I want to slow down, to pause and quietly think, rather than exuberantly admire.
So I was very much looking forward to a visit to the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. I was not disappointed.
This garden is the oldest public Japanese garden in the US, commissioned in 1894, and some structures and plants still date back to that time.
In fact, the statue of Buddha above was cast in Japan in 1790 and moved to San Francisco in 1949.
The garden is situated on 5 acres of gently sloping land which provides ample room for water features, beautiful structures including an ornate vermilion pagoda, and many plant species native to Japan and China.
I like lots of color in my garden but I appreciate another culture's approach to gardening, fascinating and alien to me at the same time.
In fact, it is surprising how many things I start to notice once the distraction of brightly colored flowers is removed.
I begin to see clear clean lines, almost like pencil drawings, the play of light and shadow on meandering paths, gentle fluttering of deeply serrated leaves of a Japanese maple, the intricate and balanced structure of a carefully pruned tree.
I went away with a vague feeling of sadness that I don't have a serene and quiet place like this to stroll around in, but I have to say I was glad enough to see my roses and penstemons again...