Fragrant wisteria

I scooped up my girl and her cousin today and we went off to explore the Japanese garden in Portland’s west hills. I have been intending to go there for a couple of years. Then I purchased a Living Social coupon (do you LOVE those deals, or what?) to motivate myself.

Oh of course I forgot my camera, for gosh sakes. So I took the photos with my phone.

How lucky we were to happen upon a two-day bonsai exhibition from the Bonsai Society of Portland. The exhibition really is a sight to see and unlike others I’ve seen. It is springtime and the trees are in blossom! Far from traditional trained trees, this exhibit has wisteria, apple, lilac, and others in full blossom right now. The pavilion was filled with the heady fragrance of all the bonsai mixed together. Certainly there were the ever-beautiful juniper and maple and larch, as well.

173-year-old bonsai

Portland weather has finally turned warmer, so I knew the outing would be pleasant despite the deep grey skies. We did get rained on a couple of times, but it was a light rain and it suited the environment. Besides, we are all Portland girls so rain is not really much of an issue.

stone lantern

What a lovely garden. I will certainly go back because it is worth full admission price. There are two large white sand gardens, and many water features in the 5 1/2 acre haven of peace. Surrounded by towering Douglas Firs and other native trees, we often felt isolated from the city until we would come upon an overlook with a view down onto the skyscrapers below us. The day was not clear enough to see Mt. Hood, but I overheard a tour guide say that Mt. Hood was like a Mt. Fuji to Portlanders. It’s easy to see the similarity: both are sharp volcanic peaks that hold their snow when the rest of the land turns green.

hira niwa sand garden

The girls took off on their own and had scoped out the whole place by the time I was almost halfway through the bonsai exhibit. I let them hurry me through after that because the day was becoming a little chilly. In their eagerness, they missed the whole creeks-and-bridges section, and the second sand garden…so we went back to it. We found huge koi in one of the ponds, and many little stone lanterns that look like spirit houses and made me think of one of our favourite movies: Spirited Away. I will return later in the season with my camera, and alone, so that if it takes me 4 hours to get through the garden, no one will get impatient. 🙂

magical light

Strolling Pond Garden with waterfall and koi (can you see them?). This scene is surreal, as though we were in a terrarium.

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