John P. Humes Japanese Stroll Garden

The Humes Garden is a fine example of a Japanese stroll garden in the Northeast United States, seamlessly integrating ageless Japanese landscape techniques with the woodland terrain of Long Island’s North Shore. The Garden Conservancy was instrumental in saving the garden from closing in 1993 and managed the garden on behalf of the Humes Japanese Garden Foundation for twenty years.


The Garden Conservancy conducts filmed interviews of key people involved with the Humes Garden, past and present, films and photographs the gardens in all seasons, and researches the garden's archives, as part of our Garden Documentation Program.

After more than two years of negotiation, the North Shore Land Alliance purchases the Humes Garden.

As part of our Digging Deeper series in Open Days, the Garden Conservancy presents several tea ceremonies at the garden, many of which sell out.

The Humes Japanese Garden Foundation takes over management of the garden. The Garden Conservancy continues to help explore ways to preserve the garden as a public resource for its community.

The garden’s tea house, beautifully restored by master craftsman Peter Wechsler thanks to a grant from the Peggy N. and Roger G. Gerry Charitable Trust, is dedicated at a special ceremony and named Chikufuan, Japanese for “bamboo wind tea house.”

The Stroll Garden celebrates its fiftieth anniversary. Three years of funding is obtained from New York State‘s Zoos, Botanic Gardens and Aquariums fund for the ongoing care of the garden.

Transfer of an additional parcel of land from the Humes family brings the Stroll Garden’s total acreage up to seven, of which four acres are under cultivation.

With funds from the Freeman Foundation, the Stroll Garden begins its education outreach program to bring the Japanese garden into the classroom.

Peter Wechsler constructs a new entrance gate from native Eastern red cedar, using traditional carpentry methods of the master temple builders of Japan.

Mrs. Humes, the garden’s co-creator, bequeathes funds to bolster a diminishing endowment for the garden.

Funds raised in 1997 allow for the rejuvenation of the waterfall, a key feature of the garden, and construction of a masonry wall to mitigate road noise. The New York Times features the garden, calling it a “Hidden Jewel.”

Stroll Garden receives a challenge grant from the Japan World Exposition Commemorative Fund. The Garden Conservancy works with the Humes Foundation and the Friends of the Humes Japanese Stroll Garden to raise matching funds.

With the garden struggling financially, the Garden Conservancy assumes management of the garden.

John P. Humes dies and the management of the garden passes to the Humes Japanese Garden Foundation. The Japanese Stroll Garden opens to the public.

Humes engages Stephen Morrell as curator to rehabilitate and expand the garden, and to facilitate its transition from a private to public garden.

Humes forms the Humes Japanese Garden Foundation for the purposes of maintenance and preservation of the Stroll Garden. Landscape architect Francois Goffinet encourages Ambassador Humes to preserve the garden; Goffinet begins the garden’s rehabilitation that year.

Lawyer John P. Humes (later Ambassador to Austria from 1969 to 1975) and his wife, Jean, visit Kyoto. Inspired by their visit, they spend the next 4 years transforming a wooded corner of their Mill Neck estate into a meditative Japanese landscape, including an imported tea house. They engage a Japanese landscape designer and his wife, Douglas and Joan DeFaya, to design and direct the installation of the original two-acre section of the garden.

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A Rainbow Every Day

Click here to view a news brief excerpted from the December 2018 issue of the Garden Conservancy News.