Calligraphy in the Garden

Star Gazing Tower 望星樓, which is the highest point in the garden and affords sweeping views of Mt. Wilson and the observatory domes.

by Leanne Ogasawara

I went walking in a garden of poems. It was a perfect autumn day. And the garden, located within the confines of the Huntington Library in Pasadena, is said to be the finest classical garden outside of China. It is called the Garden of Flowing Fragrance 流芳園.

What is the flowing fragrance of beauty? Of virtue?

What is the fragrance of a perfect autumn day?

The Flowing Fragrance was inspired by the centuries-old Chinese tradition of private scholars’ gardens. With its many pavilions linked by courtyards and covered walkways surrounding the lotus-filled Lake of Reflected Fragrance, it is the perfect place to wander. Imagination on fire as you pause and notice the many works of calligraphy, integrated so beautifully in the garden, you might start to believe yourself walking inside a poem.

Each pavilion and bridge is adorned with evocative names. And there are snippets of verse found incised on rocks tucked in surprising corners of the garden amidst the flowering trees. Read more »