The Lan Su Garden, Portland

Lan Su Chinese Garden is located in Portland, Oregon.

The garden as a memory of lost paradise is a subject found throughout human history — in religion, poetry, fine arts, and science. The idea of paradise is a projection of wishes and desires that cannot be attained on Earth — a garden becomes its earthy reflection.

— Johann Kraftner

lan garden-5

I began to appreciate the ruggedly rising rock landscapes, the narrowness of the path, tiny pond, and courtyards of Chinese garden a little better, after I read the” The Elegant Garden” written by Johann Kraftner.

“Its irregular configuration, which gives the illusion that it cannot be beheld in its entirely, encourages this effect.”

lan garden-4

“It is not a route that is the destination, but rather the views seen while traversing; the impressions received on the way.”


“There is no clearly defined path leading around the pond or courtyard; one can always enter adjoining rooms, to emerge in a completely different spot.”

lan garden-1

“The visitor quickly loses a prescribed sense of direction and is continually encountering new elements not seen before.”

“After a walking tour, not a single visitor will know which route he or she actually took and where he or she was, which indicates how intentionally confusing and ultimately miraculous is the design of the entire park (garden).”


“A world in which the density increases from one room to the next; a world that trains one’s eye on humble things;

lan garden-6

a world in which apparently inconsequential items become protagonists.”


A group of people were practicing Tai Chi in this elegant garden facing the waterlily pond (the young man wearing a pair of black pants with white strips was the instructor). It looks like a paradise to me. 🙂

Note: All quotes above are from the ” The Elegant Garden” written by Johann Kraftner.

Here is a post of Lotus you really, really don’t want to miss. Exquisite! Click here

Take a walk down to the North Yorkshire beautiful coast to Whitby with Jo!


Thank you so much for visiting! Happy Wednesday 🙂

73 thoughts on “The Lan Su Garden, Portland

  1. Amy, this is a walk I could stay lost in forever! This style of oriental garden is my absolute favourite. I would so love to visit, but I will linger instead in your lovely photos. I must look out for the book, too. Many, many thanks to you, again.


  2. what a beautiful garden, Amy! and the peace and beauty it provides by looking at your lovely photos is amazing! johann kraftner’s quotes are equally beautiful! thanks for sharing. 🙂


  3. What a beautiful garden! I love waterlilies. My favorite picture is the second one with the boat but the framed pictures (3rd and 5th) are really nice as well.


  4. Is that really in Oregon? It looks very much like from another part of world. It is so authentic I could swear it is in Japan. So pretty, I could easily take a hundred pictures.


    • Thank you for liking these pics. I was really surprised when I entered the garden. Yes, very authentic, dozens of Chinese scholars were involved with the design.


    • That’s right, you live in Portland. We took a train (great train system, btw) to the old town. It only took 5,6 min. walk from the stop to the garden. 🙂


  5. Never knew Oregon had a Chinese garden. It looks like a magnificent one, and the fact that it doesn’t exactly have a fixed path is really interesting. They do want visitors to get lost exploring the garden, and all the nature and architecture around it. Quite a number of people are doing Tai Chi there, many of them look like Westerners. I was expecting more Chinese or Asians there, maybe they were in a different part of the gardens.

    Thanks for the concern and stopping by my blog, Amy. This week has been busy for me, finishing a job and looking at freelance writing opportunities. I will get a break very soon next month, so happy. I hope you’ve been well. As per usual, your photos never disappoint 🙂


    • Thank you so much for taking time to let me know. I know you are looking forward to your freelance, I can imagine it’s a big decision for you. Take care.
      Tai Chi seems to be pretty popular in US. There are more than a couple of Tai Chi activities in our town.


      • Tai Chi does seem to be catching on in the western world. It’s also popular with locals here in Australia. I used to laugh at people doing Tai Chi, how slow they were in moving. But it’s an exercise that’s easy on the joints and someday when I’m older I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing it.

        Been freelancing for a while but there might be bigger things. One can only hope, and you never know. Thanks, Amy. Hope you are well. You always seem well 🙂


  6. A stunning work of living, breathing art this Amy. What a gorgeous place for a walk. I could spend hours there. Thanks so much for taking me along with you through this exquisite garden 🙂


  7. Groan… I promised myself that I would NOT buy any more garden books, but the Elegant Garden looks like one too good to miss. It will have to go on my birthday list! You know how much I love a wander around a garden Amy, and this one looks incredible. I can’t think of a Chinese or even Japanese style garden here in the UK – I must find out if there is – and your photos are beautiful, I just wanted to go through those exquisite portals into the room beyond. A really lovely post.
    Jude xx


    • Thank you so much for letting share it with you, Jude. The book is not cheap, but it contains the most elegant gardens in the world with fine photos. I certainly have learned to appreciate the styles from the book. It looks like we share a few same interests. 🙂


  8. Thanks to your participating in Jo’s walk, Amy, I am able to hop over and visit your entry. What an incredible garden walk and description, beautifully and philosophically enhanced with the quotations from the book. It really spoke to me. I could spend days there and see something new each time. So visual.


    • Thank you so much for your kind comment, Lynne. I’m so glad I could share the quotations and photos with you. I think the book helped me appreciate the Chinese garden a little more.


    • So glad you like the post. This one is carefully designed, built, and maintained. It’s a rather a small garden, but beautiful in every corner.


  9. What a lovely garden. I recently did a post on a Chinese garden, here in Hong Kong. This one looks so similar, despite being in a completely different climate area. There is definitely a lot of art and science behind these… they always evoke such a sense of tranquility.


    • Thank you, Kan. It’s designed by Chinese and some materials were shipped from China. And, they try to copy the garden in Suzhou, China. 🙂


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