Thursday, October 23, 2008

Oct 23, 2008 - Portland's Chinese Gardens

The Chinese Garden is one of my favorite spots. It's so tranquil and harmonious. Portland's sister city, Suzhou, built this garden. Chinese artisans constructed the walls, buildings, pavilions and walkways using materials and tools they brought from China.

The garden is mostly in the style of Ming dynasty gardens and it is considered a winter garden. There is a tree that blooms in November and fills the neighboring blocks with an intoxicating smell. There is a Magnolia tree with will keep its big swelling buds until spring when it will bloom. A Oriental Plum is one of the harbingers of

spring and will bloom in February. Even though it is a winter garden there were a few fall trees - very lacy and delicate like those in the Japanese Garden.

A classical Chinese garden consists generally of five elements: plants, stone, water, architecture and poetry. As we wandered around enjoying the beauty we enjoyed some pleasing Chinese music. I thought it was piped in over speakers and I also thought the instrument was a flute. As we came to the Tea House we decided to go in. That's when we discovered the music where the music was coming from.

This was a string instrument that we had never see before. The man playing allowed us to take some pictures and he talked with us about the instrument. He said it was very easy to learn - instead of notes the music is written with numbers. What a great concept. I thought I might come home and translate some piano music into this number form and I might be able to play the piano. Candleman, who loves to buy instruments and who even plays them, was most excited. Someday we hope to find one of these for him.

They served our different flavored herbal teas in individual little teapots. Mom liked Candleman's pot best, but I liked our little blue flowered pots better. We tried Hibiscus, Rose Hip and, oh, I can't remember. It was a delightful experience, absolutely delightful.

I love the picture I took from the upstairs window of the rooftops. Speaking of windows,

I love the windows in the buildings. And speaking of roofs - these are made in columns so that the rain runs down the columns and then it hits a little stone guard that causes the rain to fall in individual drops. We were hoping to see rain while in the garden so we will have to return. Oh, darn. Our weather was perfect - October cool but clear skies.

There were some beautiful bonsai plants throughout the garden - deciduous, evergreens, bushes. It's just amazing. I never thought of a big redwood being made into a bonsai, but isn't it wonderful?

Last time we visited we talked about bringing a book with us next time and staying for hours, sitting, reading, contemplating, walking, sipping tea, sitting, reading, soaking in the harmony, tranquility, and loveliness.

I carried the book I was reading, Cassandra & Jane by Jill Pikeanthley, in hopes I would get 15 minutes or so to sit, read and contemplate. I sat down next to Candleman on one of our favorite benches. I opened my book and Candleman nudged me and said, "If we want to get into the gift shop, we better get going before they close." Hard choices! I wish I would have chosen reading. Candleman did buy a recently published book that interprets the columns of poetry found throughout the garden, so that was good.

1 comment:

julie said...

My visit to the Chinese Gardens was the highlight of my first visit to Portland. It's so incredible! If I had tons of money, I'd have one built for my own private use (and the use of people I love, of course). Aaaahhhh. It's always nice to dream.