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Japanese delights

King City Mayor Ron Shay and his wife, Maryln, share their beautiful Japanese garden
by: Barbara Sherman, TEMPLE ACCESSORY —Carved granite wash basins –- called chozubachi -- are deliberately made low so guests bending over to use them are in the right state of mind to enter a teahouse.

KING CITY - People can enjoy a taste of Japan without leaving King City.

Maryln and Ron Shay, with some professional help, have developed a beautiful Japanese garden, which is just starting its spring awakening in front of their house on Queen Victoria.

The Shays live in the house that his parents, Vera and Glen Shay, built after the city first incorporated in 1966.

'It had a very traditional lawn when we moved in,' said Ron, who happens to be the mayor of King City. 'We took it out along with other things but saved

a lace leaf maple and tree peonies.'

The Shays hired Takashi Fukuda of Fukuda Nursery and Landscaping in Oregon City to design and

plant a Japanese garden about 10 years ago.

'I always enjoyed Japanese gardens,' Ron said.

Every couple of years, Fukuda comes back to do pruning, which must be done correctly for the plants and trees to remain healthy and keep their unique shapes.

'He said that pruning is necessary to keep them up,' Ron said.

'The lace maples, which include a green lace maple and a red leaf maple, plus a black pine, require a very difficult pruning process.'

Maryln added, 'I really only have to go out about four times a year to weed and do maintenance. We don't like to use herbicides.'

The yard also includes rhododendrons, and 'they need a bit of fertilizer,' Marilyn said. 'We don't overdo it because we don't want them to get too big.

Otherwise, we don't fertilize.'

And Ron said of one of the rhodies, 'I pruned it in half.'

Luckily for the Shays, only a few of the trees drop their leaves in the fall, so they don't have a lot of leaf raking to do.

And now that everything is established, Maryln said she only waters the front garden three times each summer, with the plants getting a good soaking

with a hose each time.

Fukuda told the Shays that if they over-watered the vine maple, it would grow too fast. 'We have to keep everything in proportion,' Ron said.

In the last few years, a lot of interest has developed in saving natural resources, but the Shays were ahead of their time by planting low-maintenance landscaping.

'We have a 'green' front yard,' Ron said.

World travelers, the Shays know that they can leave home and find a healthy garden when they return without having to ask their neighbors to keep up the watering, even in a long dry spell.