The Lan Su Chinese Garden, Portland, Oregon

January 14, 2013 Comments Off on The Lan Su Chinese Garden, Portland, Oregon

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Last week during a lunch break we walked through the Lan Su Chinese Gardens (Gardens) in Portland. After 4 1/2 years of living here, it was my first time visiting. The Gardens are located in the Old Town/Chinatown area of the city, adjacent to and north of downtown. The neighborhood is undergoing revitalization, but it can still be on the gritty side at times. It’s perfectly safe to walk through during the day, but a little more caution is needed at night. There is great architecture in the area, and as the name implies, several old buildings still line the streets. If you watch the NBC show Grimm, many of the urban shots are filmed in this part of the city.

The Gardens comprise one city block (a little over an acre). It’s very unassuming, just sitting there with other buildings in the middle of the city. Taking cues from its surrounding environment, the Gardens is as much about architecture as landscape. The structures and woodwork are replicas, of course, but the Gardens has done a good job in trying to capture Chinese culture. If you are visiting Portland, it’s certainly worth a few hours of your time. Below are some pictures.

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The Portland Japanese Garden, widely regarded as one of the finest of its kind outside of Japan, should also be high on your list when visiting. Much different in look and feel than the Chinese Gardens, it sits in Washington Park, the large park overlooking downtown just to the west. It celebrates natural landscape more than the built environment and, depending on the season, the scenery can be breathtaking. And next month, on Feb. 7, Dale Brotherton will be there demonstrating Japanese woodworking tools and architecture. I may see if I can work in a long lunch on that day…

Pictures of the Lan Su Chinese Garden.

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The tea house

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Persimmon tree

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I am unfamiliar with this type of joinery.

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