Lan Su Chinese Garden is on a city block downtown. Most of us only go there when we have out of town visitors, traipsing through and taking photos. I have a membership and love to go there often. A visit to Lan Su truly complements a reader’s life.* Here’s what you might do in the garden:
1. Sit in a cozy spot and read.
Benches in gazebos or rocks by a pool are so cozy, and everyone else will ignore you. When you get up, rest your eyes on the many shapes and textures, and breathe deeply--fragrant plants are in bloom year round.
2. Get the feel of the inner courtyards, gardens and rocky landscapes featured in books about China.
I just finished Amy Tan’s Valley of Amazement, which sweeps through several settings in old China and sometimes takes place in a scholar’s quarters. The Garden is also known as a scholar’s garden and has many of the objects I read about on display.
3. Enjoy the brush paintings, script and poetry on the walls and even inscribed in the wood.
Maples in the Mist is a great intro to contemplative poetry for kids and adults. There are also occasional live demos of brush painting and poetry readings.
4. Enjoy music, tea, and treats in the teahouse.
Perhaps you’ll be reading The Garden of Evening Mists, a moving story set on a tea plantation, as you sample the many varieties available. Check the calendar for music times.
5. Find wonderful Chinese-themed books for children and adults in the bookstore.
And, as a bonus, if you love to read cookbooks, look for the cooking demos throughout June.
*There are usually a few free days in January.