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Landscaping America: Beyond the Japanese Garden - Timeline

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Hoshiko Yamaguchi's Favorite Pine Tree

This black pine tree is Hoshiko Yamaguchi's favorite, a pine tree she plantd back in 1956.

In 1946, Nisei Hoshiko and her husband Eisaku Yamaguchi left the Tule Lake Segregation Center in California with their four children. The family spent the next decade working as farm laborers before purchasing property in 1956 on which Hoshiko planted a handful of black pine seeds that had been sent by her father, who operated a nursery in Hiroshima, Japan.

Starting out in wooden flats, the seedlings were transplanted into the ground after one year. Some were potted and cultivated as miniature trees. Most were moved to areas with more space, where after decades they developed into an impressive grove of full-sized trees. Over the years, all of the trees were “trained” through a process involving the manipulation of their limbs with copper wire and regular seasonal shaping.

Because black pine cannot be imported as trees into North America, this nursery may be the only place in the United States where a volume of mature trees can be obtained. As such, the trees have been transported for planting in landscapes as far away and as diverse as Washington, Arizona, and Connecticut. Trees from these few acres of land now grow in the yards of the Yamaguchis’ children and neighbors as well as on multimillion-dollar estates and in public botanic gardens.

Based on this original

Pine Tree
uploaded by eishida
This is Hoshiko Yamaguchi’s favorite pine tree, photographed in 2007. The photograph was taken by Peter Tolkin. This picture is part of the Landscaping America:Beyond the Japanese Garden exhibition at … More »


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