In 1908, Zenhichi Harui came to Bainbridge Island from Japan and started growing plants and flowers in his small garden.
As the garden grew, it eventually included sculptured trees and fountains and lily pad-covered pools with goldfishes swimming under bonsai pines. The gardens blossomed into a well-known attraction for garden lovers throughout the area.
Many traveled far to see Mr. Harui’s splendid gardens. But the gardens were deserted in the early 1940’s during the war, when Mr. Harui and his family were forced to leave with many thousands of other Japanese-Americans. Although friends tried to maintain it, the Harui family returned to a nursery beyond restoration.
In 1958, Junkoh Harui, one of Zenhichi’s sons, started a small flower shop in Winslow in the building now known as Town & Country Market. His flower shop grew into a larger space on Winslow Way, and eventually in 1973, moved again to the corner of High School Road and Highway 305.
In 1989, he decided to redevelop Bainbridge Gardens at its original site on Miller Road. In the process of restoring the original gardens, Junkoh has been able to recapture the beauty of many of the magnificent plants that his father had planted, such as the aged Japanese red pine trees that the elder Mr. Harui started from seeds brought over from Japan.
Today, Bainbridge Gardens honors its history and looks toward the future.
When you visit Bainbridge Gardens, you can see several of the original red pines on the property. The Harui Memorial Garden features an old pear tree that Zenhichi Harui grafted into an exquisite pear-shaped topiary. We have an on-site cafe where you can get an espresso drink or lunch.
And yes, we are a Garden Center where you can shop for beautiful and interesting plants, a wide variety of gardening supplies, and receive helpful advice from our knowledgeable certified staff members.
Donna Harui, one of Junkoh’s kids, now continues Zenhichi’s legacy. We hope that you will visit us soon.