This Japanese garden lies on the much larger site of the Georgian Court College, formerly the winter home of George Jay Gould, millionaire sone of the railroad tycoon, Jay Bould, on land purchased in 1896. It is now registered as a National Historic Landmark. With the exception of the Japanese garden, designed by Takeo Shiota (1881-1946), the site's buildings and grounds were designed by Bruce Price as a Georgian style estate.
The site lies on the outer coastal plain, home to the New Jersey Pine Barrens and the sandy soil of this region was not conducive to growing much of anything. To amend the soil, 5,000 carloads of loam were brought to Georgian Court from neighboring Monmouth County.
The arboretum was established in 1989 to maintain and expand the existing gardens, which include an Italian garden, a more formal garden, and a sunken garden in addition to the Japanese one. The arboretum was named after Sister Mary Grace Burns, chair of the biology department from 1927 to 1968.
The Japanese garden was a birthday gift to Edith Gould from her husband, George. A visitor enters near a machai and can follow a path that goes past a teahouse, leads over a wooden footbridge and continues to the back of the garden. The garden includes specimens of Japanese Yew, cherry, weeping cherry, hinoki (cypress), maples, azalea, iris, goldenchain tree, and lily-of-the-valley. The garden is at its best from mid-April to early June and then from mid-October to mid-November.
A Pair of Stones
Two chunks of gray-green stone,
their shapes grotesque and unsightly,
wholly unfit for practical uses --
ordinary people despise them, leave them untouched.
Formed in the time of primal chaos,
they took their place at the mouth of Lake Taihu,
ten thousand ages resting by the lakeshore,
in one morning coming into my hands!
Pole-bearers have brought them to my prefectural office
where I wash and scrub away mud and stains.
The hollows are black, deeply scarred in mist,
crevices green with the rich hue of moss.
Aged dragons coiled to form their feet,
old swords stuck in for the crown,
I suddenly wonder if they didn't plummet from Heaven,
so different from anything in this human realm!
One will do to prop up my lute,
one to be a reservoir for my wine.
The tip of one shoots up several yards,
the other has a hollow, will hold a gallon of liquid!
My five-stringed instrument leaning on the left one,
my single wine cup set on the right,
I'll dip from the hollowed cask and it will never go dry,
though drunkenness long since has toppled me over.
Every person has something he loves,
and things all yearn for a companion.
More and more I fear that gatherings of the young
no longer will welcome a white-haired gentleman.
I turn my head, ask this pair of stones
if they'd consent to keep an old man company.
And though the stones are powerless to speak,
they agree that we three should be friends.