UPDATE MAY 2016
On Sunday, May 15, from 2 - 6 pm, the real Mitsuko En will be open
as part of The Garden Conservancy Open Day Tours.
Check it out on the
Conservancy webpage or the
AA E-Zine calendar.
Dr. Kendall Brown recommended four garden
designers. Dr. Brown spoke at the Wang Center last year and is the
Quiet Beauty: The Japanese Gardens of North America. He is Professor
of Asian Art History at Cal State Long Beach and President of the North
American Japanese Garden Association.
The first donation was received from one of Dr Collver's grad TA's who
was married in Mitsuko En and there have been more donation offers but
acceptance is on hold pending a formal fund being set up in the Stony
WANTED: LOVERS OF JAPANESE GARDENS
Help turn the back lawn area of the
Charles B. Wang Asian/American Center into Misuko En - a beautiful Kyoto
style flowering Japanese garden.
Pictured above, and within walking distance of campus, is just such a
traditional garden. It was created by Sociology Professor Emeritus Andy
Collver for his wife Mitsuko. He started it over 45 years ago and each
year added to it, pruned and shaped it, all to keep the love of his life
happy. It is called Mitsuko En. You can see more photos of it
Mitsuko was also an integral part of the
University community. As a librarian in the Melville Library, she
conceived and built one of the first serials departments anywhere in the
US and before her retirement was head of Special Collections. But she
was most well known for providing beautiful ikebana floral arrangements
for events from her garden.
Mitsuko passed away in 2013 and Andy, also in his 80's, wanted to
somehow keep Misuko En alive. His first dream was to donate it to the
University to be used by visiting scholars. But since the property is
one house away from the University and therefore not contiguous, as well
as no department having the money to ensure its upkeep, that plan hasn't
So, in talking to Jinyoung Jin of the Wang
AAC, a new idea is percolating - to recreate Mitsuko En in the large,
rarely used area next to the koi pond behind the theatre. You can see
the plans while in Wang at the
February Explore History: Objects from Asia Exhibit: Mitsuko's Garden -
A Bit of Kyota in Stony Brook.
But alas, the Wang AAC is broke - it has no endowment - so Andy has two
a) Find a rich lover of Japanese gardens
to donate the costs - or at least matching funds.
b) Do an online crowd funding campaign a
la Bernie Sanders style - as Andy calls it - "a people's garden". This
needs a tech savvy student, staff or faculty member to set it up. Please
The funds raised, which would go through
the Stony Brook Foundation, would be used to
- get a professional design made up - (one
that even hides the new dorms so the Japanese Noh style theatre windows
can be used again)
- have the garden built
- have an endowment for its upkeep.
Anyone who can recommend a professional
landscape designer with expertise in Japanese style gardens, that info
is needed too. (List below from Google search but their quality is
c) And hopefully that would lead to the
same sort of thing being done to all the other garden areas. Each
"square" around the koi pond was meant to represent the garden of a
different country or area - Indonesian lilies - Chinese tree peonies
(two were already planted by Wang Center architect PH Tuan) - Indian
marigolds - jasmine and lotus from it seems everywhere in Asia. The two
container gardens of bonsai and orchids. The foundation plantings. Real
bamboo in the bathrooms.
Just imagine, at Sakura Matsuri each year
there would be real cherry blossoms!
Anyone interested in helping this project move forward can contact Andy
Dr. Andrew Collver
58 Aspen Lane,
Stony Brook, NY 11790