I have no idea who she is and I hope she doesn’t mind terribly but her head sure did fit real nice into the hole in that rock. If you enlarge it, you’ll see what I mean. That rock and many others are among many features abounding at Portland’s Chinese garden – a small urban Wonderland of lushness, quiet natural and man made beauty, set right smack downtown in the midst of it all.
Well-maintained and elegant, some phenonomenally gorgeous plantings adorn the garden, from this well-trained Pine to the Weeping Willow behind it whose Spring and Summer look adds dramatic softness – if such a thing can be said – to the ambiance. The building we see in the picture above is “The Boat Shaped Pavilion” or “Painted Boat in Misty Rain” – an altogether appropriate title for a city that gets the Winter rainfall of Portland. I got lucky this day on mid February, catching some good solid sunlight and thoroughly enjoying every second of it.
I was able to get close pictures of some of the things I like best about the garden, especially including this roof line of the “Waterside Pavilion”, with another gorgeous Pine framing it. Because of the protecting nature of the walled Garden and the closeness of the buildings, Palm Trees are allowed some growth inside. They barely eke out an existence – if at all – in Portland, proper, but they make a fabulous and very rich addition to this landscape. In Summer, the Banana Trees also show up, spreading proudly and looking every bit as lush. At this time of year in the garden, they are pretty much just stumps.
Here is yet another look at “The Boat”, featuring more water this time. I will now commence to including more pictures of water, the essential completing element to this Garden, especially inasmuch as it occupies a full one third of the grounds. Prior to this – in my other posts – I stuck to some details, but the pictures to come will illustrate a more total picture of this charming place and the role water plays in it over all.
Here’s where the water “begins”, cascading down this very recessed waterfall and into the large pond below. I love the inset provisions of the falls, especially since I know, as a maker of these sorts of waterfalls and creek, the incredible amount of piercing noise running water can make. By recessing the falls, it serves a couple of functions:
1. It does keep the noise down, protected as it is by those protruding sets of columns on either side.
2. It does not overwhelm in any sense – aural or visual – from the natural peacefulness of the Garden itself.
In itself, it is not particularly striking, although it has its own gorgeousness by virtue of the surrounding rocks. In the picture below, the waterfall is recessed, to the left, barely discernible.
In the next picture, we are standing mere feet away from the falls but toward the other side, Westward. As you can see, there are essentially large columns surrounding the recessed falls, allowing huge gaps or holes to vent some of the sound and fury of the rushing water.
Naturally, the falls serves to purify and aerate the recirculating water nicely, as well as to provide a very legitimate, yet not overwhelming point of interest. It was exceedingly well-designed in my opinion, for the reasons listed. Everything in this garden most definitely works as a whole. While outstanding in its own right, any feature here blends with the others to simply give one an uplifting sense of elegance and congruity. It is organic and full of vibrancy, resonating before you catch your own handfuls of wonder. This is the work of the professional’s professional – and it stands as a virtual teaching aid for the intention and meaning of Feng Shui.
Looking back now at “The Hall Of Brocade Clouds” – the main “meeting hall” – we see the pine once again framing the building and surrounded by water. Another look below at the Hall, some water and seen above the hand-carved granite railings and bridge, constructed in China and sent over for assembly by the artisans who actually made them:
Those granite railings and that bridge lead to pretty much my favorite spot in the Garden, “The Moon-Locking Pavilion”, a wonderfully-named gazebo-like structure set in the middle of the lake and offering a spot to see the moon’s reflection in the water around it. There are always people there when I visit and kids flock to it. Notice as well, we have blooms! The very early Citisus plants are popping open some early yellow. In fact, there was a bold and adventurous Forsythia I somehow missed getting a picture of, dangit, but now that I think of it, I do have a gorgeous Camelia to look at following the Moon-Locking Pavilion. Let’s hurry now.
Camelias! OK, I’ll grant you they are not overwhelming or magnificent on their own. What they DO represent for this Winter-weary soul is the obvious – flowers and the coming Spring.
A closer look a desperate man can love:
So, I was excited about the whole darn thing, you betcha. After all, I helped make the place. It is quite an event any time I go, reminiscing about small items of construction, seeing the development of plants, and sometimes answering questions because people are curious about small items of interest. Once engaged, people tend to hang on a while, asking a few more and enduring my own distinct loquaciousness which plagues me owing to my love of people. It’s a true fault.
As the American Indians liked to say: “It was a good day.”