PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Nestled in the heart of Portland’s Old Town is a garden that transports visitors halfway around the world.
The Lan Su Chinese Garden is one of just 6 authentic Chinese gardens in North America.
The land for the garden — roughly the size of a city block — was donated by the utility company, NW Natural. It cost $12 million to create the garden itself which opened in 2000.
Originally called the “Portland Classical Chinese Garden,“ it was renamed “Lan Su Chinese Garden“ in 2010.
The garden honors Portland’s relationship with its sister city, Suzhou, China, famous for its gardens. In fact, “Lan Su“ is a combination of “Portland“ and “Suzhou“ and also translates to “the garden of awakening orchids.“
Sixty-five artisans from China came to Portland to build the garden using hand tools and traditional methods dating back thousands of years.
Scott Steele, the marketing and communications director at Lan Su Chinese Garden, said no detail was overlooked.
“The wood in the garden is the wood that you would have found in China,“ said Steele. “Everything but the water and the plants were brought from China to be built on-site.“
Steele said the garden was “designed to unfold like a landscape painting“ so that visitors can’t see everything at once.
The garden contains a teahouse, a pavilion and a central pond home to several koi fish.
“The style of garden we are — the Suzhou style of garden — is an urban garden,“ explained Steele. “It’s designed to be a piece of nature in an urban environment.“
About 175,000 people visit the garden every year to experience the peace, tranquility and rare beauty it offers.
Hundreds of cultural events, including elaborate Chinese New Year celebrations and Tai chi classes, take place within the garden and are included in the price of admission.