More To Love at Morikami

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Hector & Christi at Morikami MuseumIt was love at first site for us at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach. We stopped in there on our drive north between national parks on Florida’s Atlantic coast. Our Morikami visit has been one of the most relaxing, refreshing and enjoyable highlights of Project 100 so far.

Christi at Morikami MuseumThe 16-acre spread contains six distinct garden types — three rock gardens, a modern romantic garden, a paradise stroll garden, and a shinden garden (a style incorporating islands in a pond connected by bridges, usually viewed from the water) — with numerous stone lanterns and water features. The gardens also incorporate native Florida vegetation along with typical Japanese plants.

Iguana at Morikami MuseumAt every turn we couldn’t help but sigh contentedly and exclaim, “This is so beautiful!” In addition to the manicured plants on display, iguanas, fish, turtles and birds were everywhere.

Cattle egret following Hector at Morikami MuseumOne inquisitive cattle egret followed us the entire length of the main garden path. We couldn’t believe his utter lack of fear of people and his stamina in trotting along beside us. He poked in and out of bushes as he stalked his prey, snatching up and swallowing lizard after lizard and cocking his head at us between gulps. By our count he ate at least two dozen.

Cattle egret at Morikami MuseumAnd that was just in the time we were there. I don’t know how many times he circles the garden each day or how many lizards he bags on a daily basis. I’d also be curious to see how many steps he takes each day if they could attach a Fitbit to him!

We had a delightful bento box lunch on the outdoor terrace of Morikami’s Cornell Café overlooking the main pond, then doubled back to view the bonsai display and museum exhibits on Yamato Island. The building housed two excellent exhibits.

Morikami MuseumJapan Through the Eyes of a Child had replicas of rooms in a typical Japanese house, a school classroom, the train, shops and other aspects of daily life. Among the fascinating facts we learned about Japan? Kit Kat bars come in more than 100 different flavors there. Apparently the Japanese pronunciation of the word “kit-kat” sounds the same as the phrase meaning, “You will surely win,” making this candy bar a popular good luck treat.

A bit sadder was the exhibit detailing the ultimately unsuccessful Japanese farming colony in south Florida called Yamato. Japanese settlers began arriving in 1905 and made a go of raising fruit and other crops for a time, but many settlers sold their property in the 1920s. By World War II, those who stayed were forced out by the U.S. government in 1942 to make way for an Army facility. Among the settlers labeled enemy resident aliens — and one of the last remaining colonists — was George Sukeji Morikami. His donation of land to Palm Beach County in 1973 paved the way for these incredible gardens today.

Christi at Morikami MuseumRegardless of the fact that we adore Japanese gardens in general and have spent years as volunteer gardeners at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix, for any lover of beauty and nature who lives in or visits south Florida, a trip to Morikami is a must.

Hector at Morikami Museum

9 thoughts on “More To Love at Morikami

  1. Suzanne

    i Love reading these, reminds me of the jobless wonder posts!

    Also- so sorry to hear about your grandma (Dennis told me)
    Our thoughts are with you.

  2. Maxine

    Yes, this reminded me of the Japanese Friendship Garden here in Phoenix, so lovely and what a nice place for your lunch. You are make many of us very jealous!

    Onward!

  3. Maxine

    Yes, this reminded me of the Japanese Friendship Garden here in Phoenix, so lovely and what a nice place for your lunch. You are making many of us very jealous!

    Onward!

  4. Aunt Betty and Uncle Terry

    Have you been to the Japanese gardens at the Missouri Botanical Gardens? They have giant koi. Did you see koi at the Japanese gardens?
    Stay safe and healthy.

    1. Christi Post author

      We have been to the Missouri Botanical Gardens’ Japanese section but it was in winter so we want to go there again this summer.

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