Visiting Lan Su is always like stepping into another world, far away from the hustle and bustle of the city. A couple of weeks ago, it was the first garden on the agenda during the three-day hort-head extravaganza referred to as the Garden Blogger’s Fling (#GBF14). More than 80 garden bloggers and writers descended on the garden, adorned with cameras and swag bags from the nearby Timber Press, which was our very first stop. More on that later…
It doesn’t matter when I visit Lan Su. In rain, shine or covered in ice – it always has something to offer. This time around, it was a scorching hot day, and I spent most of my time lurking in the shade of the covered walkways. Even the koi were seeking refuge beneath the lily pads, as we red-faced, shutter-happy, sweaty bloggers scurried around up above, documenting all the intricacies of the beautiful garden. Quite honestly, I was a lot less active with my camera than I usually am. To make up for my less than ambitious efforts, I will post a few photos here, but also link to a post I wrote last year where I really looked at things closely.
We were a little early. I never noticed how beautiful the entrance doors are before.
See that shady spot on the right, across the pond? I found myself spending a large portion of my time back there, out of the merciless sun. Turns out, there were plenty of interesting things to see back there too.
For one thing, I realized that standing under a weeping Katsura on a hot summer day, is heaven on earth…
When I turned the Katsura my back, I saw the intricately and beautifully carved shutters to the Tea House.
And, wouldn’t you know it? Others too, had discovered the temporary benefits of escaping that hot, fiery ball of incandescent gas high up in the sky – Dee, Laura and Ann got the best seats in the house!
One of my favorite features of Chinese gardens is all its elaborate screening, which allows you to peer through to the enticing spaces that beckon from beyond. Each screen is different, and they are all wonderful.
I don’t remember the name of this opening exactly, but it references a banana leaf as you can probably see from its shape.
As I was hanging out in the shade near a maintenance area beyond the Tea House, I noticed this beautiful detail in the paving. Probably one of loveliest drains I have ever seen…
At certain points, the thick walls separating the various gardens hold little miniature landscapes. I laughed when I noticed the tiny little plastic ponies grazing. I imagine that is a nod to the fact that 2014 is the Year of the Horse.
Although it is physically true that water regulates temperature, it is amazing that merely gazing out over a surface of water somehow creates the mental perception that things are indeed cooler than they actually are.
I saw a variety of Asplenium or Birds nest fern that I really liked, and that I had never noticed before.
The underside of the leaves were covered in indumentum. I’m pretty sure I saw it later on, at Cistus. Should have picked one up, but was trying hard to be a good girl. Oh well, that gives me a reason to go back… right?
You know how Arisaemas are often called Cobra lilies? I’d argue that the subsequent fruit looks an awful lot like a snake’s head too… Wouldn’t you agree?
It was in this garden that I first saw an Iris confusa. As soon as I bloody well could – at a Lan Su Garden plant sale the following spring- I bought one. It has become one of my Top Ten plants, and is the plant that keeps on giving. If I hadn’t given away so many starts, I just might have had a thicket this large. It is a very generous plant!
My husband works on the top floor of the brick building behind the Garden. About five steps from his desk is a view into the Koi pond. He tells me there is a red-tailed hawk that sometimes dive-bombs the fish, and he and his work mates have a running bet as to whether the hawk will be successful. I don’t think I could work if I had access to a view like that!
Apparently, I wasn’t alone in seeking shade on this day. The north steps of the Main Pavilion was a great place for gathering before it was time to board our bus to go on to the next great adventure! 🙂