Nan Lin Garden, Hong Kong

<This post contains 9 photos>

Some readers asked why I didn’t post on Chinese Gardens but posted quite a few on Japanese Gardens.

The truth is I like Chinese Gardens but I have lost most photos on the beautiful gardens, especially those in Suzhou and Hangzhou in China.

I would have liked to post on the Nam Lin gardens in Hong Kong which are modeled on the Tang Dynasty gardens.CIMG3735

However, for the several times I visited Nan Lim gardens, I was in a hurry or even have not taken my camera along with me.CIMG3743

So, you have to bear with me for the mediocre photos in this post which were taken within a half hour visit  using a palm size camera.CIMG3749

I don’t think I am able to give you a better explanation about Chinese gardens, the text in italics below are all lifted from Wikipedia, except that I have extracted the more salient parts. So, please enjoy.CIMG3750

The Chinese garden is a landscape garden style which has evolved over three thousand years. It includes both the vast gardens of the Chinese emperors and members of the Imperial Family, built for pleasure and to impress, and the more intimate gardens created by scholars, poets, former government officials, soldiers and merchants, made for reflection and escape from the outside world. They create an idealized miniature landscape, which is meant to express the harmony that should exist between man and nature.CIMG3751

A typical Chinese garden is enclosed by walls and includes one or more ponds, rock works, trees and flowers, and an assortment of halls and pavilions within the garden, connected by winding paths and zig-zag galleries. By moving from structure to structure, visitors can view a series of carefully composed scenes, unrolling like a scroll of landscape paintings.CIMG3741

The artificial mountain (jiashan) or rock garden is an integral element of Chinese classical gardens. The mountain peak was a symbol of virtue, stability and endurance in the philosophy, of Confucius and in the I Ching. A mountain peak on an island was also a central part of the legend of the Isles of the Immortals, and thus became a central element in many classical gardens.CIMG3757

The first rock garden appeared in Chinese garden history in Tu Yuan (literally the Rabbit Garden), built during the Western Han Dynasty period (206 BCE – 9 CE). During the Tang Dynasty, the rock was elevated to the status of an art object, judged by its form (xing), substance (zhi), color (se), and texture (wen), as well as by its softness, transparency, and other factors. The poet Bo Juvi (772-846) wrote a catalog of the famous rocks of Lake Taihu, called Taihu Shiji. These rocks, of limestone sculpted by erosion, became the most highly prized for gardens.

A pond or lake is the central element of a Chinese garden. The main buildings are usually placed beside it, and pavilions surround the lake to see it from different points of view. The garden usually has a pond for lotus flowers, with special pavilion for viewing them. There are usually goldfish in the pond, with pavilions over the water for viewing them.CIMG3760

The lake or pond has an important symbolic role in the garden. In the Book of Transformations (I Ching) water represents lightness and communication, and carried the food of life on its journey through the valleys and plains. It also is the complement to the mountain, the other central element of the garden, and represents dreams and the infinity of spaces. The shape of the garden pond often hides the edges of the pond from viewers on the other side, giving the illusion that the pond goes on to infinity. The softness of the water contrasts with the solidity of the rocks. The water reflects the sky, and therefore is constantly changing, but even a gentle wind can soften or erase the reflections.CIMG3746

The Footbridge and the Cock at Nan Lin Garden, Hong Kong

For those who have been following my blog, they would know that I have a special interest in bridges.

Here I will be posting some photos of a beautiful footbridge at Nan Lin gardens in Hong Kong.IMG_0740 (3)

For those who want to know a bit about the background of the garden, below is an introduction given in Wikipedia:IMG_0755 (3)

The Nan Lian Garden (南蓮園池) is a Chinese Classical Garden in Diamond Hill, Kowloon, Hong Kong. The garden has an area of 3.5 hectares. It is designed in the Tang Dynasty-style with hills, water features, trees, rocks and wooden structures.IMG_0730 (3)

The garden was a joint project of the Chi Lin Nunnery and the Hong Kong Government. It opened to the public on November 14, 2006.

So, this is a relatively new garden and one of my favorite gardens too.

I have taken pictures there but my photos are a lot less attractive than those taken by my friend CP Chan.

So here, I am going to feature his photos rather than uploading mine.IMG_2216 (3)

This Tang dynasty styled footbridge has a tiled cover. It looks elegant and aesthetically attractive and pleasing.

What is particularly interesting is that on top of the roof is a pagoda like structure.

If you look at the top of the pagoda, you will find a cock standing up there.

The silhouette below, I think, is the main subject of my post – a cock in silhouette beautifully portrayed.

Please enjoy!2635084637_8fdd02fdc0_o

Trees (Niwaki) in Japanese Gardens

This post features trees the image of which I have taken in my recent trip to the Ritsurin Garden, Japan.DSCF0410

They are ‘sculpting’ trees. Japanese have taken great efforts to sculpt them so that they look like works of art and not just part of nature.DSCF0409

I am not aware of any better description of these trees than those given in the Wikipedia which I am reproducing below in italics:DSCF0411


Niwaki is the Japanese word for “garden trees”. Niwaki is also a descriptive word for highly ‘sculpting trees’.DSCF0412

Most varieties of plants used in Japanese Gardens are called niwaki. These trees help to create the structure of the garden. Japanese gardens are not about using large range of plants, rather it is about creating atmosphere or ambiance. The technique of niwaki is more about what to do with a tree than the tree itself. While Western gardeners enjoy experimenting with a wide range of different plants, Japanese gardeners experiment through training and shaping a relatively limited set of plants.DSCF0413

Trees play a key role in the gardens and landscapes of Japan as well as being of important spiritual and cultural significance to its people. Fittingly, Japanese gardeners have fine-tuned a distinctive set of pruning techniques meant to coax out the essential characters of niwaki. Niwaki are often cultivated to achieve some very striking effects: trees are made to look older than they really are with broad trunks and gnarled branches; trees are made to imitate wind-swept or lightning-struck trees in the wild; Cryptomeria japonica specimens are often pruned to resemble free-growing trees.DSCF0416

Some designers are using zoke (miscellaneous plants) as well as the niwaki to create a more “natural” mood to the landscape. Most traditional garden designers still rely primarily on the rarefied niwaki palette. The principles of niwaki may be applied to garden trees all over the world and are not restricted to Japanese Gardens.

Please enjoy!

Rocks In Chinese Gardens

Every Chinese garden has some type of rock element. Some designers opt for a simple rock garden, while others construct miniature mountains from an assorted collection of rocks.

This is  a view of the layered rocks by the side of a lake in the garden of Xian Shan in Beijing, China.  This conveys a sense of tranquility.DSCF2767

Rocks are chosen based on their shape, texture, substance, color and softness.

Limestone rocks that have taken strange shapes due to erosion are among the most valued rocks for Chinese gardeners. Some rocks are deliberately immersed in fast running streams so that they are scoured for the effects.

Here is a view of a Chinese garden in Wuhan. Within the lake, there are strange shaped rocks artistically arranged.DSCF6093

Shown in more details are some rocks, on a larger scale, near a stone bridge in the same garden.DSCF6123

Similarly, on the next image, are highly eroded rocks which one can see in a garden in West Lake, China.DSCF6453

Back in Hong Kong, in the Nam Lian garden, there are also a good display of rocks in the garden. Again, the main elements of the garden being rocks, trees and lakes or water features. Some of course have pavilions or bridges too.CIMG3754CIMG3763

Some by the side of an artificial lake.CIMG3751

Some, again, in a layered manner.CIMG3760