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

Entry Courtyard

Standing in the entrance courtyard, there are several points of interest. The large stone gate on the south side marks the formal entrance to the garden. In China, the formal entrance to a building is always on the south side. This gate has several inscriptions. The one on the top facing the street reads, “All Nature‚Äôs Splendors Captured in this Gourd-Heaven.” This refers back to the essence of a Suzhou style garden, which tries to duplicate nature in a miniature form. The inscription at the top of the north side of the gate reads, “Between Lake and Mountain Lies True Meaning.” Which loosely means that only by contemplating nature can truth be found.

On the north side of the entrance courtyard (next to the ticket booth) is a planting bed with three major plants. These are the “Three Friends of Winter” - a pine tree, a clump of bamboo, and a plum tree. These “three friends” are frequently depicted together in Chinese paintings and poetry. The large stone in the planting bed is a Lake Tai rock. The inscription on it reads, “Crescent Cloud.” This inscription was chosen because the rock looks like half of a cloud. Symbolically, the other half of the cloud is in Suzhou, our sister city.

On the east side of the courtyard is the entrance to the garden itself. You will notice that the door is small and black, in contrast to the large white wall it is placed in. This demonstrates the Chinese concept of “yin” and “yang” or roughly, opposites that complement each other. This concept exists in many forms throughout the garden.