Studio: international art — 1.1893

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Artistic Gardens in Japan

Japanese gardener prune his plants and trees to
suit the composition of his garden-picture.

In the larger gardens, charming effects of colour
are obtained by the judicious use of flowering trees


and shrubs, or from those whose leaves present a
beautiful appearance, foremost amongst which the
Maple is especially cherished from the brilliant
scarlet foliage it presents both in the spring and
autumn. The Plum tree enlivens the gardens
with its dark pink blooms before the winter is
quite gone, and is rapidly followed by the
Camellia, Cherry, and Azalea. The Wistaria,
which, in a wild state, creeps about the hills and
twines itself in the bushes is, when cultivated,
often trained on overhead trellis-work, from which
its pendant blossoms, eighteen or twenty inches
long, hang closely together. The Iris grows by
the waterside and the Nelumbium blooms upon
the ponds and lakes. The tree Peony, the Chry-
santhemum, and other flowering plants, are often
grown exclusively in gardens especially set apart
for them ; and such gardens are usually open to
the people, who, at the proper time, visit them in
large numbers. In smaller, private gardens, but
few flowering plants are admitted, and at no time
is the display in them of a large mass of bloom
desired. The " composition " of such gardens

must ever be borne in mind, and one object must
not overpower another.

The careful pruning and continual attention
bestowed upon the trees and shrubs in a small
garden make them a valuable property, and
when a tenant leaves a house it is customary for
him to take his garden with him, that is, all his
plants, trees, rocks, stones, bridges, and ornaments.
The trees are kept so pruned at the roots as to
make the condition of their removal comparatively
safe and easy. Very large trees may often be seen
being moved from one garden to another.

It is impossible in the limited space at our dis-
posal to enter into the relative merits of the three
great styles in which gardens may be composed
and which are known as the " Shin," the " Gio,"
and the "So," or the "elaborated," "intermediate,"
and "free" styles; or into the orthodox arrange-
ments of artificial hills, islands, and rocks. An
excellent account is given of these details by Mr.
J. Conder, F.R.I.B.A., in a paper read by him
before the Asiatic Society of Japan, and published
in Vol. XIV. of its Transactions. Suffice it here
to say that the laws which govern these matters,
although at times somewhat arbitrary, are not
opposed to the statement we have made, that it is


the veneration which the Japanese possess for
nature's art that underlies the principles they have
adopted in the laying out of gardens.

Charles Holme.

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