Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Lan Su Chinese Garden

Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
This treasure box of a garden sits on one block in the midst of downtown Portland. Once you are inside, the outside bustle of the real world seems to melt away. I absolutely loved this garden and you will have to forgive this photo-heavy post. Every step and every turn revealed a postcard vista.

The name of the garden is interpreted as "Garden of Awakening Orchids". The name represents the relationship between Portland and Suzhou, Portland's sister city in China's Jiangsu province.

The garden was created in 2000 on a parking lot donated by Northwest Natural. Most of the materials used in the creation of the garden came from China, including 500 tons of rock. Sixty-five artisans from Suzhou lived in Portland for 10 months while they assembled the structures that were made in China. More than 300 plant species that are found in traditional Chinese gardens grow here. Lan Su is considered the most authentic garden outside of China.

Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)

Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
You enter the garden in the Courtyard of Tranquility, a courtyard that you would
find at the home of a wealthy family.
Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
The Terrace
Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
Painted Boat in Misty Rain - This pavillion represents the friendship that departed from Suzhou
and made its way to Portland.
Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
Rock Mountain and Waterfall - mimics a rugged mountain range complete with streams and waterfalls.
Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
The Tea House - "Tower of Cosmic Reflections"
where you can enjoy tea and snacks with views of the garden.
Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
The Scholar's Courtyard is a quiet place for study and inspiration.

Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
Moongate entrance to the Scholar's Courtyard.

Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)  

Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
Knowing the Fish Pavillion
Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)  

Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)  

Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
Windows and doors are found throughout the garden. They form views within views and create the illusion of infinite space.


Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)



Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
Chinese gardens are designed to engage all the senses. The sense of feel is achieved with these exquisite pebble mosaics. I wanted to walk barefoot over these paths but resisted the temptation.


Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)





Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
The sense of smell, provided here by Confederate Jasmine.

Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
As I made my way through the garden, I noticed that most of the plants were plants that I grow in my own garden. Persicaria "Red Dragon" (Fleece Flower) is a favorite.

Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
Plants in the Chinese Garden are symbolic. The noble evergreen pine reminds one to presevere. The pine, along with plum and bamboo are collectively known as the "Three Friends of Winter."


Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)
A beautiful grouping of some of my favorite plants - Weeping Willow, hydrangea,
lorepetalum and Japanese Maple.


Lan Su Chinese Garden (Portland, Oregon)  
Next up - Scott Weber's garden!

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

12 comments:

  1. Another garden to take away your breath. I think if I would have had on flip flops I would have tested the mosaics. They are a marvel in themselves. Can't imagine how much time it took to make those floors. Those swoopy roof lines make me smile. I know they have a name for that architecture but it doesn't come to mind right now.

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  2. Oh, Phillip, thank you for the wonderful photos! I recently read 10 books written by Pearl S. Buck who loved China where she grew up and lived many years. I truly enjoyed your beautiful pictures.

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  3. Oh my. The weeping willows and those stone paths. Just lovely

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  4. I just walked by the neighbor's Confederate Jasmine on the way to work...heaven!

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  5. What lovely photos! Very rich in colors and textures. And a lovely garden. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  6. How fortunate you are to have been able to see this. I like your comment about recognizing Chinese plants in your own garden. When you thing about southern gardens and where the plants originated, we definitely owe more to Asia than we do to Europe.

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  7. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit you had me looking at this garden I've visited many times in a new way. And to think it was only because you walked the path in the opposite direction. Guess what I'm going to do ASAP!

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  8. Danger garden - would you believe I didn't realize I had walked it backward until later when I looked at the map they gave me? That will teach me to read my literature first! But I don't think it made a difference. :)

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  9. Hi Phillip, wow, that is an amazing garden and your photos of it are spectacular! I love the fact that it is located in the middle of the City of Portland. How nice for the Portlandians to have an oasis like this at there finger tips.
    Christina

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  10. An incredible garden! It's embarrassing that I only live abut a 2 1/2 hour drive away and I've not visited it. Your gorgeous pictures have made me decide to rectify that!

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  11. The pebble mosaics are fantastic. I agree that they make me want to take my shoes off and walk on them barefoot. I visited this garden almost 15 years ago, when I was barely 20. I only dabbled in gardening then and don't think I knew how truly beautiful it really is.

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  12. WOOOW! I'm out of words to describe it..

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