Before you enter the Ume grove, pause briefly at the subtler tori-style gate, and look behind you. Observe the granite signpost marking the beginning of the Spring section of the Garden. Three similar posts are located throughout the Garden to indicate each season.
The Taira family upon the closing of their nursery donated over 80 Ume trees. The Ume is a Japanese apricot. The fruit is sour and harvested, then dyed and pickled in vinegar with salt. Depending on the season, there is always something to observe. This section is the most spectacular in the early spring, late winter when this becomes a wonderful ocean of white flowers. In the winter we can observe the silhouette of the branch structure.
If you look to your left you can see another mini landscape room or a mini composition. Notice the stepping-stones, which invite the viewer to proceed. At the end of the path is a tsukubai basin. This basin is used to cleanse the hands and face. In this setting it functions as a decorative element, marking a diversion from the pathway.
Also in this section is the landscape room of the spring tempo dai, or waiting shelter. You may choose to rest on a bench in this wooden architectural structure that creates a perfect picture frame of the pond and sego forest. Water is used to create different effects throughout the Garden. The sound of water can be both relaxing, or create excitement. A trickle of water in a stream produces a much different effect than a waterfall.
As you travel through the Ume Grove, notice the various plantings; Ume trees, azalea plants, sago palm, and bamboo, with each plant different in its structure and purpose. Now compare that to the delicate lace leaf maple. Feel the texture of the leaves, like lace. Observe how the color of the tree contrasts with all the green. A small touch of color in an area like this really stands out.
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 16178, Fresno, CA 93755-6178
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