I reviewed these posts and realized how much more there is to say about the place and its construction. There were so many fascinating aspects to it all. I often refer in this blog to John Stone and I even have his website mentioned often in this blog. Working as closely with him as I did acquainted me with his various tasks during the initial and then middle phases of the project. As mentioned, I relocated to Reno, Nevada at about the halfway mark of the construction but I still got some interesting updates and conclusions from John, telephonic ally.
Among the most interesting facets of the project involved the researching and the discovery of appropriate plants for the project. What this involves is nothing short of weird and not the standard mode of acquiring plant materials at all. With a tight budget, mixed with the stated desire to have mature plantings gracing the project, some creativity was required. Thus, many days were spent with John and the Chinese engineers and Project Supervisor, a female, tramping out into the wilds of nurseries’ “back 40’s”, looking for previously-ignored trees and plants. It actually paid off handsomely, now and then, with these surprisingly gorgeous trees once considered ‘unsellable’, and virtually ignored, suddenly becoming something more. Talks went on, sales made, designers pleased as some semblance of possibility and completion reared its head.
As well, we cast an eye to highways and highway landscaping. The Oregon DOT had plants which had nearly outgrown their usefulness and were fascinating in their size and shapes. They gratefully and generously acquiesced in their relocation. Work commenced, excavating these big suckers by hand, as were so very many of the others. John and a raft of willing workers became more than well-versed in the removal and sustaining of these large trees, all of which began to be staged at a lot nearby the new Gardens in a growing lump. We supplied irrigation for them and protected the root balls until the time for planting came.
I always found the process fascinating, myself. I also always figured as far as resourcefulness and opportunity were concerned, I have seen few – if any – projects whose savings and whose resourcefulnesses were so fully utilized. I stand impressed to this very day.
Watching the fellows from Suzhou go at their work was the single most fascinating thing about the entire project. There was one fellow whose job title had to have been “Wood Carver”. He would be up on a ladder, literally carving faces and figurines in wood, after the wood was in place! In other words, carving one time, error-free, right where they would always be. Other aspects included guys hauling large pieces of granite, using those humongous ropes similar to circus workers, to say nothing of the wood mallets which really DID resemble the old circus tools of my youth. The granite had all been carved overseas and was imported here to match up with plans dealing with the buildings, grounds and the bridges. More impressive than I have words for, in short.
The City Of Portland had also arranged for “Cross Cultural” seminars especially-tailored for working with Chinese. These went on for a few days and they even included the group of Chinese who had their own version of training. Having lived in Korea and spending time in Japan had prepared me for what must have been some shocks amongst our locals, although, to be honest, the entire affair seemed to run remarkably smoothly. The competence of the Chinese was unquestionable. Their work ethic was every bit as good as our own and they were consistently chattering and cheery people.
Confession time: I left before the project was completed. I fielded calls from Reno relative to the hopeful sighting of a few wires and pipes which, as mentioned, got somewhat “losted” in all the hubub. I also had to hear secondhand as to how the placement of soil and the planting went on. In a way, it broke my heart and, in another, it was just another landscaping job. Such is our life.
There has been oodles going on and I I have slumped in keeping up here. My daughter graduated from High school, necessitating a trip and some general other-than-blogging enterprises. I lost a bit of steam. I am resolving to make entries every other day now.
Here is yet another gratuitous Rhododendron picture in the meantime: 🙂 It’s a big one.
At least this time around, the final pages. Waterfalls can be aspects of a landscape that are nowhere near the central focus. Some of them, such as this one, can be used to filtrate and aerate water, just to keep it moving and to insure that it stays a bit cleaner in the pond itself. That it provides a nice trickling sound is a nice adjunct, to be sure.
Others can be used for different if equally utilitarian purposes. The falls shown here are used primarily to conduct the water overflowing the infinity edge of the pool above it to a central gathering and redistribution point. When the clients saw what we were doing, they suddenly wanted a patio around it, to enjoy the cascading sounds and effects.
These falls are on the downside of this:
And still others are useful origins for a desired creek. Here is the creek:
And here, before fully planting, is where it began:
Just after planting, a bit downstream, looking back the pond water being low:
A few years later, revisiting the falls: