The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 5: Gardens in Asia, America, Africa, Australia

Chinese horticultural gardening

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ii. Gardening in China, in respect to its Horticultural Productions 795. On the first view of the coast of China, says Mr. Main, 'the stranger concludes that the inhabitants are a nation of gardeners. Even the fields, in the southern provinces, are almost all cultivated by manual labour, and every thing shows the indefatigable industry of the cultivators. On entering the mouth of Canton river, and having ascended to the Bocca Tigris (an old Portuguese name for a fortified part of the river), the banks begin to collapse, and to present to the exploring eye of the botanist their vegetable productions. He sees the general surface of the country, a level, widely-extended, and well-cultivated plain, intersected in all directions by navigable canals ; diversified by abrupt and craggy hills, scattered here and there over the face of the country. Within and around the grotesque yet airy habitations which hang suspended, as it were, over the sedgy margin of the river, are seen magnolias, ixoras, chrysanthemums, &c. in great profusion. After an interesting passage up the river, the stranger enters the suburbs of the city. Here he is surprised to see the number of flowers and flowering plants which every where meet his eye : every house, window, and court-yard are filled with them !' (Gard. Mag., vol. ii. p. 135.)