Yume Japanese Gardens is a small respite in midtown Tucson just south of Tucson Botanical Gardens. It is only around 7 years old and does not get the kind of notoriety that its next-door neighbor Tucson Botanical Gardens gets. We took our opportunity to visit Yume gardens today after several attempts to visit, often stymied by changes of plans and bad (hot) weather. After 3 or 4 days of rain, it was finally going to get back up to a temperature that a decent Tucsonan would be seen out and about in, a high of 74. That still sounded cold to me, so I bundled up in long jeans, a sweatshirt and hiking boots, a bit of an overreaction. The sun came out in Tucson fashion, radiant and warm.
Anyway, back to our trip to the Yume Gardens. Yume, (roughly pronounced You-may) means "dream" in Japanese. The gardens, being compressed into 3/4 acres, are a microcosm of many separate gardens that may be seen in the courtyards of Japanese homes.
This day, we were fortunate to see the last day of the Fall Ikebana Festival, a two-week-long display of the Japanese style of floral design, a minimalistic approach in the Japanese manner.
The gardens are small, representative, and inviting, but the placement of these Ikebana floral designs in the landscape really made our trip special.
Now, Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arrangement. There is something very much like the desert in its qualities, beauty in its sparseness. It takes years to master this art. You can learn the basics of Ikebana at one of their classes offered throughout the year. It will provide you with a new appreciation of this centuries-old art form.
There are at least 5 separate garden examples of Japanese gardening, a Koi pond, a contemplative Zen Garden, a bamboo garden, a traditional Japanese cottage which probably serves as the tea house for the Tea Events held there. For the most part, you can rest your spirit in the calm peace that a Japanese Garden is known for, only occasionally, brought out of that calm, with the passing of traffic from Alvernon, to remind you, you are still in the middle of town.
On the way out, I "discovered" a signature piece, a replica of a stone basin from a famous 15th century Zen garden in Kyoto, Ryoanji. The inscription says, "Enjoy the present time". I can tell you, I know a little more about the Japanese garden than I did before and have a bit more respect for the centuries-old traditions. For those of us who will not have the pleasure of travel to Japan, this is a gift.
Yume is not cheap for a single visit, but it is a non-profit and needs your support. Membership is far more affordable. If you live in the area, it can serve as your own "Secret Garden" getaway. Visiting this garden throughout the season, you will undoubtedly see subtle changes, and if lucky you might find the wisteria in bloom. Volunteering may be an ideal way to experience this place.
Yume Japanese Gardens of Tucson
2130 N. Alvernon Rd.