21 responses to “Portland Japanese Garden”

  1. Denis

    I disagree, the best time to visit the Portland Japanese Garden will be in a little over two weeks. There will be a marvelous display of Camellia blooms. Please come, enjoy, and vote for your favorite blooms.


    Denis Dooley
    Oregon Camellia Society

  2. Anna

    I think the essence and structure of the Japanese garden is what makes it beautiful (and tranquil) in all seasons. In Spring, that beauty is complemented by colour from the Camellias, Azaleas, Rhododendrons, and ephemerals. In Fall, that beauty is complemented by deciduous leaf colour. In Summer and Winter (and all seasons), there are the wide variety of textures and hues of green. I am especially fond of the skeletal view of the Japanese Maples and the softer textures of the mosses in Winter, but I might be a little weird : )

    1. Jane / MulchMaid

      These are beautiful images of one of my favorite gardens in Portland. And not weird at all, Anna. In winter it is so much easier to see the structure of the plantings and the sculptural values of the limbs of the deciduous trees. As a design instructor told me many years ago, a good design works in black and white as well as in color. I always think of the winter view of any garden as being akin to the black and white version of a design.

    2. Denis

      It’s a wonderful point, actually two both wonderful points. It is a true year-round garden, worth going to at any time. It was one of the placed I visited when I scouted out moving to Portland in 1996 and I’ve been back many times since.

      It is also worth pointing out that Hoyt Arboretum is located in close proximity to the PJG and also well worth a visit, with an excellent collection of maples-Japanese and otherwise, among many other things. However, it is more of a plant museum than a botanical garden, so maybe not quite the meticulous pruning and magical landscaping you’ll see at the PJG, but if you’re in the neighborhood, you should stop in.

  3. JoLee Schultz

    You do know……..THAT YOU’RE ALL RIGHT! 🙂

  4. Bill Plummer

    We visited the northwest years ago and enjoyed both the Buchart Gardens and the Portland Japanese Garden. The Buchart had structure which most people probably missed for the flower color.

    I much preferred the Japanese garden for its quiet beauty, its structure and the well-sculptuered plants. The photos bring back strong memories.


    There is no bad time to visit a lovely garden such as that in the photos.

  6. Wendy L Cutler

    I’m enjoying seeing these photos. I’ll contribute one from June, 2009. We thought that must have been the best time to visit!

  7. Emil Doyle

    All the photos are spectacular. When I was living in Seattle and my son was attending college in Portland, I had 4 years of day-trips to that area and many to their Japanese Gardens. It is sublime all times of the year. I love the natural, flowing style that Japanese gardens embody. I have seen them all over N. America, and I have to say that Portland’s is dearest to my heart. Each one I’ve visited had some aspect that was special, but none pack so much punch into a small space as this Portland garden. Now, ‘punch’ of course is not the best word to use to describe the meditative calm that this place induces, but I meant it in a good way.

  8. Wendy

    I‘m homesick

  9. Ginny

    Thanks so much for these gorgeous photos. We’re buried in new snow here, just a few miles from “the other Portland” (Maine), and these images remind me of how much I want to someday make the trip across North America to see the Japanese gardens — and, of course, the UBC botanical gardens!

    1. Dominic Janus

      You could probably manage to visit both gardens in the same trip and it would most certainly be worth the flight!

      1. Denis

        The “original Portland”…


        Open jawed trips are usually no more expensive than flying back and forth from the same city. Of course, the catch is travel in between. There is usually a stiff fee for returning a rental car somewhere else, and internationally? That could be spending. There is an Amtrak route, the Cascades, that would get you down here. Or you could fly into Bellingham or SeaTac and drive up.

        If I had time and just wanted to do a garden tour coming in from back East, I’d probably fly to SeaTac, take in the Bonsai collection at Weyerhaeuser Headquarters in Federal Way, Washington, then head up to Kubota Gardens in Seattle. After you’re done there, stop by for a quick walk-through of the Volunteer Park Conservatory in Seattle, then head north.

        Maine may have the right sort of driver’s licence, being a border state, otherwise bring a passport. Head to Vancouver and the UBC Botanical Garden. After you’re done in Vancouver, head to Vancouver Island via ferry. Victoria has a number of gardens, but Butchart Gardens is the big one to go to. After visiting Victoria a bit, take the Blackball Ferry Line to Port Angeles, WA and drive down Highway 101. You may want to take a little hike in the Olympia National Forest before you head south.

        In Olympia, Highway 101 meets back up with I-5 and you’re on your way to Portland. I would have suggested stopping by the Washington State Capital Complex, but I believe their greenhouse is now closed to the public. However, it is a fantastic neoclassical capitol building and worth seeing (as is the ornate BC Provincial Capitol in Victoria).

        Once you get to Portland, I would suggest the Portland Japanese Garden and the nearby Hoyt Arboretum and International Rose Test Garden. Lan Su Garden, a classical Chinese garden, is in downtown Portland and worth a stop there as well. From there, head down Naito Parkway and follow Oregon Highway 43 down to Bishops Close (private garden on the grounds of the Episcopal Bishopric for Portland) which is open to the public on a small scale. If you have time to hop over to the east side of the Willamette River, Leach Botanical Gardens is out in far SE Portland. From Leach, it is a short distance to I-205, which will take you north back to Washington and I-5, headed back to SeaTac.

        But you’re not done yet. If you’re here in lilac season, stop by the Hilda Kluger lilac garden in Woodland, WA. Your final leg would be in Tacoma. Lakewold Gardens is just a bit west of I-5, after which you can visit Wright Park Arboretum and its WW Seymour Victorian Conservatory.

        Now you can head back to SeaTac.

        Enjoy, though you might need a vacation after you’re done.

  10. lynn

    Japanese gardens are some of the best places to photograph….and in Portland, the Lan Su Chinese Garden is another wonderful garden to visit. Public gardens provide so many services, as the article you linked to points out – and they can be great places to work, too! I was lucky enough to work at the New York Botanical Garden, and at Wave Hill, also in NY. Looking at the second photo above, I’m thinking the workers may be pruning that evergreen on a rock in the water, from a boat – that’s got to be a fun challenge! Thanks Dominic!

  11. Ginger Steele

    I understand that members of the Garden are invited to a *Moon Viewing* in October, complete with musicians from Japan. The Portland Japanese Garden is a civic treasure.

  12. Kimberly Burkard

    Thank you for the share! I love Japanese gardens and I feel there is no wrong time of the year for photos of them as they are a truly 4-season garden. I work at Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park in western New York State and we have the oldest privately owned Japanese garden in North America. It with its tea house was created in 1906 by our estate’s original owner. Here is a picture of our tea house cloaked in winter white. I think winter adds its own element of sereneness to an already serene garden.

    I will definitely have to add the Portland garden to my bucket list so my many thanks.

    Kimberly Burkard
    Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park

  13. Dominic Janus

    Thank you everyone for the feedback. Indeed, each time of year has its own special charm.

  14. Thor Henrich

    … AND I would remind travellers to Victoria, the City of Gardens, on Vancouver Island, that has three beautiful Japanese Gardens (in addition to many private residences): they being: the world-famous Butchart Gardens; the Pacific Horticulture Centre (aka Glendale Gardens); and the Japanese Garden (off Gorge Road). Each of them is worth visiting at any season.

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