Last Year’s Chinese Garden Trip – Modified

The Sun came out today in Portland. Bar none, every man and woman Jack and Jill made their ways outside just to feel the strangeness. I took my standard half day trip to the Pearl District and the Portland Chinese Garden.

Remarkable stuff happened there.

(enlarge pictures by clicking on them)

For examples, ducks were born overnight – or during the morning…….. Check the little pile of brand new ‘expanded family’ under the yellow Kerria. Enlarged is best.

We got a splendidly elegant visit from a big Blue Heron……who swooped on in magnificently as we watched.

He preened for the multitude, shamelessly……….and we were quite grateful. What a gorgeous bird.

There have been some trees added since we worked on making this garden. Naturally, time and weather, accidents and bad luck accompany the lives of  plants here, just like real life. But the exquisite care and thought put into the updated plantings must have been thrilling for those responsible for replacements. They have done well indeed.

This weeping tree illustrates perfectly my point. What a stunning decision and oh how correct this setting, seen here in a closer perspective than above. This is a brand new plant for this aficionado and I am very captivated by its placement.

The pathways and surfaces of this splendid garden have always riveted my attention. I recall when they were first being installed, how the Chinese workers would be such intense studies in concentration but who also showed a stunning skill and speed. The failure of the first walkways to pass the City Inspection grabbed everyone’s attention. Having installed perhaps 300 square feet of surface, the indentations between the small pebbles were ruled “too deep” (at 1/4 inch) for wheelchair comfort. While we gnashed our teeth at having to see such a marvelous product literally ripped out – some was merely grouted deeper – the Chinese workers remained cheery and philosophical and simply went back to work with a new template. And asked for another cigarette, lol.

Below, we have a superb planter with utter professionalism extended to not just the choice of plant – a Wysteria, of course – but in it’s classical stylistic pruning and placement. This is beyond the Bonzai look – more utilitarian in releasing it to achieve a larger influence – and perfectly set against the amazing wood-working of the entire garden. The wood finishes are an absolute highlight anyway.

As yet another splendid example of the obsession with uncommonly gorgeous classical Chinese wood-working, check out this indoor section of the garden and the superb little chair and table set in the little building designed to look like a barge afloat in the lake.

I’m just having fun with diverse images at present, focusing on just a few little delights I encountered. I will post yet more pictures tomorrow and probably the next day. Lord knows I took enough pictures – I think something like 127 while there.  😉

Needless to say, it’s one of my favorite-ever pastimes, this garden, and a huge treat I indulge in every visit.

Here’s a gorgeous Crabapple I obviously couldn’t get enough of. I just absolutely adore the bloom color, to say nothing of the setting.

Nice, isn’t it?

Told you I adored it.

There are innumerable newer plants with whom I am not that familiar, such as this beauty below.

A strictly personal note: When I visit here, I almost always tend to recall my incomplete plant knowledge, having invested so much of my landscaping history into the processes of actually getting to the point of finishing rather than of relishing the finishing itself. Yes, it has become lazy of me to express so little interest in plant types – nor is it true at all, not really. The right plant in the right place – and their stunning diversity – is a thrill of its own.

My crews were less than pleased finishing jobs with me on the sites we worked. Ha ha, finally, they forced me off the site, onto the next place, just to be rid of all my angst. An unfortunate factor of my construction persona was always about how epic-ally well I began projects and how frustrated I was at the always-slow process of finishing. I have often hired appropriately, using some ‘human backhoe’ with me at the next start and leaving experienced and more patient people to finish up.

Yet another gorgeous beauty of an early bloomer –

Finally, today, a word about the “windows” in to this little slice of Paradise. The following 3 pictures are taken from the sidewalk outside the garden. As one can readily see, each opening is unique, offering a fresh peek into the courtyard, hinting superbly to what interesting things lie inside.

Blooms, water, foliage and even the patterns on the windows themselves are just a terrific example of how special the designers wanted this city block in such a busy down town area to be.

Seasonally different yet promising, the views from these spaces were always designed to be alluring and tempting to step inside and experience the Peace and Serenity which is emitted from every single item of this great urban space.

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