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:
But then again, a lot of it felt like this:
We were a cheerful and happy group.
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.
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...
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.
The overwhelming difference is one of scale. The Portland version is intimate--on the scale of a private garden--albeit a luxurious one.
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.
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:
Frames within frames.
Patterns within frames.
The Huntington wins on size, but Portland's has many more interesting and more unusual plants.
Portland's of course has more moss.
Several very helpful employees were available to identify plants and explain features of the garden.
It was a great start to the Fling.
The fun had begun.