Fling 2014: Lan Su Garden

What's a Fling, anyway?  It's eighty or so avid garden bloggers converging on a city all at once to visit lots of gardens, both public and private, in a madcap whirlwind binge of bus ride, garden, bus ride, garden. 
Some of it felt like this:
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But then again, a lot of it felt like this:
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We were a cheerful and happy group.
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Our first Fling destination was the only non-garden location:  Timber Press, in downtown Portland Oregon.  
We mobbed the place, ate some good food, and bought a few books.
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The garden portion of our tour began with the Lan Su Garden, also in downtown Portland.  What was fascinating:  Lan Su is very similar in style to the Huntington's version, Liu Fang Yuan. 
The tranquility of the place almost made us forget we were in the middle of a city.  Almost...
Lan Su Garden, Portland Oregon photo chi9516_zpsa265ec4f.jpg 
 I had the luxury of comparing Portland's version to one I have visited many times.  The buildings, bridges, walls, stone are all in a nearly identical style.  
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The overwhelming difference is one of scale.  The Portland version is intimate--on the scale of a private garden--albeit a luxurious one.
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The Huntington's version is public-sized:  the initial phase was five acres and the ultimate size is 12 acres.  
Portland's garden can fit entirely inside the one-and-a-half acre lake of Liu Fang Yuan, with a half-acre to spare. 
Lan Su Garden, Portland Oregon photo chi9506_zps24455dbf.jpg
One feature of both gardens--though due to scale, Portland's was more obvious--was the use of structures to frame views.  Everywhere there were frames controlling what the visitor saw.  
Visitors were framed:
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Frames within frames.
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 Patterns within frames.
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The Huntington wins on size, but Portland's has many more interesting and more unusual plants.  
Rubus lineatus:
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Lan Su Garden, Portland OregonLan Su Garden, Portland Oregon photo chi9464_zps23109479.jpg

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Portland's of course has more moss.  
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Several very helpful employees were available to identify plants and explain features of the garden.  
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It was a great start to the Fling. 
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The fun had begun.
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  1. Beautiful views of the garden, I love the photos of the keyhole with and without the blogger framed in it. Providing the context of the garden is something I haven't seen before and I enjoyed the comparisons too although it has been years since I visited the Huntington.

  2. So many beautiful photos. They really capture the tranquility of the garden, in spite of the many people. It was great hanging out with you at the Fling.

    1. Great fun talking plants with you Gerhard, and your ability to fit so many plants in your suitcase is impressive. My two were a bit smashed, though they are now recovered. We Flingers were so happy and excited to be there, I thought it added a delight to the garden--a feeling of group joy.

  3. I saw the Huntington's Chinese Garden the first time shortly after it opened and then again a few years later but I think it's time for a return visit. It'll be interesting to see how it has matured. I understand that Phase II is starting too.

    1. Phase II is complete and Phase III has begun. The plants have matured quickly.

  4. I really liked the intimacy of this garden! You captured some nice images, and different views from what I saw! (Great meeting you in person too!)

    1. Great meeting you also, Alan. I hope you enjoyed the Fling and look forward to seeing your photos of it.

  5. Great shot of Kelly, framed. I suppose what I should read here is that the next time I'm at the Huntington I need to tear myself away from the Desert Garden and visit the Chinese Garden?

    1. Spend the day, lady, spend the day. And what about the enormous Banksias down in the Australian section that very few people go to see?

  6. I always enjoy your point of view Hoov. I am easily frustrated by bad light , and you found a way to work with it -- I need to slow down !

    1. Interesting you should mention the light. In that first garden I was quite surprised by the light--my perception was the light was quite different from home--much softer, if you can believe that, less glare, and less pink. Much easier to work with except where it was super shady.

  7. So many beautiful photos dear Hoover, I really loved the keyhole with and without the visitor framed in it, also the patterns within frames, the water reflections, the light and so many shades of green.
    xoxoxo ♡

    1. And some fun gardeners with which to visit it. :^)

  8. A beautiful garden and beautifully photographed!


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