Another nice thing about visitors (besides: visitors!) is that we get to return to some favorite local spots, perhaps sooner than we would have on our own. I’m always ready to visit the Japanese Garden; every time is different, and I find new ways to be amazed by its magical intersection of natural beauty and thoughtful design. Catching my eye this time: the bonsai collection (recently moved out from their winter protection), fresh looks at some of the design features, and the continuing spring color show.
You can read Nancy’s reflections about this day
on her blog.
(Click any image for a lightbox style slideshow of all the photos in this gallery.)
Lily of the Valley Bonsai Wisteria Bonsai The patio where the bonsai are on display is surrounded by a beautiful wooden fence — which I think is an unfortunate choice for bonsai background. This 150 year old Mountain Hemlock really shows off one of my favorite things about bonsai: if you focus on it, it seems big. I can imagine this tree towering over a forest grove. The horizontal lines of the fence create an objective scale that can mask that illusion for me. I guess I just need to focus more. At any perceived size, this 300 year old Juniper is the almost unimaginable result of a dozen generations of cultivation and care. Around the time Copernicus first suggested that the earth orbits the sun, someone had an idea about this Juniper bonsai, and 20 generations later, here it is. At the top of the path leading into the garden, there is a stairway with glass sides. Adjacent is a decorative bamboo lattice. The pairing catches my eye every time, and I have dozens of attempts to capture what interests me about it in a photo. This is as close as I’ve come. So far. With the enhanced morning light in the springtime, the waterfalls behind the waterfalls bloom out of the darkness where they’ve been hiding all winter. The bridge. Reversing the history of influence, this bridge always makes me think of Giverny. Which makes the rest of the visit more like walking through a Monet painting. The site of the garden was previously the original location of the Portland Zoo, and this showcase waterfall was the bear habitat. In their honor, the garden designer placed darker stones in the walkway in the shape of Ursa Major. Nice touch; but the waterfall is a better photo. If I remember the docent’s story correctly, the garden makes its design decisions through a defined process, and doesn’t generally accept contributions. However, this statue appeared in this location unannounced, and upon review, it was decided that was its proper place. Spring colors in the Japanese Garden