10th Anniversary Celebration of the Garden's Teahouse

Festivities Include Celebrations of Japanese Culture Throughout May

April 4, 2013

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

Santa Barbara, CA –– (April 4, 2013)
The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is pleased to offer a variety of activities celebrating Japanese culture during the month of May. Centered around the 10th anniversary of ShinKanAn–the traditional Japanese Teahouse–a very special authentic tea ceremony and "open house" will be offered the weekend of May 4 and 5. Later in the month, on May 18 and 19, The Bonsai Club of Santa Barbara will showcase and sell their beautiful miniature trees during an Exhibition & Sale.

The Teahouse 10th Anniversary Celebration

This year, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden celebrates the 10-year anniversary of ShinKanAn with special activities on May 4 and 5. On Saturday, May 4, guests may join us for a tea offering at 1:00pm with tours of the teahouse before and after the ceremony at either 12:00pm or 2:00pm (assigned). Traditional Japanese sweets, Matcha (finely ground green tea), and a light lunch will be served on the Garden‘s Arbor Terrace. This event is limited to 100 guests. Advance reservations are required by calling 805-682-4726 ext. 102 or online. Tickets are $10 for SBBG members and $15 non-members.
On Sunday, May 5, the Teahouse will host an "open house" with ongoing tea ceremony demonstrations by tea school students from 10:00am to 2:00pm.
Every second Saturday of the Month from Noon – 2:00pm visitors and members are welcome to experience our ShinKanAn Teahouse and Garden. Trained Teahouse volunteers are available to answer questions about the rich traditions of the Japanese tea ceremony.

The History of ShinKanAn

Before finding its permanent home at the Garden, this lovely, small, traditional building had been hidden in a private spot on a lemon orchard in Hope Ranch for almost 50 years, rarely seen. In partnership with Urasenke Tankokai of Los Angeles, the Teahouse was painstakingly relocated thanks to the support of the Santa Barbara-Toba (Japan) Sister City Organization, and has become a valuable resource for the community to enjoy. Through the dedication of Mme. Sokyo Kasai, tea master and curator of ShinKanAn, the Teahouse is now a place for authentic tea ceremony, Chanoyu. Mme. Kasai studied under Mme. Sosei Matsumoto, a tea master, now 90 years old and still teaching in Los Angeles. Mme. Matsumoto presented tea in the traditional manner to President Harry Truman and Japanese Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida commemorating the historic signing of the US-Japan Peace Treaty in San Francisco in 1951. The Garden hopes to have Mme. Matsumoto in attendance at the Teahouse Celebration on May 4. In May 2003, the Garden‘s Teahouse was officially inaugurated as an Urasenke Teahouse in a special ceremony and was officially named ShinKanAn—"Look Through the Heart"—by The Urasenke Tea School located in Kyoto, Japan, in honor of Heartie Anne Look for all of her contributions to Japanese culture for the people of Santa Barbara. The Garden Club of Santa Barbara provided funds for the tea garden‘s development, with the original design by prominent landscape architect, Grant Castleberg. A tea garden has specific constraints which needed to be incorporated into the design: greenery is preferable to color; natural simplicity is selected over stylized shaping; and a feeling of solace is desirable. In keeping with Japanese artistic tradition, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden created a Roji (tea garden) using California native plants exclusively. The authentic tea ceremony always features simple, delicate flower arrangements called Chabana (tea flowers) – and are presented in the style of Rikyu ("as picked from the field"). The Garden's Teahouse is cared for and kept in the time-honored style by the students who practice there on Tuesdays and Saturdays, when visitors are welcome to enjoy the ambiance of the authentic Japanese style.

The Bonsai Exhibit and Sale

The skillfully trained miniature trees of the Bonsai Club of Santa Barbara will be on display in the Blaksley Library on May 18 and 19. Visitors will view bonsai, a Tokonoma (formal display), accessory plant, and Japanese scroll. In the Courtyard, guests can speak with Bonsai Club members, view native California plant displays in bonsai form, and purchase a bonsai of their own. Bonsai demonstrations will take place at 1:00pm both Saturday and Sunday. Bonsai loosely translates to "tree in tray" and the amount of attention needed to care for the trees while manipulating their growth makes them an art form. The tree is never in a finished state, only in the best state for the moment. Bonsai is known for intricate ceramic tree containers. The roots of bonsai trace back to Indian and Chinese Buddhists who called bonsai Penjing. As many Japanese immigrated westward so did the art form. The Bonsai Club, started in 1971, cultivates a learning environment where students of all levels grow. Today, the club's oldest tree is one hundred years old and on its third owner. Some members have just begun and others have forty years of experience. The club meets on the second Tuesday of each month from 7-9pm and has a workshop featuring guest experts every third Saturday with two sessions: one from 9am-Noon; the other from 1-4pm and meet at the Goleta Valley Community Center, 5679 Hollister Avenue. Beginners are welcome.

For more information on the Bonsai Club, contact Tom Post at (805) 964-2717 and view their website at www.santabarbarabonsai.org

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About the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden: 
The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is a 78-acre educational and scientific institution fostering the conservation of California’s native plants and serves as a role model for sustainable practice in Santa Barbara, California. The Garden was founded in 1926 and is among the nation’s oldest botanic gardens focused exclusively on native plants.

To arrange an interview or to request high-resolution photos, please contact:

SBBG Communications Coordinator
(805) 682-4726 ext. 132