New addition to the Heiwa Garden: Mearnie’s Corner Completed

With generous donations from friends and JGS supporters, Mearnie’s Corner was completed in December 2020.

This new addition to the Heiwa Garden commemorates the Society’s founder and first president, Mearnie Summers. She was an activist of gender inequality and LGBT rights, pioneer, teacher, and athlete. Mearnie remembered that she had a Japanese family living next door when she was little. They were gone one day and never came back, but she didn’t know why then and only later learned about the Uprooting of the Japanese Canadians. In 2003 when she heard Rose Murakami speak about her family’s history at a monthly meeting of the SSI Historical Society, Mearnie was so touched and inspired that she and her partner Caffyn Kelley decided to build a memorial garden to address Japanese Canadian history on Salt Spring Island. The Japanese Garden Society was founded in 2004 and the Heiwa Garden was built in 2009 with the heartfelt support of local residents, businesses and organizations. Sadly Mearnie passed away in 2017.

Pass It On was her motto. The Society’s wish to pass Mearnie’s passion on to future generations resulted in the creation of Mearnie’s Corner. The project was led by Japanese garden contractor Ken Ishikawa and was completed in December 2020.

A feature of Mearnie’s Corner is a circle of stones near the black pine tree. The centre-piece stone water basin is called ‘Tsukubai’. It is traditionally for the guests of a tea ceremony to rinse their hands and mouths as a gesture of purifying their body and mind before entering the tea hut.

Ken chose plants that are found in typical Japanese tea gardens, yet are suitable for our climate.

Adopt-a-Plant Program

Through the Adopt-a-Plant Program, you will help Mearnie’s Corner to grow. The adoption fee is the actual purchase price of the plant. Because of the symbolic nature of this program, some plants may be adopted by one or more people.  Please contact us if you are interested in adopting one of the plants listed below. 

For more information and to adopt, please write to: <>

(1) David Viburnum (Viburnum davidii) $25

(2) Dwarf Mugo Mountain Pine (Pinus mugo var. pumillo) $38

(3) Old Gold Juniper (Juniperus x pfitzeriana ‘Old Gold’) $12

(4) All Summer Beauty Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘All Summer

Beauty’) $42

(5) Moshio Japanese Camellia (Camellia japonica ‘Moshio’) $36

(6) Forest Flame Lily of the Valley (Pleros japonica ‘Forest Flame’) $50

(7) Vulcan Flame Rhododendron (Rhododendron ‘Vulvan Flame’) $140

(8) Ramapo Rhododendron (Rhododendron ‘Ramapo’) $52

(9) Lavender Reblooming Azalea (Rhododendron x) $34

(10) Aztec Pearl Mexican Mock Orange (Choisya ‘Aztec Pearl’) $25

Groundcover: Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) $5 each

Mearnie's Corner
Mearnie’s Corner: new plants will flourish and fill the space soon. Ken Ishikawa is standing behind the temporary fence that has been installed to protect the area from unwanted four-legged visitors.