Portland Oregon Japanese Garden – Final Thoughts

There is a rough simplicity to this Japanese Garden which belies its age. The steps seen below could have been installed centuries ago and they do indeed represent what is often seen in the most authentic Japanese Gardens in Japan. There is this primitive element that makes it that much more entrancing – a combination of complexity, human creativity and an admixture in all the elements as well of utter simplicity. The dialog never ends at a good Japanese Garden.

(all pictures enlarge on clicking)

Lines such as these below show the superiority of clean lines in garden design performing a good head-clearing function. Once again, simplicity vies with heavy thought for the most outstanding feature and neither wins the battle. That they can coexist so intrinsically inside of one design is a sign of perfection – or as close as man can get to it. These two entryways to homes plead with us to relax as we enter. Small in size, they are also universal in scope. Simple messages redound, allowing all of our thoughts some pleasant room and a very human and gentle tolerance.

Some of the minor features here appeal to this landscaper and designer. Something as simple as this rock edge, separating a path from the vegetation are done in a very tight and artistic manner and in a unique way.

Indeed, some of the pathways here are fabulously interesting while maintaining that same sense of simplicity spoken of above. These rocks are varied in size, yet they mesh perfectly in a primitive, yet appealing and very artistic way. They are just rocks but obviously something more.

This mix of human and natural make for a true sort of spiritually-enhancing amble along paths and into vistas that take us from our normal daily existence and insert us into a real sense of history. Of course, they also take us into good old fashioned gardening love. I just like the way the Japanese have done these things and I feel that Portland’s Japanese Garden is truly representative of this ancient art.

Here are some looks at a rather primitive-appearing arbor with a massive Wisteria Vine crawling all over it. It offers a vista much along the Chinese lines of Fung Shui, giving us some goodies through the portal leading elegantly and effortlessly to the next great thing. On closer inspection, I think you can see why I so appreciate the sense of “Ancientness” – for lack of a better term – as we look closer at this arbor:

All in all, the construction of this Garden I feel is a sort of Masterpiece. As the lad at the entry was effusive in reminding me: “This garden was rated the 6th best Japanese Garden in the world!” In my travels to Japan and Vancouver – which also has a very cool Japanese Garden – I have seen more than 6. I know there are hundreds. Such a seeming stretch for relevance turns out to me to be quite a statement for the knowledgeable fan. If it is indeed the 6th best in the world, that is huge. I have no trouble admiring the work and I happen to think it is somewhere a bit beyond “world class”.

This one is plain ‘special’.

Here are the remaining pictures from my camera that day. Too bad I am not there now, because the seasons are just now changing – another creative elemental ‘capture’ made by this gorgeous place which has its highlights for every season.

Here is a wall I really liked, an incidental piece but illustrative, in my opinion, of the craftsmanship applied to the smallest details here:

A pond I omitted earlier:

This bit of wildness within the garden is close to the above small pond. It gives the most naturalistic forest sense,  yet I couldn’t help but feel it was a part of the construction:

Yet another waterfall, towards the wilder area mentioned above:

On the periphery of the garden – a blending of human and Nature as the garden gives way to it.

Another look – back – at the human elements. A gorgeous still pond:

I really, really loved this lantern:

And this one too. Imagine their being lit for passage at night.

Pretty hard not to like these: (more random pictures)

My personal favorites!  Thanks, for visiting!

10 thoughts on “Portland Oregon Japanese Garden – Final Thoughts

  1. Gorgeous gardens you have there in Portland. We’ve actually been to these and they are just as peaceful as you have represented them in your pictures. Thanks for sharing with us.

  2. Truly delightful imagery is a regular of this stunning blog. I don’t really know where to start with my admiration, except to take a LONG moment in time and absorb your blog as an artist’s encyclopedia and intro to gardening and landscaping, with as much ideas and treats even for the greediest gardeners to delight in. I’ve seen some great landscaping ideas in your earlier posts, especially as I’m interested in restoring one of my old driveways but still haven’t found the right concept. Unfortunately, where I live, this domain is mainly for profit-makers and hardly ever includes people who are actually masters of their craft, not to mention that their artistry is not accompanied with an equally stunning blog. Respect! Looking forward to my next visit.


  3. Hey, thanks, Shibazguys. I was fortunate enough to actually be involved pretty intimately with the construction of the Portland Chinese Garden – a coincidence I will value forever. You get a chance to do something like that maybe once in a lifetime. I still feel lucky, having been there during the construction of it.

    Oriental gardens are rich experiences. My friend Philip, in another blog, details some of the early Arab and Moorish gardens of our human history in some fascinating ways. We have definitely always been gardeners, us humans.

  4. Hi Steve, and thank you for your warm words on my page. Apologise for the late reply, I seemed to have lost track of my recent comments!

    Anyway, I am pleased I popped in here. I just read/looked at the Japanese gardens, and your comments make me see more things than I would ‘on my own’.

    Like it or not, but you have a new regular reader! I have to see more of this!

    Another Blotanicaler…:-)

  5. Violet, you have humbled me. I can’t imagine my day being made as you have done in any nicer way. and I thank you. It has been my experience that information about the issues I happen to know something about is the ammunition for you to not only get what you want, but to save some money as well.

    Were I you, I would continue the search for making an appealing driveway, investigate the materials and do just a bit of research locally for fresh young talent out there who might be able to install it. Sometimes a hungry young business owner not only has his eyes light up with the prospect of working on an interesting project (I was certainly there more than once!) but the success of it lands him more solidly in the professional field. Just because they have not been around forever and charge an arm and a leg, does not mean they would not pay 100% attention to your project. And attention and drive are as important as anything, IMO.

  6. That garden looks absolutely serene. Imagine anyone being lucky enough to have such a garden for their own. I guess you have to be the Japanese emperor for that.

  7. LOL, Annette. The budget for the Chinese Garden was around 12 million bucks. This one looks more expensive. Maybe if you were Bill Gates. Oh – and the Emperor could still get it done, but I think he already has a few. 😉

  8. I love Japanese gardens! Huge kudos for always including so many pictures, Steve.

    I had the pleasure of visiting the Japanese garden at Cheekwood Estate in Nashville, TN. Definitely a ‘must-do’ for garden enthusiasts like us!

  9. Thank you Heidi. Yes, I have gone a little over the top by my normal standards with the pictures. Funny though, it makes creating these posts more fun at the same time. Plus – I have lots!

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