By Irene Florez
Marcia Kai-Kee and Ed Oshika's street-facing garden is significant both for its modified Japanese garden design and its integration of diverse flora.
Their garden work began three years ago with a visit to the East Bay Nursery where Kai-Kee received information on hardy and native plants. Today, this garden includes maples, junipers, various ferns and succulents and a papyrus plant that gently arches toward the crosswalk providing pedestrians with a slight summer shade.
For a touch of natural aromatherapy the scent of the gardenia rises from the fence.
Kai-Kee chose plants that do well in the Bay Area and that are easy to maintain. Most of her selections have a tidy habit, allowing them to serve as a calm respite from the colorful fast-growing blooms that surround her garden.
Whereas nearby gardens boast fountains, trellis fencing and other ornate features, her small space provides a subdued and minimalist break. One built structure near the front door signals the modified Japanese garden sentiment quietly as the streamlined aesthetic blocks unwanted views into the backyard.
“I like greens,” says Kai-Kee, who works in the University of California, Berkeley, Admin-Budget Office. Her plant picks for the front garden represent the spectrum of the green palette.
Most impressive: A river rock path, which extends from the home’s depths to guide clear water from underwater river beds down the street. Still, this garden is simple; there are few flowering plants and many lush green plants that provide an enclosed and reflective mood.
Kai-Kee says the garden has yet to mature. But, she notes that this year her maples are starting to come into their own. You may see her gardening outside once a week, keeping her greens neat.