This past week I revisited a little, hidden gem within the city of Tacoma that I sometimes refer to as my haiku garden. Located on the campus of Tacoma Community College sits a traditional “waterless” japanese garden. I had first heard of it a few years ago when the garden was dedicated in 2007, and I was itching to pay it a visit to explore and take photos. I love japanese gardens. Every inch of a traditional japanese garden is carefully planned with flora that will ensure aesthetic beauty throughout the seasons. This particular garden I am referring to is named The Babe and Herman Lehrer Japanese Friendship Garden. One is greeted by the title plack mounted to a large rock directly in front of the garden.
The very first time I visited the garden, I was the only one there as it was on a weekend and few students roam the campus then. But by a stroke of good fortune, the founder of the garden, Babe Lehrer, just so happened to pay a visit to it as well while I was in the middle of my photo session. Needless to say, I was thrilled to have personally met this astounding woman who has been so active in the local Tacoma community for so many years. She has been a Board Member of the Tacoma Community College Foundation for the past 26 years and had worked tirelessly as a fundraiser to bring to fruition the Friendship Garden. For a more detailed description of the history of the garden, you can read an article published in an edition of the Tacoma Weekly. The “waterless” garden’s large boulders are a symbolic representation of Mt Rainier, and the channel of smaller rocks and stones represent the waterfalls and rivers coming down from the mountain. How poetic! This is why I refer to the garden as a “haiku garden.” As I cross the long, flat, stone bridge and carefully follow the stone pathways throughout the garden, I become immersed in a different world. Exquisitely engraved stone monuments and traditional stone lanterns pop into view with every few steps taken. My camera lens sees a different world as well. Though the garden takes up a small amount of space on the college campus, it has many secrets just waiting to be discovered by those who dare to take the time to find them.