Monday, July 21, 2014

Traveling the Paths of Portland

During my recent visit to Portland, Oregon, I traveled some very amazing paths. I was in Portland for the annual Garden Blogger's Fling. The Fling coordinators kept us busy with 17 stops at various public and private gardens as well as nurseries and a local book publisher.

One of our first stops was to the Lan Su Chinese Garden, where I saw some of the most magnificent paths my feet have ever tread upon.

I overheard a docent saying the garden and surrounding structures are representative of how wealthy Chinese lived in the 16th century. I can imagine the silk slippers of women slowly gliding along this path and over the bridge.

This path must have been for the kiddos. Did Chinese youngsters play hopscotch? 

The paths at the Portland Japanese Garden led to places of incredible beauty and serenity.

As much as I loved the Japanese Garden, the paths that led to the International Rose Test Garden really called to me. This place smelled wonderful!

Along the way, some paths spoke of gardening friendships like the paths that connected the neighboring gardens of Joanne Fuller and Linda Ernst.

Sometimes paths can be tricky, but when in doubt where to begin, it's always best to start at the beginning. I learned that from watching the Wizard of Oz and I think it's pretty sound advice.

Paths that give me paws are my favorite paths. The kangaroo paws at the John Kuzma Garden made me stop and take notice. I've tried to grow these several times over the years without success and here they were looking like they were growing in their native habitat. 

The paths at the Chickadee Gardens performed double duty as edging for the garden beds. The light grey blocks are very striking next to the dark stones and foliage of the rock garden. 

Danger Garden used wide paths and interconnected patios to display dozens and dozens of potted cactus and succulents. Be careful. Some of those cactus may bite.

You can't go wrong starting a path with a magnificent mosaic tile landing like this one at Floramagoria.

Fancy is nice, but a simple country path also has it's charms.

Floramagoria Side Veggie Garden
I especially like paths which lead to things that taste or smell yummy.

McMenamins Kennedy School Vegetable Garden

Lavender Field at Westwind Farm Studio
As a garden photographer, I have a growing appreciation for paths that provide an opportunity for that perfect shot.

Fellow Flinger at Rhone Street Garden

Old Germantown Garden
I'm at that age where the best paths offer comfy seating. That's one of the things I loved about the gardens at Bella Madrona. Besides being full of all sorts of interesting garden junk, there was a chair around every corner.

The paths of Bella Madrona beckoned to me and my fling roomie, Laura, from the moment we arrived.

The inhabitant path posers paused while we snapped several pics. I think they've had their picture take before.

Bella Madrona had some of the most interesting paths within their enormous 5 acre garden.

These moss covered steps have had 34 years to develop their patina at Bella Madrona.

These magical arches make the woodlands feel enchanted. I bet fairies live here.

I better stay on the path or I might become mired in the marsh like this donkey who's lost his wagon.

I hope you will agree that the best paths are the ones that lead us home. If you're lucky, you have a wet-nosed pup eagerly waiting at the door like this one at the home of JJ De Sousa. JJ owns a store in Portland called Digs Inside and Out. If you're ever in the area, I hear she has wonderful pieces for the home and garden.

Thanks for traveling along with me. I hope this summer leads you down some interesting paths as well. 


  1. I love creative pathways and you certainly got to experience many on the trip. My favorite was the one with small plants spilling over the edges. Thanks for all the ideas in those gardens.

    1. I got so many good ideas in Portland. In addition to the paths, I took pics of some interesting shade structures. Although, I guess in Portland they are most likely rain structures :)

  2. Beautiful photos and perspective, Ally! I love the old brick pathways with moss, and the first one with the rock patterns. Great post!

    1. You should have seen the beautiful moss in Portland. It was incredible and grew on everything. I think it was a bit of a nuisance because I saw people scrubbing it off stuff. That's a weird problem to have.

  3. Love the paths. It's fun to see things through someone else's eyes, as I definitely missed some of these. Great photos.

    1. I've noticed from looking at other people's pictures that I missed some stuff too. For example, I totally missed the swing at Bella Madrona. I should have walked down there. It looked fun!

  4. Lots of nice photos of the pathways. It's great that you focused on hardscape--it's always nice to see what creative gardeners do with the things that accompany plants.

  5. What an interesting perspective of all the gardens we visited! I loved the paths at the Chinese garden, too, but those mossy steps at Bella Madrona are just as intriguing. I had to leave early and missed Bella Madrona, and the more photos I see of this garden the more I wish I could have stayed. Great post!

  6. I like the paths- great choice and great photos! Very interesting and fun to read/look at. Love the donkey btw! Thanks for the tour- enjoyed it!

  7. I love your tour! Such great ideas and you made me feel like I was there. Wish I could have been! But so interesting that you've done a lot of this yourself!