This last weekend saw nearly perfect weather. I spent the entire weekend outside, enjoying the sunshine. That’s the thing with people who live around here; when we have a break in the rain, we make the most of it! I know people that have called in sick to work on account of the sunshine…
The Oregon Zoo sponsors admission to other Portland attractions every month, and April was the month to see the Lan Su Chinese Garden for free. We had never been there before, but had heard good things about it. Turns out they were right! There were a lot of things to see in the gardens, and a lot that I didn’t photograph. In all, there are over 300 different species and cultivars of ornamental plants that are found in traditional Chinese gardens.
Lan Su was opened in 2000, and was built by people from Suzhou, China. Most of the building materials came from China, as well. In case you were wondering, Suzhou is the sister city of Portland. In Chinese, Lan Su means “Garden of the Awakening Orchids”, which is just what was happening during our visit.
The first thing that I saw when I walked into the gardens was an amazing Mountain Magnolia. If you like trees, you’ll be impressed by this one. Huge leaves (yay!) and smooth bark make it a show stopper, and I’m sure it looks even better in bloom. Mountain Magnolia (Magnolia delavayi)
Rather than bore you with information, I’ll just feed you eye candy.
A Mahonia… I didn’t get the name. Great red coloration on the new leaves though!
The bamboo was sending up new shoots. They were large, I think of the Moso variety.
The garden has a Poncirus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’ that is very old, and very happy. If you look up high (relatively high, as ‘Flying Dragon’ is a dwarf form) you can see little bitter oranges beginning to form.
A nice view into the bonsai room… sadly I didn’t get any pictures of the few bonsai that were out.
Speaking of citrus, the garden actually has a kaffir lime planted in the ground! Maybe it’s a kaffir lime grafted onto hardier rootstock?
Rhododendron sinogrande. The most impressive rhododendron, in my opinion. You can’t beat giant, glossy, evergreen leaves, can you? This rhody looks nearly perfect, and is the only rhody I would add to my garden. That is, if I could find one for sale.
An awakening orchid, the namesake of Lan Su Gardens. This is a terrestrial (ground dwelling) orchid, of the genus Bletilla. I’ve got one in my own garden, but Lan Su has hundreds. They’re even cooler in person.
One of Lan Su’s many tree peonies. This one, much the like rest, wasn’t doing much in the way of blooming. The leaves are still nice though. They remind me of a cross between regular peonies and lovage!
The weather here is looking better and better, so you can bet on seeing some photos of my own garden in the very near future. Maybe I’ll plant out a few more bananas!