Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Washington Park's Japanese Garden in Portland

The Japanese Garden in Portland's Washington Park covers 5 1/2 acres in the hills west of the city.  Opened on June 1, 1967, it was built on the site of Portland's former zoo. The garden is on Sunset magazine's list of top 13 public gardens in the U.S.

It's a lovely garden, very peaceful and serene.

Wisteria was in bloom, hanging from a large arch that you enter through

It can take up to 4 hours to rake this design into the sand. How do they do it without leaving footprints?

A view of Portland

Hope you enjoyed this peaceful walk through the greenery. Tomorrow: Lan Su Garden

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Rose Orgy

On Memorial Day weekend, my husband Nigel and I went to Portland. We left on Friday morning, and came home on Monday afternoon, traveling by Amtrak, which was a very pleasant, low-key, relaxing way to travel.

Me on the train -- good thing they have such wide, spacious seats

We had a good time in Portland, visited Powell's Books (a large, rambling bookstore), didn't bother with Voodoo Donuts, ate at least one meal at a food truck (Portland is famous for them), checked out the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (where we got to go inside a submarine, Nigel was thrilled), and visited some gardens (which thrilled me). We walked our poor little tootsies off. Fortunately, we had good weather, not cold, a little overcast at times with sun breaks, but not rainy. At this time of year, I don't think I could have expected better. We lucked out, because I heard afterward that just a little further north, here in the Seattle/Tacoma area, they had torrential rain all weekend.

On our very first full day, Saturday, we took the Trimet public transport to Washington Park, where the Oregon Zoo, the Hoyt Arboretum, the Japanese Garden, and the International Rose Test Garden are located. My priorities were with the Japanese Garden and the Rose Garden. Zoos often have interesting landscaping, so it's always possible on a return visit I will be tempted to take in the zoo and the arboretum. Nigel had brought a book, and was very happy to sit and read while I frolicked with the green growing things.

I enjoyed the Japanese Garden, which is apparently one of the best, if not the best, examples of a Japanese garden in North America. It contained azaleas, rhodies, Japanese maples, moss, hostas, lots of up-and-down stone pathways, plenty of dipper-type water features, stone lanterns, gravel, boulders, a view of downtown Portland, wooden pavilions, and a teahouse. It was a relaxing way to spend an hour or so, and I'm still putting together a post on it. (Loree at danger garden did an excellent post on it last fall, which you can read here.)

I'm not really much of a rose aficionado. I don't grow any in my garden, they're just too fussy. But I can certainly appreciate their beauty and their wonderful scent. On those two points, the Portland International Rose Test Garden blew me away. It's a really large garden, it just goes on and on, row after row of beautiful, well-tended, well-labeled roses. It covers at least three large terraced areas. I'm afraid there were a few where I neglected to get a picture of the name tag, so I can't identify them here in my post.

It's not ALL roses from here onward, but close.

One small area of the rose garden

The terraces were separated by these sloping beds full of roses

This couple snagged a prime viewing spot!

Sunny Knockout

Apricot Drift

Tuscan Sun (a little water-spotted from recent rain)

Sally Holmes

Look at all that healthy, pristine foliage! This one is called Firefighter.

Can you believe the number of buds here?

You may notice I seem to be partial to orange/apricot shades and bicolors. To be honest, blood-red gets me going too.

Sorry I didn't get a name. This flower was bigger than my hand.

Twilight Zone

Pat Austin

Grand Prize

In one corner of one of the lowest terraces is the Shakespeare garden, presumably a garden devoted to roses either named in Shakespeare's plays, or with names that are phrases from the plays. Strangely, there were not that many roses there. There was, however, lots of tropical foliage. I don't quite  understand what the Tropicalismo look has to do with Shakespeare, but it was gorgeous.

This peony was swaying in the breeze. It was enormous, seriously, probably as big as my garden shed. I mean, look at it next to those elephant ears, and they were big too.

Ready for a few more roses?


Rhapsody in Blue

The Lady of Shallott
Finally tired of photographing roses, I turned the camera briefly on some of the people in the park.

I was struck by the juxtaposition of this couple on the bench with the newly married couple above, who were there to have wedding photos taken.

The rose garden amphitheater

I surreptitiously managed to photograph this couple, in the act of taking a selfie.

A large bank of enormous Rhodies makes a beautiful backdrop for the rose garden

The Rhodie flowers have rained down on the grass like confetti

Finally, back to where my very own knight in shining armor awaits!