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.
|You enter the garden in the Courtyard of Tranquility, a courtyard that you would|
find at the home of a wealthy family.
|Painted Boat in Misty Rain - This pavillion represents the friendship that departed from Suzhou|
and made its way to Portland.
|Rock Mountain and Waterfall - mimics a rugged mountain range complete with streams and waterfalls.|
|The Tea House - "Tower of Cosmic Reflections" |
where you can enjoy tea and snacks with views of the garden.
|The Scholar's Courtyard is a quiet place for study and inspiration.|
|Moongate entrance to the Scholar's Courtyard.|
|Knowing the Fish Pavillion|
|Windows and doors are found throughout the garden. They form views within views and create the illusion of infinite space.|
|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.|
|The sense of smell, provided here by Confederate Jasmine.|
|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.|
|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."|
|A beautiful grouping of some of my favorite plants - Weeping Willow, hydrangea, |
lorepetalum and Japanese Maple.