Category Archives: Flora & Fauna

The Japanese Garden, Portland, Oregon


We live in a bustling country full of noises and the belief that faster is better. Sometimes, we need to unwind and enjoy nature. Portland, Oregon is one of the prettiest cities I’ve visited so far. I have been to a lot of parks and gardens, but the Japanese Garden is extremely peaceful. I could spend an entire day walking around or reading and go home at peace.

The Japanese Garden is actually made up of five small gardens that each have their own elements but flow together nicely. Every garden is meticulously landscaped and maintained. And the green….it was green everywhere! Beautiful.

The Stone and Rock Garden (photo by Stephanie Moss, click on photo for link) was the first life sized karesansui (or Zen Garden) I’ve seen. It was stunning. Now, if I could figure out how to create one in my own backyard… 

There were slabs of stone around with writing, but I can’t remember what they said. I know some of them were lines of poetry.

The Flat Garden was similar to the Stone and Rock Garden but had more vegetation as opposed to rock. It was equally tranquil.


The Strolling Pond Garden was probably one of my favorite. Not all of the plants had bloomed yet, so I can only imagine what a vast array of colors this garden would have during the Spring.

There were small benches throughout the gardens where you could sit and meditate, or just take some weight off of your feet.

From the Strolling Pond Garden you follow a trail into the Tea Garden. They have a Tea House but we weren’t able to see any of the presentations. Next time we’re in the area, I plan on attending.

The most recent addition was the Natural Garden. It was built in a steeper area which meant more of the beautiful stone staircases. This particular garden was the most contemporary of the others as well.

 (Source – Photo by Michael Hersen)

Each garden is beautiful in its own right, but together the Japanese Garden is inspiring. Have you visited the gardens? If so, which was your favorite?

The Biltmore Grounds and Garden

The first time I visited the Biltmore Estates, it was winter so all of the outdoor flowers  and trees weren’t in bloom. I will be going back this march and hope to add more pictures here of the garden and grounds in bloom.

As you start exploring the garden you’ll spot the original garden keeper’s house. I love the stone walls…beautiful!

While the flowers were not in bloom, you could still make out the design the different gardens have. There were four separate designs, with a wooden walkway going on direction and a gravel walkway going the other in between each one.

The walkway leads to a greenhouse that’s full of beautiful plants and flowers. Since it was Christmas time there were several poinsettias as well.

The flowers were gorgeous…not a brown spot anywhere.

They also had some odd plants that I had never seen. Like this pineapple bush, or whatever it is!

Once we finished with the gardens we went walking some of the trails on the grounds. There was a nice lake and a pond we came upon.

The walk was very relaxing and enjoyable. If they would let me build a small cottage over by the pond, I would be a happy camper!

We had a cardinal that seemed to be following up as we were walking the trails closer to the house.

I’m looking forward to my second visit when the estate should be flourishing in color!