Category Archives: photography

Autumn at the Chinese Garden

I’ve visited several times since renewing my Lan Su membership, but for one reason or another didn’t take many photos. Last week I was camera happy.

First some overviews–it has been so long that I’ve forgotten names of some of the building.

1land boat

I do remember the land boat (left), but not the pagoda’s name.

1zigzag bridge

And the zigzag bridge–shaped because evil spirits go in straight lines, thus they can’t get across.

I was amazed at how much green remains in the garden. It has been a mild fall. On my street there are bare trees that had been yellow, red leaves still hanging and a few green trees delaying the color thing.

The poetry wheel is either new, or I’ve managed to visit at times when it wasn’t displayed.

1 poetry wheel

Workshops were taught–I’m not sure how many styles of poem were among the lessons. The form the garden sports is the couplet: two lines with patterned opposites.  If the first word of one line is “many” the first line of the next is “one,” for example. The poems I read did not follow that pattern. Workshop attendees could opt to exhibit their poems. I took some close ups to share, but the words weren’t visible in the photos. You’ll have to use your imagination.

The sun was bright and beautiful, but it did wash out color on some of my photos. On the other hand, it made shadow designs.

1 shadows

There actually were quite a few people visiting that day–and they did photo bomb some of my shots. It seems amazing I got any without people.

Some bits of fall color:

And pomegranates in two places, a large tree and a potted tree.

The tour guide said the ones on the small tree were the largest he had seen it produce. It seems a plentiful year.  In the past there has been fruit still hanging late into winter, so I guess they don’t harvest them.

And in spite of it being fall, there are still flowers.

I hope you enjoyed your vicarious visit.





Filed under photography, Portland OR

Japanese Garden

Another venture during daughter and grandson’s visit was the Japanese Garden. It is not a colorful season, like spring or fall would be; however, there is a subtle beauty to the various greens.

It is more meditative than a place to run and play, so we wondered about its appeal to a 3 1/2-year-old. The ticket clerk offered a treasure hunt map, which Logan guarded carefully for most of the visit.

Japanese Garden treasure map

He spotted the first item all by himself, but had to be helped to find others.

Japanese Garden tall structureSpotted instantly by Logan, it was at the beginning of the path. ETA a description from the brochure: “The antique 5-tiered stone pagoda lantern [was] given to Portland from its sister city, Sapporo, Japan. The stones at the base of the pagoda are in the shape of the island of Hokkaido. The red stone represents Sapporo.”

The rest were less obvious.Japanese Garden heron sculptures

A pointed finger led him to see the heron sculptures; I don’t think he ever saw the frog. (It doesn’t even show up in my photo–distant, small and moss covered.)

The deer chaser was fascinating.

Japanese Garden deer chaser

We watched several rounds while the water flowed from the top bamboo to the lower one; the lower one filled up and tipped, making a sound. Luckily it didn’t take too long to fill.

Buddha and the Animals was a bit abstract and took some convincing.

His mother pointed out the number of animals on the map and the number of small stones in the sand garden, and he was finally satisfied.

The Jizo was spotted by only one adult in the group and required retracing steps.

Japanese Garden lecture

Doesn’t he look like he is giving a lecture about it?

Hunger pangs decreased interest in the map; food not being allowed in the garden, we worked on getting to the exit and a picnic area near the International Test Rose Garden.

The two gardens are among the sites in Washington Park.





Filed under family, photography, travel

Last Lan Su for awhile

The Lan Su Chinese Garden is closing after Thanksgiving for some major repairs to the lake–the lining needs to be replaced and they are creating places for the koi to hide from the herons that pass through for dinner. That pushed me to make a visit before it closed, and the timing led to some spectacular color.

The star red tree–front.

Fall redFrom the back

LS red 1 back

Through the arch

LS red 1 through archWith that little penjing as an accent. I remember the first time I saw one of those miniaturized trees changing with the season. After my surprise, I thought, Of course!

There were other more delicate colors, as well as an exhibit of mums and floral arrangements.

And the most persimmons I’ve seen on the tree. Maybe I should say the most I remember seeing–I didn’t go back and check old photos.

There were indoor floral arrangement demonstrations too, and we watched two. But my photos of their arrangements didn’t turn out. Two very different styles, and fun to see both. And mums everywhere.

And the ritual landboat shot–with persimmons to the left and lotus in the foreground.

LS landboat

The view through the keyhole arch was spectacular too.

LS key hole arch




Filed under photography, Portland OR

Lan Su Chinese Garden, Late January

Two years and I have missed the plum blossom tree in full bloom, being too early and/or too late. This year I am determined. . . . Not quite yet though.
First view of plum blossom treeNot a bad show–and the best I’ve gotten so far– but not full bloom yet.

Now it is supposed to be the first bloom of winter, but the tree to the left either didn’t know that or decided to upstage it.

Tree to left

Actually the guide said that this tree was blooming over a month early since the winter had been so mild.

