Monday, September 22, 2008


Two of my favorite gardens in the world are not far from home, but worlds away from the western gardening traditions I grew up with. The Portland Classical Chinese Garden and the Portland Japanese Garden are stunning examples of traditional gardens from the other side of the Pacific. These styles have certainly influenced contemporary gardens here, but these 2 gardens executed under strict guidelines of form and tradition transport us away from this frontier civilization of the American west coast to the ancient grace of the east.
The Chinese Garden is a scholars garden. A walled garden that would have been placed in an urban setting. In Portland the towering high rises just outside the walls create a surreal effect.

The Japanese Garden are tucked into the western hills of Portland. Snug in a heavily wooded ravine one truly feels “somewhere” else. I talked briefly with the head gardener; I asked her if her work felt like a spiritual practice. All she replied was .” This is a a sacred place.” I hope these pictures convey some of that quality. This electronic medium seems so distant from that garden.

The moon viewing garden. The gravel is raked in the pattern of rice paddies for the harvest moon viewing.

The multiple textures blend beautiful when used with a restrained color palette.