DURING four-and-a-half years in Sheffield, Chieko Kasuya has been weeding, pruning, watering and sweeping the Japanese garden twice a week at Meersbrook walled garden.
But her time in the city saw her widen her horticultural horizons – and to fall in love with English roses.
As she returns to Tokyo, other volunteers with Meersbrook Park Users’ Trust have decided to plant two rose beds “to make sure she comes back to visit us”. One of the rose beds will be called Chieko’s Garden.
She came to Sheffield to join her husband, Yasuhisa, who was working for a Japanese engineering company in the city.
After living in a flat in the city centre in Japan, she offered to help at the Meersbrook walled garden.
“I love flowers and plants, and when I first came here, I didn’t know anybody,” said Chieko.
“The walled garden gave me an opportunity to take care of the flowers and plants and at the same time it gave me really nice friendships.”
She was able to continue some of the work of another Japanese visitor who had started the Japanese garden but she has also left her mark with the old English-style shrub roses that were bought with money raised at garden events.
Chieko enjoyed growing roses in the Botanical Gardens and was a regular visitor to English rose gardens.
She has also picked up other local traditions in addition to passing on some of her own.
“Chieko has learned to make a very good lemon drizzle cake, as well as helping with the well dressing made every June and she has taught the rest of us how to look after a Japanese garden,” said trust volunteer Naomi Brent.
“We will all miss her so much.”
Chieko said: “I really enjoyed the life here. I’ll miss it and I hope to come back one day.”