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Romantic evenings showcase Japanese Stroll Garden at its best

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This just in: We just learned that the Friday night Romantic Evening in the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden has been canceled in expectation of a rainy evening. No decision has yet been made for Saturday evening.

Oh dear, perhaps you missed your most recent chance for a romantic evening in the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden on Friday and Saturday, the night before a full eclipse of the moon.

St. Mark’s Square String Quartet led by Allison Steiner will perform during th last Romance in the Garden event Friday and Saturday, Oct. 23-24.

St. Mark’s Square String Quartet led by Allison Steiner will perform during th last Romance in the Garden event Friday and Saturday, Oct. 23-24.

Cease your weeping, you procrastinators, would-be Romeos and disenchanted vixens.

There’s another “Romance in the Garden” event from 7-9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 23-24, 2015, this time featuring St. Mark’s Squared String Quartet led by Allison Steiner. Looking for a place to pop the question, a wonderful date night or just a serene, meditative walk in a beautiful setting? Many of us have enjoyed an unforgettable stroll through the stroll garden in Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park, 2400 S. Scenic Ave. Now in its 30th year, the garden received a 2015 Excellence Award from Trip Advisor, an online travel site, and continues to earn rave reviews.

“Romance in the Garden,” is available to persons at least 17 years of age, one of the rare evening times when the garden is open at night to enjoy a lantern- and tiki-torch stroll through seven-plus acres of lush and mature landscaping, waterfalls and winding paths, romantic music in the background, all for only $5. Couples can also sip hot apple cider and pause at one of the three ponds to float a “wishing” lantern.

“In the Japanese tradition, you can write a wish or note in the lantern and watch it float away.” says Nancy Schmidt, chair of the Japanese Stroll Garden Committee.

Members of the Springfield Astronomical Society will set up telescopes for viewing the stars and the moon.

Yuriko Mizumoto in her traditional Japanese kimono. Her history of support for the Japanese Stroll Garden dates back to an act of Congress.

Yuriko Mizumoto in her traditional Japanese kimono. Her history of support for the Japanese Stroll Garden dates back to an act of Congress.

“Romance in the Garden” is a fund-raiser for the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden with proceeds to benefit replacement of damaged plants and the garden’s anniversary celebrations this year.

Since 1985, the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden has attracted thousands of visitors. The garden was named in honor of Yuriko Mizumoto Scott, the first Japanese war bride to come to the U.S. after World War II. The Stroll Garden is the largest of the 20 themed gardens, 15 special collections and five naturalized areas within the Springfield Botanical Gardens located in the public park in southwest Springfield.

For more information, call the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center at 417-891-1515.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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