The floor mosaic honors the plum blossom tree too: Plum Blossoms on Cracked Ice. (My blocks for the Cracked Ice quilt reminded me of this floor, hence the quilt name.)

Floor mosaic

Other flowers were blooming.

These photos are to say to all folks stuck in snowdrifts that spring will come. The upper left flower is called Wintersweet, and it does have an amazing fragrance. The lower left is one I’ve been calling forsythia; however, it is winter jasmine. Today’s guide was very good about naming the plants–too bad I don’t remember all of the names. The bees were enjoying the other yellow flower–one whose name I didn’t catch. And the lower right is the red rose that has been in bloom every visit since I’ve been watching it.

And here is the ritual view of the landboat.

landboatNote that there are no longer any persimmons hanging on to the tree to the left. I’m thinking I need another ritual shot besides the land boat. How about this bridge?

Bridge and Lake Tai rockThese two views capture four of the five elements of a Chinese philosopher’s garden: water, stone, architecture, and of course plants. What is missing is poetry. Another visit.

And one last view of the plum blossoms.

plum close up


Filed under nature, photography, Portland OR

Lan Su Chinese Garden in the Rain

I finally got to the garden in the rain. Actually it wasn’t on purpose. It wasn’t raining when my friend and I went to the bus stop. This is Portland, after all.

Moon Locking PavillionLook hard: see the red rose in the upper right? Still blooming. And the next photo is a close up of the white flower in the foreground.

white flower

Other flowers were blooming also.

yellow flower and lotus boat

It looks like the lotus boat is a permanent fixture, not just during lotus harvesting season.

And the ritual shots of the land boat, persimmons tree, and weeping willow:

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I wonder how long those last persimmons will hang on.

There are enough covered passage ways that we didn’t get too wet while visiting in the rain. But the tea room is one of the best sheltered places–quite a few visitors thought so; it was crowded. And rain did limit some of the spots where I like to take photos. I’m waterproof, but my camera isn’t.

And though it was raining, it wasn’t raining hard enough to hear the sound effect of the drip from the tile to the banana leaves. I think there are more visits in my future.

Oh, and in case you couldn’t see the red rose, here is a shot with a little zoom: It is said to bloom 8 out of 12 months; I’m counting.

red rose with zoom





Filed under nature, photography, Portland OR

September at Lan Su Chinese Garden

There were two surprises in this September visit: no changing leaf color even though I’d begun to see a little yellow and red in my neighborhood and more flowers blooming than in August.

Here is the tree that that last  big peach fuzzy flower grew on:

Tree with pink flower

See it between the two parallel arching foreground branches? I’m glad for my zoom lens. Wouldn’t it be nice if I knew more names of flowers?  Guides mention them and there are booklets with some identified. But always there are more flowers than identities.

There is a red rose that they say is in bloom 8 out of 12 months of the year–I’ll have to check on that.

red roseApparently September is the time to harvest lotus blossoms. There is a lotus boat amid the lotus patch.

lotus boat

The gardener would wade into the “lake” in hip boots to pick the lotus flowers.  (Not only is this lake shallow, but the lake in the actual ancient philosopher’s garden would have been shallow as well. These gardens’ purpose is to bring the country into the city.) The boat is not for the gardener but for the harvested lotus flowers.

lotus pods

The remaining pods have their own beauty.



Filed under nature, photography, Portland OR

More Rockies Photos

The Rockies in the U. S. are higher than those in Canada; however, the Canadian Rockies look higher because the glaciers carved the valleys deeper. Bow Summit, with its view of Lake Peyto, gives a sense of the path the Peyto Glacier took.

Lake PeytoThe cloudy, teal color of the lake water results from light on rock flour–small grains of rock scraped by the moving glacier. The teal color is more vivid on some days than others.

Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake

Lake Louise

Lake Louise

Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake

At Moraine Lake, the rock pile that created the lake can be climbed–and several members of the tour did.


Moraine at Moraine Lake

Wild life is a fun feature when out in nature.  We had a couple sitings of Big Horn Sheep families.

Big Horn Sheep

The driver stopped the bus, but there wasn’t time to get out. We also saw a couple bear and a bison herd. Some group members, while walking through town, saw a black bear eating berries about ten feet away.  A little close for their comfort, but the bear seemed not to notice them and just kept eating.

At the entrance to Banff is a bridge made from rock smoothed by the glacial river.


Also at Banff was the Cave and Basin Hot Springs.

Cave and Basin

No longer is it open for bathing. There are endangered snails that live there that would be harmed by the pH change from even dipping hands in the water. Because of the temperature of water from the hot springs, there are some tropical fish up in the cold Rockies.

The days in Banff and Jasper areas included lectures and field trips, Ben Gadd in Banff and Kirsten Schmitten in Jasper. From Jasper we took the Rocky Mountaineer train to Vancouver–those photos are yet to be sorted out.

One more mountain view.

Mountain in Banff area



Filed under nature, photography, travel