Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Japanese Garden, Portland I

My husband and I went for a mini-vacation to Portland, Oregon last week and, besides other things, visited the Japanese Garden there. I have to say that this was quite a memorable experience. We were very lucky with the weather that day, actually during our whole stay in Portland, and the light and the shadows were just so remarkable beautiful when we toured the garden.

It is said that the Japanese Garden in Portland is one of the most authentic outside of Japan. I don't know if that is true or not, but for sure this garden is of extraordinary beauty. My husband and I just felt instantly calm, peaceful and a strong connection to nature, in short, a sense of happiness. I think it is wonderful when a garden can affect a person that way and I am sure, we are not the only ones.

It was created by Professor Takuma Tono in 1963, who is obviously a master of this art, on 5.5 acres and contains five different gardens/garden styles: Strolling Pond Garden, Tea Garden, Natural Garden, Sand and Stone Garden, Flat Garden. To me this garden felt way bigger than it actually is, probably because it is surrounded by a typical Pacific Northwest forest, so you don't perceive where the designed Japanese Garden ends and the natural woods begins.

When we entered the Portland Japanese Garden this is one of the first scenes that we saw and I immediately knew that we were in for something very special. 

I turned back to the entrance gate and spotted this beautiful simple bell.

Also close to the entrance to the right and left side were two Fu Dogs watching over the garden.

I was surprised to find some azaleas still blooming so profusely at this time of the year. 

When I spotted this gardener hard at work, I assumed that she would pinch off spent azaleas blooms and was impressed that they paid so much attention to detail in this garden.

I asked, if I could take a picture of her and we started talking, and I was more than surprised to find out that she wasn't just pinching off spent blooms from the bush, but pinching off all flowers. That was of course a startling discovery, so she was quick to explain that this was a decision made by the "higher level" of the garden management. The reasoning behind it is, that azalea blooms are out of season by now and therefore didn't go with the authentic look that a Japanese Garden should have at this time of the year.

Anyway, I loved these mossy stones with the white sparse azalea blooms.

An especially beautiful pagoda.

I don't think that it is coincidence that the pagoda mimics the tall needle trees behind her.

This area is the Strolling Pond Garden.

I was fascinated by the moss hanging from the branches of this tree. So beautiful with the sunlight shining on it.

One of the many Japanese lanterns, scattered, or better said carefully placed throughout the garden.

Another gardener doing very detailed pruning on a shrub. I wonder how many people are working in this place.

Light dancing on this azalea bush.

A traditional Japanese Tea House, striking in its simplicity. Sorry for the bad photo quality, but I wasn't able take a better shot with the strong contrasts of bright and dark in this area and didn't want to skip showing you this beautiful traditional building.

Moon Bridge in the Strolling Pond Garden. 

The gardeners used what looked to me like traditional Japanese garden tools. They are beautiful by themselves.

One last look at the Strolling Pond Garden, which was one of the most harmonious areas in my perception.

Mossy lantern, so pretty!

There were many Japanese Maples in the garden. This one had very delicate leaves that were glowing in a bronze color in the sunlight.

Scene that seems to come right out of a Japanese fairy tale. 

The Zig Zag Bridge. 

The area around the Zig Zag Bridge was planted with one kind of a blue flowering iris. Unfortunately, the variety is unknown to me.

Close-up of the lovely iris blooms. 

In this area was a nice Koi pond, filled with many differently colored Koi. 

It was lovely to see the fish eating algae at the egdes of the Koi pond. They made slurping gurgling sounds by doing so, which somehow was entertaining and calming at the same time. I found the yellow golden Koi especially attractive.

I took many more photos of the Portland Japanese Garden, that I think are worth showing. So there will be a part II soon. Hope you come back to see more of this stunningly beautiful garden!



  1. Beautiful photos Christina! Brings back memories of our visit there, a very well executed Japanese garden.

  2. Indeed a beautiful Japanese garden, I'm always impressed by the peace and quite emanating from these gardens. Japanese gardens are maintained painstakingly neat, gardeners have to be so patient..... Nevertheless, I love to see this kind of gardens. Great pictures!

  3. What a lovely, peaceful garden! Thank you for sharing your visit here with us. I look forward to part 2.


  4. Me encanta, y me gustaría conocerlo. Besos.

  5. It's a beautiful garden and your photos captured it well, Christina. I hope to get there myself someday. Funny about the Azalea pruning, though - I'd have thought that the garden's overseers would allow nature to dictate its own schedule (especially as the general warming trend is likely to continue to fiddle with bloom times).

  6. I love the Portland garden. It's such a serene place. I've visited it once but would love to go back when I have more time.

  7. Must have been a very beautiful trip Christina. Great photo's.
    Have a wonderful day.

  8. What a treat Christina! Thank you so much for passing this along as I have never been to this garden is so extraordinary!!! Just the size of it!!!! My goodness! I bet it was just like walking through a dream! Happy weekend to you my friend! Nicole xo

  9. Adorei passear com você nesse lindo jardim, Christina!

    Os jardins japoneses são muito harmônicos, nos convidam a contemplação, transmitindo paz e espiritualidade

    É simplesmente maravilhoso contemplar suas belas fotos!

    beijinhos, tenha um final de semana bem bonito!

    Lígia e =^.^=

  10. I have been to Portland several times but visiting this garden was always pushed aside for some other activity; there is so much to do! Next time, I will make this a priority. I agree that this Japanese garden instills a sense of peace. However, I think that to remove the azalea blooms before their time is going too far; I suspect that some azaleas are still blooming in Japan, and that is as authentic as it gets!

  11. It's nice to see this garden through the lens of your camera, Christina!
    I try to remove spent flowers from my azalias, but only when they all are spent.
    It's always interesting to talk to gardeners! I wrote recently about cutting down lupins in Arundel Castle Gardens in England (not pinching flowers, but cutting down the whole plant while it's still in FULL bloom) to promote new growth and repeated bloom. The Head Gardener told us that people around don't like that, but that way plants are blooming even in October.
    Thank you for the tour!

  12. Liebe Christina,
    natürlich ganz anders als ein Rosengarten :-)
    Aber so wunderschön! Tolle Bilder!
    Ganz viele liebe Sonntagsgrüße
    sendet dir die Urte :-)

  13. A beautiful and peaceful place!

  14. Absolutely gorgeous and serene. Thank you so much for sharing!

  15. Fantastic trip to Portland. Beautiful pictures! Groetjes, Hetty

  16. Oooh I am soooooo jealous! Would have loved to have seen this garden for real, but your photos and description made it almost as if I was there.

    I absolutely love Japanese gardens and I would love to have one myself – well, if my garden was 10 times bigger I could have one part of it Japanese and my roses and everything else in the other half. But then I would need a gardener to take care of it all….so perhaps I should be just happy with what I got and keep on with my mishmash of plants and planting style :-)
    But if I did have a Japanese garden I think I would let everything bloom for as long as it wanted!