Classical Chinese Garden
NW 3rd and Everett, Portland, OR, 97208, 503-228-8131

Courtyard of Tranquility

A massive holly leaf osmanthus (Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Variegatus') presides over the Courtyard of Tranquility. Affectionately referred to as 'Old Gui' (pronounced gway) by our Chinese-speaking staff, it attests to the community spirit that helped our garden grow. This specimen was generously donated by a southeast Portland neighborhood where it was planted over one hundred years ago and is a rarity given its age and size. In autumn, Old Gui brings forth a crescendo of creamy white flowers so fragrant that passersby are compelled to linger in the streets beyond the garden wall.

Sheltered beneath its branches is a Chinese mountain magnolia (Magnolia delavayi). This evergreen tree is seldom seen in the U.S. although a few specimens can be observed along the Pacific Coast. Rarer still are its double flowers, which are among the largest blooms in the magnolia family. The species name delavayi honors Jean Delavay, a French missionary and prolific plant collector who botanized extensively China's Yunnan province two hundred years ago.

To the right of M. delavayi is Chinese fringe flower (Loropetalum chinese 'Pipa's Red'). This member of the witch hazel family has evergreen, burgundy-colored foliage accented by pink flowers with a chaotic arrangement of narrow, twisted petals. These cultivars are a recent introduction from the Nanjing botanical garden in southern China.

The vigorous climber to the left of Old Gui, near the blossom-shaped entry, is the 'woody perfumed flower' (Rosa banksiae 'Lutea'). This dependable evergreen rose is a favorite in China for covering walls, arbors, and doorways. In spring, R. banksiae 'Lutea' produces a multitude of lightly scented, double yellow flowers.

Also taking refuge under Old Gui's leafy canopy is the shade lover false solomon's seal (Disporopsis fusca-picta). This evergreen ground cover is a member of the lily family and produces narrowly bell-shaped white flowers beneath waxy green leaves in spring. Although a recent introduction to western horticulture, the Chinese have long enjoyed this species as a houseplant.

woody perfumed flower

Chinese fringe flower (Loropetalum chinese 'Pipa's Red')

false solomon's seal (Disporopsis fusca-picta)