The speaker for the February 2016 meeting was Garden Club Member Shirley Lahtinen. She and husband Kari toured Japan in the autumn last year and she gave a very entertaining account of their trip, with some wonderful photography by Kari of the gardens they visited. She discussed four different Japanese garden styles: paradise gardens (temple based); dry landscapes (typified by raked gravel and rocks); stroll gardens with winding paths to slow the visitor down; and modern gardens. The elements considered in the development of all four garden styles were plants (especially native larches and cedars, camellias, maples, cherry trees, cycads, grasses and mosses), rocks, water (whether present or absent) and context (borrowed landscapes, temples, castles, houses). The artistry and attention to detail in some of the gardens was amazing, even down to the pruning of individual needles on conifers! In addition she showed some beautiful photographs of native landscapes with the trees in full autumn splendor, and discussed the Japanese specialties of bonsai and chrysanthemum culture.