Friday, July 29, 2011

Lan Su Chinese Garden

Lan Su Chinese Garden, A. Courtyard of Tranquility. May 2011

Lan Su Chinese Garden, D. Knowing the Fish Pavilion & E. Reflections in Clear Ripples (also known as the lounge house) May 2011

Lan Su Chinese Garden, F. Flowers Bathing in Spring Rain (6 panels carved from Ginkgo wood) May 2011

Lan Su Chinese Garden, Mahonia fortunei & Podophyllum pleianthum. May 2011

Lan Su Chinese Garden, J. Tower of Cosmic Reflections (tea house) May 2011 

 Lan Su Chinese Garden, Rosa x odorata 'Mutabilis' May 2011

 Lan Su Chinese Garden, I. Moon Lacking Pavilion & L. Painted Boat in Misty Rain. May 2011

The Lan Su Chinese Garden occupies an entire city block in Chinatown, very near Downtown Portland, Oregon.  It is such an amazing place that it really feels as though you have stepped into a different world.  The brochure is a small book to guide your journey.  Let's take the tour, using the brochure to instruct us.  I have abbreviated it considerably.

A. Courtyard of Tranquility: It's 16th century China, & you're standing in the entry courtyard of the private home & garden of a wealthy government official & scholar.  The garden around you is his spiritual utopia, a peaceful & soothing place designed to help him escape the problems of everyday life & discover his true self by connecting with nature.

B. Hall of Brocade Clouds: This is where the host meets & entertains guests.  Take a moment to gaze through the beautifully-framed lattice doors & windows to the open view of the garden.

C. Terrace: Scholars aspired to be hermits in the mountains, surrounded by nature.  Since affairs of state & family required living in the city, nature was brought to them on a smaller scale.

D. Knowing the Fish Pavilion:  The name comes from a conversation between 2 ancient scholars.  Scholar #1, 'The fish look happy.'  Scholar #2, 'You aren't a fish.  How do you know they're happy?'  Scholar #1, 'You aren't me.  How do you know I don't know they're happy?'

E. Reflections in Clear Ripples: In this room, also known as the lounge house, the scholar's family would gather for music, painting or playing games such as mahjong.

F. Flowers Bathing in Spring Rain:  6 panels carved from Ginkgo wood illustrate actual ancient gardens in Portland's sister city of Suzhou.

G. Scholar's Courtyard: This is an extension of the scholar's study, a quiet place for reflection & inspiration.  Plum trees near the study's entrance blossom early, signaling the coming of spring & symbolizing endurance & hope.

H.  Scholar's Study:  The study was a refuge, a place of comfort where the men of the family wrote poetry, practiced calligraphy, read, entertained fellow scholars & took naps.

I.  Moon Locking Pavilion:  On a clear night, your can see the reflection of the moon in the center of the lake, locked in by the pavilion's shadow.

J.  Tower of Cosmic Reflections:  Women of the house spent the day in this 2-story building from which they could view the garden & surrounding city.  At Lan Su, tea & snacks are served here.

K.  Rock Mountain & Waterfall:  The rockery is designed to appear as rugged mountains in the distance, complete with waterfalls & cascading streams.

L.  Painted Boat in Misty Rain:  This pavilion represents the boat of friendship that departed from Suzhou, made its way across the ocean & eventually docked in Portland.  From inside, you're meant to feel as if you're anchored on shore, rocked gently by small waves.

The Lan Su Chinese Garden also features a botanical collection of over 400 species & cultivars found in China.  Most of them are labeled.  The garden feels very lush with plants. Altogether, it is a very charming experience.

Here is a slideshow of more photos from the Lan Su Chinese Garden.
 Map of the Lan Su Chinese Garden

Friday, July 22, 2011

Tanner Springs Park

Tanner Springs Park May 2011

Tanner Springs Park May 2011

Tanner Springs Park May 2011

Tanner Springs Park May 2011

Tanner Springs Park May 2011

Tanner Springs Park May 2011

Tanner Springs Park May 2011

Tanner Springs Park can be found at the edge of the Pearl District, near the Willamette River, in Portland, Oregon.  It covers a full city block, nearly an acre of open space between NW 10th Avenue & NW 11th Avenue.  It is one of the most amazing & delightful urban parks I've seen. The hardscape blends perfectly with the surrounding modern buildings.  The water literally reflects them, & littorally reflects the Willamette River.  The Pearl District was once a wetland & lake. Tanner Creek flowed into Couch Lake in the area surrounding Tanner Springs Park. The lake & wetland were filled, then covered with warehouses & railroad yards. The park now lies 20 feet above the former lake.  Planning for the park began in 2003. Atelier Dreiseitl, a German design firm, & GreenWorks, P.C., a local landscape architecture firm, were selected to design the park. Construction began in 2004. The name Tanner Springs was adopted in 2005.  Tanner Springs Park is entirely planted with western Oregon native plants.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bloedel Reserve: The Japanese Garden

The Zen Garden by Koichi Kawana at the Bloedel Reserve April 2011

The Japanese Garden by Fujitaro Kubota at the Bloedel Reserve April 2011

The Bloedel Reserve in Bainbridge Island, Washington near Seattle, is an award-winning series of gardens covering 150 acres.  'Designed by Seattle landscape designer and nurseryman Fujitaro Kubota, the elegant landscape of the Japanese Garden offers subtly shifting views along its meandering stroll paths. The coniferous trees surrounding the garden provide a dark backdrop for the bold colors of Japanese maples and meticulously-pruned pines and flowering trees. The elements of stone and sand evoke meditative moods in the Zen Garden, designed by Koichi Kawana, professor of landscape architecture at the University of California.' (UCLA) from the Bloedel Reserve website.  The garden was named the 5th highest quality Japanese garden in the United States by the Journal of Japanese Gardening in 2004.  1st installed in 1961, it was renovated in 2010.  'The guest house is a subtle blend of traditional Japanese tea house & Pacific Northwest Indian longhouse.' from the Bloedel Reserve brochure.  I found it a unique & interesting structure, but I would not call it subtle.  It was designed by Paul Haden Kirk.  You can see the complete mid-century furnishings through the windows, which is a treat.  Among many other gardens, Fujitaro Kubota designed & built the display gardens at his nursery in Seattle, now known as Kubota Garden.

Friday, July 8, 2011

June Garden Pictures & Bloom Times

 Digitalis purpurea June 2011

Nectaroscordum siculum June 2011

 Oenothera versicolor June 2011

Penstemon serrulatus June 2011

 Thymus doerfleri 'Doone Valley'

To see a slideshow of more June pictures, click on the link: June Garden Pictures.

June Bloom Times
Below is a list of plants that began to bloom in my garden in Seattle in June 2010. I recorded the date when the 1st flower opened, not when they were in bud. I think this information is helpful in planning your garden. If you have room for more plants that bloom in June, you can choose something new that will bloom along with something you already have, or you can fill temporal gaps between blooms.  Nurseries in Seattle usually sell plants when they are in bloom. I have included dates from previous years. Weather conditions probably account for most of the difference in bloom times. June 2011 was cooler & drier than normal.  The average daily high temperature was 66.8F/19.3C.  The normal average daily high temperature is 70F/21.1C.  The highest temperature was 80F/26.6C, the lowest 38F/3.3C.  We had 0.67 inches of rain, 1.11 less than normal.  However, there were 1.25 inches in the rain gauge in my garden.  It rained on 13 days.  There were 13 cloudy days, 12 partly cloudy days & 5 sunny days.

06-01-11 Rhododendron 'Sappho' 5-04-10, 5-20-09, 5-18-08
06-02-11 Digitalis purpurea 5-26-09, 5-25-08
06-02-11 Erigeron glaucus 5-08-10. 5-29-09, 5-18-08
06-02-11 Paeonia 'Flame' 5-11-10, 5-25-09, 5-25-08
06-03-11 Geranium cantabrigiense 5-15-10, 5-20-09, 5-18-08
06-04-11 Ceanothus thyrsiflorus 'Victoria' 5-10-10, 5-30-09, 5-28-08
06-04-11 Rhododendron macrophyllum 5-18-10, 5-26-09, 5-18-08
06-05-11 Allium unifolium 5-27-10, 5-30-09, 5-25-08
06-05-11 Sisyrinchium californicum 5-25-10, 6-05-09, 6-12-08
06-06-11 Iris hartwegii 5-13-10
06-06-11 Sedum obtusatum 6-02-10, 6-03-08
06-07-11 Penstemon x mexicali 5-16-10, 6-05-09. 6-03-08
06-07-11 Rosa rugosa 'Hansa' 5-18-10
06-09-11 Kniphofia nelsonii 5-14-10, 6-01-09, 5-28-08
06-10-11 Penstemon serrulatus 5-30-10, 6-5-09, 6-12-08
06-11-11 Magnolia ashei  6-04-09, 6-03-10
06-11-11 Rosa nutkana
06-13-11 Digitalis obscura 06-05-09, 6-05-08
06-13-11 Rosa glauca  6-05-08,
06-14-11 Campanula persicifolia  6-09-10, 6-10-09
06-15-11 Aruncus aethusifolius  6-02-10, 6-11-09, 6-21-08
06-18-11 Campanula poscharskyana  6-11-10, 5-26-09, 6-12-08
06-18-11 Digitalis lutea  6-02-10, 6-22-08
06-21-11 Allium cernuum  6-18-10, 6-12-09, 6-22-08
06-21-11 Digitalis dubia
06-21-11 Penstemon pinifolius  6-04-10, 6-11-09, 6-22-08
06-21-11 Sedum aizoon  6-23-10, 6-23-09
06-21-11 Sedum forsterianum 6-22-08
06-22-11 Clematis integrifolia  6-11-10, 6-11-09
06-22-11 Paeonia 'Nippon Beauty' 6-03-09
06-23-11 Sedum sexangulare  6-26-10, 6-16-09, 7-06-08
06-23-11 Stachys byzantina 6-18-08
06-25-11 Hypericum ‘Hidcote’  6-06-10, 6-10-09, 6-20-08
06-26-11 Erigeron 'Blue Beauty' 6-11-09
06-28-11 Hebe salicifolia  6-14-10, 6-16-09, 7-10-08
06-29-11 Triteleia ‘Queen Fabiola’  6-23-10, 6-11-09, 6-22-08
06-29-11 Ligularia stenocephala ‘The Rocket’  6-21-10, 7-06-08
06-29-11 Sedum dasyphyllum  6-26-10, 6-16-09, 6-25-08
06-30-11 Aconitum napellus 6-21-09. 6-30-08

Friday, July 1, 2011

Purple Flowers

Allium schoenoprasum May 2010

Aubrieta deltoidea March 2010

Clematis x jackmanii August 2010

Pulsatilla vulgaris May 2010

Geranium phaeum May 2010

Purple lends richness and depth to the garden.  Purple flowers blend well with red & blue, contrast with yellow & orange.  Purple flowers look especially beautiful against blue-gray foliage.  I have included a range of flowers with colors from pale lavender to purple-black.  You may find that some tend toward red, blue or pink.  But these are all lovely purple or purple-ish flowers. 

Pawlonia tomentosa (Empress Tree): sun

Daboecia cantabrica (Irish Heath): sun
Lavandula stoechas (Spanish Lavender): sun, xeric
Rosa ‘Ebb Tide’ (Floribunda Rose) Rosa ‘Neptune’ (Hybrid Tea Rose) Rosa ‘Night Owl’ (Climbing Rose): sun

Anemone blanda ‘Radar’ (Windflower): shade
Aster ‘Hella Lacy’ (Michaelmas Daisy): sun
Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’ (False Indigo): sun
Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’: reseeding annual, sun
Digitalis purpurea (Foxglove): reseeding biennial, sun or shade
Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower): sun
Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ (Wallflower): sun
Fritillaria persica (Persian Fritillary): sun
Geranium phaeum (Mourning Widow): sun or shade
Helleborus x hybridus, Helleborus lividus (Hellebore): shade, tolerates dryness
Liatris spicata (Gayfeather): sun
Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage): sun
Pulmonaria longifolia (Lungwort): shade
Pulsatella vulgaris (Pasque Flower): sun
Tradescantia virginiana (Spiderwort): shade
Tricyrtis ‘Empress’ (Toad Lily): shade
Verbena bonariensis (Verbena): sun
Zantedeschia ‘Black Pearl’ (Calla Lily): sun, needs moisture

Groundcovers & Trailers
Liriope muscari (Lily Turf): shade, tolerates dryness
Mazus reptans (Creeping Mazus): sun