From beer and doughnuts to roses and zen, Portland really does have a little bit of everything!
Our second day in Portland was spent in Washington Park. This is a big downtown park with everything from gorgeous public gardens, to the Portland Zoo, to soccer fields and tennis courts. I think I was originally the only one excited about seeing the rose garden. It is the largest test garden for roses in the US, and it really is beautiful. I thought it would be fun for us to each find our “favorite” rose. Nicholas found a beautiful peach/orange rose called “Strike it rich”, Lloyd found a purple rose that smelled really nice, and I was surprised that it was a pure, sparkling white rose that got my attention. My favorite was called the Maria Shriver (which worked out well, because I really like her) and not only was it a beautiful white, but it smelled really nice. That was one of my requirements, the rose had to be beautiful and smell great! I tried to press Garrett to “pick a favorite” but he just wouldn’t. Something about “not being into roses”…
After the rose garden we hiked up to the Japanese Garden. I read that this is one of the most authentic Japanese Gardens in the US. We were all very impressed with this one! The garden is divided in to areas by time period with an emphasis on natural elements, stone and water, and an occasional metal sculpture, like a crane, to represent long life. Many of the elements are arranged in groups of five for the five directions… north, south, east, west and centered. Oh, and what’s the difference between a rock and a stone? A stone is simply an intentionally placed rock. That’s what the tour guide told us!
There were two areas designed as large Zen gardens that were filled with small pebbles, a few large rocks (stones) and several swirl designs made with a special rake. Nicholas asked if we could turn our backyard into a Zen Garden. Lloyd told him we could but he wouldn’t be able to play out there anymore. He thought about it and then said that would be ok. He could just play guns at his friend Jake’s house. A peaceful, meditative garden / gun play…. At least he understands yin and yang.
Garrett also really enjoyed the Japanese garden. I think he liked the design so much that he may have even offered to help Lloyd make our yard a little more Zen like!