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Garden talks among highlights at Japan House open house

Sharita Forrest , News Bureau
(217) 333-1085;


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Garden talks by James A. Bier will be among the highlights of the annual fall open house at the University of Illinois' Japan House on Oct. 14.

The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the house, located at 2000 S. Lincoln Ave., Urbana.

Bier, a retired UI geography department cartographer, has spent the past year and a half designing and building the tea garden located on the west side of Japan House. He and his wife, Lori, also provided the funding for the garden. They will be honored for their contribution at the open house.

James Bier will give talks at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. They will focus on his work on the tea garden, which he says is "85 percent completed," and plans for creating a dry garden just east of Japan House and a stroll garden by one of the nearby ponds.

Bier said he finished most of tea-garden landscaping two months ago. "Now I'm just waiting for the shade, which will take about three years, before I can plant ferns and other shade-loving plants. Trees take time to grow," he said.

In addition to Bier's talks, the open house will feature tea ceremonies, conducted throughout the day by the Japan House Urasenke Tea Study Group. Japanese calligraphy and calligraphy implements also will be on display.