BACKGROUND: Don Pylant is the principal owner of The Woodland Company with 3 decades in horticulture and garden design and a passion for Japanese gardens.
During his tenure as Director of Horticulture at Dallas Civic Garden Center in Fair Park, Dallas, Texas, he spent time at nearby Fort Worth Botanical Garden's beautiful Japanese garden, inspiring what would become a deep appreciation of Japanese gardening. In 1980, Don moved back home to San Antonio to become part of the brand new San Antonio Botanical Gardens, where he participated in the development of gardens as he designed and initiated over 3000 seasonal plantings and displays.
JAPANESE TRAINING: In 1989, Don was involved in the planning and construction of the Kumamoto En Sister City Garden, working with architects in Kyoto and gardeners in Kumamoto, Kyoto and Tokyo. After construction, he was responsible for the care and maintenance of the garden, working and training with gardeners from Japan.
In 2001, Mr. Kyoshi Yasui, the architect for Kumamoto En, invited Don to come to Kyoto to train under master Japanese gardeners, architects, and bamboo craftsmen. He studied under Yasui, himself a respected architect nominated by the Emperor as a National Living Treasure of Japan, and Katsuoki Kawahara, a respected craftsman known for his work in temple gardens as well as commercial and residential gardens in Japan and abroad. Kawahara directed the team of professional gardeners from Kyoto, Tokyo and Kumamoto in the construction of Kumamoto En. Don also studied under the master bamboo craftsmen at Otsuka in Kyoto.
HOW WE ARE DIFFERENT: When Don was leaving Kyoto, Kiyoshi Yasui asked him to help sustain and manage the Kumamoto En. He also asked Don to take what he had learned and teach others about the benefits, methods, and enjoyment of Japanese Gardens; an unprecedented approach to the transfer of knowledge of Japanese tradition. In addition to continued study and demonstrations in Japanese gardening, the Japanese Gardening Organization was created with the mission of spreading the benefits of Japanese gardening for individuals, groups, communities, and society. And there is nothing we enjoy more than teaching new owners of a Japanese garden all about the hows and whys of Japanese gardening!
The Japanese Gardening Organization provides educational resources to foster the exchange of culture, knowledge, appreciation and application of Japanese gardening, striving for the highest level of accurate information and resources for Japanese gardening. It continues to grow, with its associated forum accumulating over 11,000 posts from Japanese gardeners worldwide. Visit the Japanese Gardening Organization website.