Gardening for World Peace
The United States dropped nuclear bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 69 years ago, bringing about the end of World War II and ushering in the atomic age. Last fall, I was fortunate to be invited to attend a Japanese flower show dedicated to world peace in the shadow of Nagasaki, the last city to survive a nuclear attack. This was Japan’s fourth annual Gardening World Cup, held in a slightly surreal 18th-century Dutch-inspired theme park called Huis Ten Bosch, complete with canals and windmills and wooden shoes. Getting there wasn’t easy. After the long transpacific flight to Tokyo, I faced another two-hour flight plus a lengthy train ride to get to the southern end of the country, near the city of Sasebo. After more than 30 hours of travel, I finally found myself—rumpled and exhausted—at the Hotel Europe, one of several well-appointed hotels within the theme park. Sixteen designers were chosen for the exhibition—six from Japan, two each from New Zealand and South Korea, and one each from England, France, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, and the United States. The designer representing the United States was my friend Michael Petrie, a veteran of many Philadelphia Flower Shows. The theme was “A Prayer for World Peace through Gardens and Flowers,” especially fitting for a flower show so close to Nagasaki. I met up with friend and photographer Rob Cardillo, and we decided to focus our attentions on our five favorite garden designers and their entries: Michael Petrie (United States), James Basson (France), Xanthe White (New Zealand), Lim In Chong (the inspiration for each of their thought-provoking entries. Malaysia), and Leon Kluge (South Africa). Check out the results of our visit in the Fall 2014 issue of Country Gardens, on sale now!