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Considered “the most beautiful and authentic Japanese garden in the world outside Japan,” the Portland Japanese Garden was designed in 1963 by Professor Takuma Tono. Originally showcasing 8 different garden styles, the 12-acre site sees over half a million visitors annually.


During her tenure here, Desirae D. Wood served to ensure the long-term physical and finan­cial well-being of the garden elements of intrinsic value. This included the following major responsibilities (see CV for details):

  • Physical Garden Assets: Hands-on Ongoing, Restoration, and Capital Improvement Proj­ects, Resource Conservation

  • Cultural-Botanical Assets: Chabana Research Botanical Collection and Bonsai Gardens

  • Relationship Assets: Liaison to the City of Portland Bureaus, Garden Resource Commit­tee, View Corridor Protection, and Horticultural Volunteers

  • International Japanese Garden Training Center: Hands-on training, teaching, curriculum and program development, Liaison to the Garden Department

  • Assisted with the launch of the North American Japanese Garden Association

Over the course of her 12 years at PJG, Desi apprenticed in the craft of Japanese traditional garden building with numerous Japanese garden masters. This path demanded patience and stamina but resulted in a very special and unique education. Japanese aesthetics are learned traditionally through action – this takes time and repetition and is known as DENDO. Knowledge is handed down through the oral tradition – KUDEN – this covers skills that may be transcended with words, including the sensibility and sense of beauty. To receive these teachings, one must be present, modest and humble. You get back what you put in. With perseverance as her guide, Desi is continuing from this foundational knowledge and has set a lifelong path to cultivating lessons from this ancient craft in modern times.

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