Inspired by Japanese Culture
The Blevins Japanese Garden (Shōmu-en) was created by David Harris Engel. The garden guides visitors on a meditative journey to an idyllic image of a mountain retreat. Engel named the garden “Shōmu-en,” which translates to “pine-mist forest.” This garden transcends cultures by connecting eastern garden design with the native Tennessee landscape. The mist in “pine-mist forest” is suggested by the feathered and light-textured flowers of the smoke bush (Cotinus coggyria) that bloom in late summer. The black pines are pruned to appear windswept, with their needles contrasting beautifully with the softness of the Cotinus.
In 2012, Melba and Bill Blevins honored their family’s vision by generously supporting and commissioning a master plan for the renovation and restoration of the Japanese Garden. Thanks to their support, the planning for long-awaited garden enhancements to address aging horticulture and accessibility for all within the Japanese Garden was finally completed.