba, a Japanese garden builder. He has already moved 3,500 tons of rock. About 81,000 cubic yards of earth were moved from the pond and redistributed to make way for hills and islands. Over 500 trees were added to the 700 existing natural trees.
Ellison's early career was in Japan and he fell in love with the country and its culture. He has toured Japan extensively and he's been to most of the famous gardens in Japan, which increased his desire to recreate his favorite Japanese garden - the estate's design is based on that of Katsura Rikyu.
Japan a great stone garden in the sea.
Echoes of hoes and weeding,
Centuries of leading hill-creeks down
To ditch and pool in fragile knee deep fields.
Leafy sunshine rustling on a man
Chipping a foot-square rough hinoki beam;
I thought I heard an axe chop in the woods
It broke the dream; and woke up dreaming on a train.
It must have been a thousand years ago
In some old mountain sawmill of Japan.
A horde of excess poets and unwed girls
And I that night prowled Tokyo like a bear
Tracking the human future
Of intelligence and despair.