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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Find Dream-Like Tranquility at Yume Japanese Gardens of Tucson

Jun 29, 2020 03:02PM ● By Katta Mapes
Inspired by the Japanese Garden Center near the Morikami Museum near Palm Beach, Florida, Patricia Deridder started her dream, or yume (in Japanese), to create such a peaceful garden in Tucson in 2011. Her dream became a reality when she opened the Yume Japanese Gardens of Tucson in 2013, located near Alvernon and Grant roads.
As Deridder designed the Yume Japanese Gardens of Tucson, she took a classical approach to include all of the essential elements of a Japanese garden: plants, rocks and stones, water and aesthetically pleasing ornaments. All of these elements are placed carefully to create a sense of peace and serenity. The Tucson gardens also provide the venue for Japanese culture education programs and celebrations.
Her mission, however, is to go beyond creating a place of quietude in the center of Tucson. To this end, she has added a therapeutic component to her dream garden. Members can participate in the Stroll for Well-Being program ( The Yume website explains the process in this way: “Garden strolls begin following an initial group meeting with a trained facilitator to acquaint participants with how the program works and the scientific research underpinning it.” From there, they are given guide books for the various themed areas of the garden. These guide books provide a guided journal for reflecting thoughts and feelings. Deridder says, “The American public is not used to such reflection. This is not meditation, but introspection.”
Now Deridder would like to make this program available to all healthcare workers who are in need of some extra TLC. Now more than ever, many of us could use this program to heal from the traumatic effects we are feeling as the COVID-19 pandemic affects our lives and livelihoods. Yet the gardens have been closed for the duration of the lockdown closures required.
Normally the gardens are open from October through May. This year they may open in July in order to recoup some of the income that has been lost due to the closure. The other source of income is from donations. As a nonprofit corporation, the Yume Japanese Gardens of Tucson is dependent on tax deductible donations in order to pay for the maintenance and repairs needed to keep the gardens available to those in need of the therapeutic programs and to the general public.
In an effort to connect with the Tucson community while closed temporarily, Deridder has initiated the 1,000 Cranes, 1,000 Dreams project. Cranes are a symbol of healing and good wishes—a good way to send off someone who died and a symbol of happiness in Japanese culture. This is an open invitation for friends and families to use origami paper folding to make cranes, which will be displayed throughout the gardens upon their reopening. More information is available online.

For more information or to make a donation, visit

Katta Mapes, M.A., M.Ed. is a freelance writer and book author who is dedicated to promoting social, emotional and spiritual well-being for all. Connect at [email protected].


Yume Japanese Gardens of Tucson offers a scientifically proven two month long healing walk program that reduces anxiety, stress, and sadness and promotes joy and peacefulness. For details... Read More »