The healing power of gardens

A husband awakens his blind wife’s senses by planting a garden exploding with color—and attracting more than just bees.

新富町役場 | Facebook

That a man gives his wife flowers as a token of affection is always sweet, but rarely newsworthy. When he plants her a garden, it gets sweeter, perhaps, and more interesting. Even still, not much to write home—or elsewhere—about.

But when that man spends two years clearing, planting, and cultivating a garden filled with flowers fragrant enough to delight his blind wife’s sense of smell and vibrant enough to draw throngs of visitors every day to ease her sense of isolation, now there’s a love story.

When complications from diabetes caused Mrs. Kuroki to lose her vision, Mrs. Kuroki fell into despair at the prospect of not traveling through Japan as they’d planned for so long. She shut herself in at their hillside home in rural Shintomi, Miyazaki, Japan, away from the world.

But Mr. Kuroki—her husband, now of 60 years—had an idea: he would cover their hillside in bright purple phlox. The Kuroki’s might not get to be tourists, but they could become a tourist destination. And they did—to the delight of a well-loved Mrs. Kuroki who is now able to engage with the world she once shied away from. Each spring nearly 7,000 people visit the Kuroki’s gardens every day.

Of course, there are plenty of other gardens through Japan and the world to visit, but surely none as romantic and truly lovely as the Kuroki’s.

Caryn Rivadeneira
Caryn Rivadeneira
Caryn Rivadeneira is the author of five books and is a columnist for Her.meneutics and ThinkChristian. She lives outside Chicago with her husband, three kids, and one red-nose pit bull. Visit her at

Leave a comment: