We are in Portland, Oregon, for a "working vacation"--I have a conference at the end of the week, and Dear Husband had never been to the Pacific Northwest either--so we did some sightseeing together.
Top of our list for places to visit in Portland was the Japanese Garden, which is said to be the most authentic of the kind outside of Japan. Professor Takuma Tono (Tokyo Agricultural University) designed it in the late 1950s to incorporate numerous different styles on the site of the old zoo. The Garden opened in 1967 to visitors, and it has been added to and expanded upon as late as 2017.
You enter by ascending a serpentine pathway up the hillside to a "village" of buildings (visitors center, display area, gift shop, cafe). Unfortunately, their next art installation opens at the end of the week. So we had to content ourselves with wandering through the gardens, two 30-40-minute loops, each time with a break to sit quietly in the far corner in front of a burbling waterfall.
After collecting ourselves, we walked back out of Washington Park to the trendy Alphabet District, where we met an old friend for fancy ice cream at Salt & Straw: chocolate-kissed zucchini bread for me, cloudforest chocolate hazelnut cookies and cream (made with coconut cream) for Dear Husband. Sea salt with caramel ribbons is their most popular flavor. Then it was home to snuggle under a blanket on the couch for me, and a nap for DH, until we were hungry enough for dinner at vegan restaurant Blossoming Lotus.
This pavilion is part of the Flat Garden. During busy times it has exhibitions, including bonsai.
At the Lower Pond in the Strolling Pond Garden. (The cranes are statues, the better to ensure every
visitor gets an Instagrammable photo with "wildlife"?)
Outbuilding in the Tea Garden; tea house constructed in Japan and shipped to Portland in pieces behind it. Classical features include rustic stepping stones and lanterns that give the sensation of a long journey out of the cares of the city into relaxation in the countryside.
Flower arranging and dragon statue.
Heavenly Falls, from the side. They were taller than they appear here, and quite loud.
Strolling Pond Gardens such as these were popular on estates during the Edo Period (1603-1867) as demonstrations of wealth and a luxurious lifestyle.
Sand and Stone Garden, from above. These kind of "dry landscape" gardens were developed in the late medieval period (1185-1333) to capture the beauty of blank space. They are for contemplation, not meditation.
View from the bench at our happy place in Portland, the Natural Garden. Apparently this was originally supposed to be a mossy Hillside Garden, but the terrain was too inhospitable, so it was redesigned with plants to evoke all four seasons. Bet it would look great in spring with pink azaleas, or in high autumn with red and orange foliage. As it was, the tiny maple leaves looked like so many stars against the bright sky.