Spirited Stone: Lessons from Kubota’s Garden Wins CBHL Award

The story of Fujitaro Kubota and his garden, captured through stories, poems and photographs in the book Spirited Stone, won the Literature Award of Excellence in Gardening and Gardens from the Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries (CBHL).

“We’re thrilled to have won this prestigious award,” said Bruce Rutledge, founder of Chin Music Press, publisher of Spirited Stone. “It’s a testament to the inspired work of all the book’s contributors and to Kubota Garden itself.” 

CBHL is an international organization committed to expanding botanical and horticultural information services. Their Literature Award, now in it’s 22 nd year, is given to a work that makes a significant contribution to the literature of botany or horticulture. Additional Awards include: History; Children and Young Adult Literature; Garden and Gardening; and Botanical Art and Illustration.

Images from Spirited Stone

Use the links below for hi-res and web-ready versions of the images shown here for review and media purposes only. All other rights are reserved. Please make sure to include photo credits where indicated. To request images not shown here or for other media inquiries, write to or call 206-380-1947.

Links for downloading coming soon.


November 3, 2020

“The book will appeal to many fans, whether a garden enthusiast, lover of local history, ethnic history, photography, or poetry. There are many gems to discover, such as Shin Yu Pai’s poem “ashide no yu (Garden Poem).

The book is divided into four sections: PLACE, SPIRIT, EXILE, and GROWTH. PLACE is not only about the actual garden, but also about Fujitaro Kubota’s place in Northwest garden history. It’s about Kubota Garden’s unique functions in the immigrant community, and in the very diverse Rainier Beach neighborhood.”

Fred Wong, International Examiner

For complete review, visit:

October 1, 2020

“Spirited Stone: Lessons from Kubota’s Garden (Chin Music Press) is a tribute to the legacy of Kubota Garden in Seattle’s Rainier Beach neighborhood, as well as a collection of diverse, multiracial voices, including local treasures like writer and UW professor emeritus Charles Johnson, Seattle Civic Poet Anastacia-Renee, and Washington State Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna. In a series of photos, essays, and poems divided into four sections (Place, Spirit, Exile, and Growth), this coffee-table book offers a mosaic of angles from which to consider the legacy of a landscape — a legacy that reminds us of the irreplaceable value of nature, of artful public gathering spaces, and of individuals who carry forth with their singular visions. Not only is this collection an example of how the form of a book can be shaped to match its subject matter, but Kubota Garden itself is a testament to how a landscape can reflect the people who inhabit it.”

Anne Liu Kellor, South Seattle Emerald

For complete review, visit:

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