Sunday, August 07, 2011

Tea in a Chinese Garden - The Tower of Cosmic Reflections

Hidden away amidst the bustle of Portland, Oregon’s Chinatown district is the Lan Su Chinese Garden. Lan Su was completed in 2000 and is considered the most authentic Chinese garden outside of China.

Sixty-five artisans from the city of Suzhou in China worked in Portland for 10 months building the garden that includes over 400 plant species found in traditional Chinese Gardens.

A quite walk reveals something special at every turn. Doorways and windows woven throughout the garden reveal special focused views of water, rocks, lush foliage and blossoms.

The garden is a place of tranquility where one is encouraged to leave burdens behind and connect with nature.

At one end of the garden, the ritual of tea is performed at the Tower of Cosmic Reflections Teahouse, run by the Tao of Tea.

A table card explains the intended focus of the tea ceremony.

There is a full menu of smoky, earthy and perfumed tea blends.

One can also enjoy a full array of sweet and savory bites, including a Marbled Tea Egg, roasted pumpkin seeds seasoned with green tea and crunchy almond cookies.

It is said that the tower is so named, because one can see the cosmos reflected in the lake outside the teahouse.

It is hard to deny the sense of serenity and contemplation inspired by the setting, the period music and the intermingling of nature, food and ritual.

One can only wonder if our modern society has perhaps lost its way and might rediscover a sense of direction and balance with a visit to the winding paths of Lan Su Chinese Garden.

©2011 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved


Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a lovely place to relax and enjoy tea. I remember that you do love your tea T.W. I feel like I've been transported to another place in time. Perhaps not a bad idea considering the news lately.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Just looking at these photos brings a sense of serenity on this rainy New England morning.

Julia said...

At first glance of the photos, I thought for sure you were in China. I even pulled up my old photos to compare the gardens... What a beautiful spot!

tasteofbeirut said...

This is just the place that I need right now~ Too bad it is located in Oregon/Enjoy your stay and the teas and the garden.

Gloria said...

Sbsolutely lovely place, I love the Teapot!! gloria

~~louise~~ said...

Now it is I who could visit for hours.

It sounds like your trip to Oregon replenished you with balance and tranquility. Delighted to feel you brought some home with you too:)

Thank you so much for sharing, T.W.

Christine (Cook the Story) said...

It's true, we rarely find time for serenity. It's not valued in our culture and thus gets overlooked. I find bits of it in yoga classes but not enough and that certainly doesn't connect me with nature.

Can you say more aout the marbled egg? That looks so interesting!

Jesse said...

Beautifully taken photos...I had no idea that there was a Chinese garden in Portland. One more reason I want to visit!

Velva said...

This is a definite way to capture additional zen. Peaceful and beautiful. Only good karma can be created here.



Andrea Meyers said...

How breathtaking. I love visiting Chinese and Japanese gardens, something I don't get to do as much as I would like. Wish I could find one nearby. I had an extraordinary chance to experience the Urasenke tea ceremony many years ago, and I'll never forget it.

Small Tattoo said...

What a wonderful place to fresh mind and enjoy drinking tea, or coffee. I always dream it to visit this place one day, but I don't know when it will come true.