Perched atop Portland's western slope is a traditional Japanese garden, complete with koi ponds, wisteria arbor, and tea house. Some consider it to be the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan.
We decided to visit Portland Japanese Garden on the busiest day of the year- free admission day. Even with the crowds, the place was still very tranquil and idyllic. I loved all the winding stone paths and lush moss blanketing much of the 5.5 acres.
One of the central features of the garden is the Moon Bridge. The structure and scenery reminded me of Claude Monet's Giverny estate in France. My husband and I were there 15 years ago, and I took this photo of the famous foot bridge.
Monet was an avid collector of Japanese woodblock prints. The large water garden at the Giverny home was inspired by his collection of Japanese art. He planted azaleas, bamboo, wisteria, and, of course, water lilies- which became the subject of 250 of his oil paintings.
My favorite spot at the Portland Japanese Garden was the Natural Garden with its stone steps, cascading streams, and fluorescent greenery. When you sit for a moment and take in the scenery, it's quite meditative and soothing.
The beautiful and peaceful imagery from the gardens has stayed with me these past few days. And, with spring just around the corner, I'm thinking I might try to bring a bit of Japanese influence into my own garden. We don't have a pond, but I can think of a few great spots for some white gravel and moss. I'll keep you posted with any successful progress!