A break from work: Lan Su Chinese Garden

I was done with work at 1:30 on Friday like usual, but I had to come back at 3:30 for a meeting.  What to do for two hours?  A coworker suggested I visit the Chinese Garden.  I’d never been, I’m ashamed to admit, so I thought that was a brilliant suggestion and took myself.
Beautiful stones in the courtyard.  

The garden is designed so you are constantly looking at different frames.

Beautiful carved wood.

Overlooking the water and the Moon Locking Pavilion.

More beautiful carving.

More beautiful paths.

Peeking out onto the city street.  The garden takes up one full block, but it seems much bigger, from the inside.

Nothing makes me want to enter like a “do not enter” sign.
A small courtyard with more great stonework.

The plastic horses in this arrangement amused me.

The fabulous roof tiles are shaped like bats.

Six panels carved from ginkgo wood.  The fourth one says “Most cherished in this mundane world is a place without traffic; truly in the midst of a city there can be mountain and forest.”  Wen Zhengming.

This floor pattern is called “plum blossoms on cracked ice.”  So pretty!

The scholar’s study.

The tea house.

Steps across the water.

A beautiful waterfall.

Though all of the materials came from China, the plants came from the US.  This tree came from a house in Southeast Portland. The men working on the garden found it and asked the owner if it could be transplanted to the garden because the trees take so long to grow.  The owner said if his neighbors (who also loved the tree) agreed it could move.  It did.

This is a Lake Tai rock which is formed underwater over many decades in Lake Tai.  These are meditative rocks and viewing it from bottom to top is akin to venturing up a mountain peak.  It is now not allowed to export Lake Tai rock, so the garden is very happy to have been created at at time when export was still possible.

Keyhole framing.

Our great tour guide.

Nice “oasis in the city” photo.  That’s Big Pink, the tallest building in downtown Portland, peering over the garden wall.

More oasis stuff.

Yet more “oasis in the city”.

Here I got to tell my fortune.  I shook the can of sticks until one presented itself to me.  Then I looked at the number and opened the corresponding drawer to find my fortune.

Mine was “a long sought position in life will soon be yours.”  Sounds good to me.

Beautiful entrance to the Scholar’s private garden.

Nice detail here.

Here is the upper floor of the tea house.  If I had more time I would have gotten some tea.

Overall, this was a great way to spend a few hours before returning to work.  It is peaceful and calm and really is an oasis in the middle of the city.

4 thoughts on “A break from work: Lan Su Chinese Garden”

  1. Lovely! At first I thought you had visited the Japanese Garden next to the Rose Garden, which I've been to, but I see it's a whole different thing downtown. Great craftmanship.

  2. I've been to the Japanese Garden too, which is lovely and much larger. I loved the small size of this garden.

  3. I never went when I lived there, but went on a return visit. I love it! It's very charming. It's actually high on my list of "things to do in Portland" whenever people ask me (which is surprisingly frequent).

  4. Wow! I love how peaceful your visit seemed. It also seems like you have the gardens almost completely to yourself. The next time we visit, I decree that we shall have tea together in the Tea House!

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