The site of the Japanese garden was originally a reservoir that collected winter storm runoff and provided irrigation water for Kinton Stevens’ nursery.
During 1968 to 1974, Madame Walska converted the pond and its surrounding plantings to a Japanese-style garden. Plantings include Japanese maples (Acer palmatum), camellias, azaleas, and several species of pine, which are pruned in the traditional niwaki style.
Bronze statues of cranes are often joined by egrets, ducks, kingfishers and many more. Huge koi troll the shallow waters. A collection of stone lanterns dots the landscape.
In 1990, a small Shinto shrine, surrounded by Japanese cypress (Cryptomeria japonica) and coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens cv. Santa Cruz), and a wisteria arbor, were added at the advice of garden designer Koichi Kawana.