The Portland You Know: The Rose Garden Summer brings out the blooms, some as big as cabbages, with 550 varieties. Some are named for singers, such as Reba McEntire (brilliant red-orange) and Barbra Streisand (dusty pink). Don't hyperventilate as you sniff. Listings: International Rose Test Garden, Washington Park, free admission; free tours at 1 p.m. daily through Sept. 21; www.portlandonline.com/parks. Portland Worth Discovering: Lan Su Chinese Garden There isn't much there behind the Chinatown gate since many Asian businesses shuffled off to 82nd Avenue in East Portland. But at the district's heart is this full-block treasure, opened in 2000, which gives hope to the neighborhood. A monument to Portland's sister-city of Suzhou, China, the garden is a place of beauty and peace but with lots going on: concerts, lectures, games such as go and table tennis. But don't miss the real prize: a blissful afternoon in the Tower of Cosmic Reflections Teahouse. There we perched on narrow benches at a rustic wooden table and partook of a ceremonial Gongfu-style tea service while a member of the Portland Orchids and Bamboo Chinese Ensemble played lilting notes on a guzheng, a sort of Chinese zither. If a sunrise were music, this would be it. From the menu of 53 teas, we sipped Pu-er Velour, from Yunnan, with an earthy aroma that hostess Evonne Tang aptly described as "like walking through a forest." Cool air from open floor-to-ceiling windows carried the garden's scents -- jasmine and gardenia -- as we looked out at rain dimpling a waterlily pond just beyond a graceful weeping katsura tree. Mandi Atkinson, who leads plant tours of the garden, told us, "When the leaves change color in the fall, they smell like burnt cinnamon -- like gingerbread." That's when we're coming back. Listings: Lan Su Chinese Garden, Northwest Everett Street and Third Avenue, $6.50-$8.50; 503-228-8131 or www.portlandchinesegarden.org.
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