A second-generation A-bombed camellia tree from Hiroshima. (Photo by Richard Fukuhara)
A second-generation A-bombed camellia tree from Hiroshima. (Photo by Richard Fukuhara)

PASADENA — In the month of May, the Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden will be celebrating a very special survivor of the bombing of Hiroshima.

The garden has been chosen as the home of a sapling that descended from one of the trees considered lost after the atomic bombing of Aug. 6, 1945.

It was predicted that nothing would grow in the ruins of Hiroshima for 75 years. The trees were scarred and blackened, like all of the landscape in and around Hiroshima. When green shoots were found on the burned trunks of some 170 trees, the people were encouraged beyond measure, gaining hope and strength for recovery.

Green Legacy Hiroshima, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Tokyo Yoneyama Yuai, is taking this inspiration beyond Hiroshima by spreading the seeds and saplings of the “hibaku jumoku” or “A-bombed trees” throughout the world. Already growing in 27 countries, they represent the resiliency of the human spirit and offer a powerful message of peace and symbiosis.

As the home of a Hiroshima camellia — one of only two A-bombed trees in the U.S. — the Storrier Stearns garden joins other ambassadors around the world in the hope that everyone who learns of the Hiroshima camellia and its history will be inspired to promote its message of peace.

The camellia has a place of honor in the garden where the public may visit it during every Open Thursday and on the last Sunday of each month from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. On the last Sunday, May 29, visitors will receive camellia seeds to plant in their own gardens.

Reservations for Open Day may be made on the website at: www.japanesegardenpasadena.com

The installation of the Hiroshima camellia will be celebrated on Sunday, May 8, at 1:30 p.m. at the garden, located at 270 Arlington Dr. in Pasadena. Parking on the street is prohibited; use valet parking. Contact Deanie Nyman at (626) 399-1721 or info@japanesegardenpasadena.com.

This Hiroshima camellia was presented to Rotary International President K. R. Ravindran by Green Legacy Hiroshima at the Presidential Peace Conference, which was held in Ontario on Jan. 15.

In December 2015, Jiro Kawatsuma, 88, past district governor of Hiroshima South Rotary Club Rotary International District 2710, contacted his longtime friend Ted Tokio Tanaka. FAIA, an architect who lives in Marina Del Rey, and told him that Rotary was seeking a home for the camellia.

On Jan. 16, Tanaka brought Rotary members to the Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden as their first official visit. They were from China, South Korea, the U.S. and Japan. During their stay for the peace conference, they all felt that the garden would be the most suitable home for this camellia with great support from Tanaka’s L.A. friends and others who share the hope for world peace.

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